Cranky Boss Day?

Have you ever noticed that things tend to go in trends?  Well yesterday I had 4 coaching calls, and every single client was inordinately frustrated with his or her boss.  All four of these folks had definitely tagged ‘managing up’ as a focus area for coaching, but things seemed to have reached a fever pitch yesterday – it made me wish I understood astrology to see if there was something in the stars!

All of the complaining (gently called venting by coach Mad) centered on the same things –bosses who try to be decent at certain things that aren’t natural to them have folded under stress and aren’t even trying anymore.  The general message is “don’t expect me to change my spots – just suck it up and deal with it.”  The result is that unsupportive bosses are less supportive than ever, uncommunicative bosses cease all communication, surly bosses become downright mean.  None of this is improving anything.

Some questions for my clients in pain:

  • What can you do to take care of yourself?
  • How can you communicate your distress to your boss, if at all?
  • As a boss yourself are you potentially weakening the same way?

Here are the takeaways from collective brainstorming and discussion:

  1. It takes guts to call your boss out on bad behavior, but if the relationship is there it can be  worth it.  Practice giving feedback using concrete observations and neutral language.  Ask how you can help ease pressure.
  2. If your boss is folding under pressure and providing you with nothing you need, stop complaining and start finding what you need elsewhere.  Sure it sucks more time, but you can’t go under just because your boss is losing it.
  3. If you notice other people – especially your boss’s peers- are also complaining about your boss, keep your ear to the ground for political repercussions.  If people are being laid off, your boss could be on the list and you need to be prepared.  Harsh but true.
  4. If you are a boss and you have more work than usual because people have been laid off, and business is down 27% and you are more stressed than you have ever been in your adult life, now is the time to grow.  This is not the time to revert to bad habits. Under no circumstance is it appropriate to take things out on your direct reports. Now is the time to be more communicative, patient and generous.  It is called “rising to the occasion” – a marvelous expression. Ask yourself how you are rising to this occasion.

2 thoughts on “Cranky Boss Day?

  1. I really liked the last 2 sentences in this post:
    “Now is the time to be more communicative, patient and generous. It is called “rising to the occasion”…

    With regard to the situation about “calling your boss out on bad behavior.”
    Put yourself in the boss’s position. At times one person can be so close to the challenging situation that they can’t always see the big picture.

    Patience and good communication skills are ultimately important in this situation. I have spent time studying “Appreciative Inquiry” by Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D., (Otherwise known as: Nonviolent Communication) This communication technique teaches peace as well as ways to connect language and nonviolent behavior. It is important to invest in communication skills so that everyone ends up feeling better about the situation. Let’s try to keep a positive environment especially where we spend most of our day.

    Not only is this a tenuous economy but just around the corner are the holidays. Typically people are stressed at this time of the year. Today I went into a restaurant to meet a colleague. It was lunch time and at this popular eatery very few people were there taking advantage of the delicious cuisine. When I asked if my colleague had checked; in the hostess told me that not many people were there eating. While we ate our lunch we had a lot of attention from our waitress. At one point our waitress commented that it is a slow time of year for business.

    Alan Greenspan mentioned recently that this is the most difficult time in our economy in possibly 100 years. To put it in simple terms “Times are tough!” Now, imagine people are working harder than ever, worried if they will be the next to one to get a “pink slip”.

    The best thing we can do is “take care of ourself” and if you are a business owner; possibly owner of a dental practice; business is down and you wonder if you can pay your team, pay the utiltes, the lease, the lab bills, etc., etc.

    Just yesterday I spoke to the Board of Dentistry in the state where I live and I was told that dentists are now doing their own hygiene appointments and the dental hygiene students who just passed their boards can’t find a job.Who will pay their student loans when they become due in a few months?

    If nothing else we need to invest in ourself and as business owners that means our team as well. Remember what your parents said to you as a chld: “Keep your chin up!”

    This is the time to keep not only your chin up but take it day by day and always be the best you be.

    “When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure”

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