My great boss is driving me crazy!
My boss has read all the trendy management books; I can tell because I've read a few of them myself, and I recognize his constant jargon-filled lingo. (I don't know why he doesn't put "Highly Effective Person" on his business card, just so everyone knows he's "with the program.") You can tell he cares about his job and about me; he SAYS so all the time. He IS my biggest advocate, and he really likes me and respects my work ethic and my sense of teamwork. If only he didn't say things like "You know I love ya, right?" right before every criticism.
He goes over my list of things to do every single morning, and from then on it's like a game to see how much extra crap he can give me to keep me from doing what's on the list. "I know you're busy, kiddo, but I promised this guy." And then at the end of the day he CLEANS MY DESK - with me sitting there! "You've just gotta stay organized, OK? I'm not raggin' you, OK?" And he goes over my list again, saying "Well, you really didn't get much done today, did you? That's OK, I'm not raggin' you, let's just get it out tomorrow morning WITHOUT FAIL, OK?" The real kicker is he's not my only boss, he's just the squeakiest wheel. "Don't worry about that crap the other guy gave you. THIS is important; I need it before the end of the day." The other two execs gripe, but they know what I'm going through.
I'm offended by this situation and I want to give my other bosses adequate time. Plus I have my own responsibilities, which this dude always puts down. "You need to be doing stuff that makes us money, not all this secretarial crap." He tells me every day I'm "golden" and "the best thing to happen to this office this year". We also have an awful lot in common philosophically and culturally. And he's trying to get me a substantial raise from the home office. I must be an idiot to complain about this great boss, right? But I'm so frustrated I could scream! How can I get across to this guy who's so convinced he's the perfect manager and he's doing everything right, that he's making me feel infantile and frustrated? What suggestions might I make that will penetrate his halo? Thank you.
Believe it or not but this is not your problem. It is your bosses (all of them) problem. The fact that this one fellow hasn't any concept of boundaries and he has been allowed to roll over you and apparently somehow intimidates the other bosses demonstrates a serious problem in the business.
First, you should have only one boss, only one person who assigns you tasks, monitors (not controls) your schedule, etc. This may call for the other execs getting some backbone and asserting themselves. It always amazes me how high power people like this can make multimillion-dollar decisions but can't or won't resolve personnel problems until they are out of hand.
Second, the comments you quoted "You know I love ya, right" is likely sexual harassment. I would suspect that there are other such sexist, suggestive or simply unwelcome comments of this nature that he says to you all the time.
Third, you do have some responsibility too. You have to keep your boundaries... Your desk... Your schedule. The work you are expected to do for the other two execs. Enlist their support to put this guy in his place. He is not the only person who works there and he is not the only one who has a claim on your time. That needs to be made clear. People have to be firm with this sort of person or they will roll right over you. Don't set boundaries just to teach him a lesson but when one of the other execs has something for you to do, do it and don't let this guy weasel his way in.
Fourth, begin to document what he says to you, how you are not able to do the work for the other two, etc. etc. Document, dates, times, keep it safe so he doesn't get to it. You may need it if he ever decides he doesn't "love ya" anymore or if you have to take some action. Finally, if all else fails, ask for a transfer or leave. Insist on having a termination interview and tell them honestly why you are leaving.
Thomas H Schear
This question was answered by Thomas H Schear. Dr. Schear has over 20 years experience as a front line counselor, clinical supervisor, program director and college instructor. Currently he provides online and telephone counseling service as well as home-study and online course for the helping professional from his website.For more information visit: http://www.ccmsinc.net/