Seek co-work­ers’ guid­ance to ‘man­age’ night­mare boss

Austin American-Statesman Sunday - - HOMES -

A: Be­cause you have sev­eral good rea­sons to stay, perhaps you should try to de­velop some cop­ing mech­a­nisms. As a new em­ployee, you may find your co­work­ers to be a par­tic­u­larly help­ful re­source. When deal­ing with a dif­fi­cult man­ager, co­work­ers can of­ten make life bear­able by stick­ing to­gether and strate­giz­ing so­lu­tions.

Since your boss seems re­sis­tant to pro­vid­ing the promised train­ing, look for ex­pe­ri­enced col­leagues who might fill that role. Given their own his­tory with this dys­func­tional man­ager, they should cer­tainly un­der­stand your cur­rent dilemma. If you can out­line the ar­eas where you still need in­struc­tion, perhaps they will help you cre­ate a train­ing plan.

If cer­tain em­ploy­ees seem par­tic­u­larly adept at com­mu­ni­cat­ing with your boss, take a les­son from their ap­proach. Hav­ing iden­ti­fied her hot but­tons, they prob­a­bly know which topics to avoid. They may also have time-tested tech­niques for ask­ing ques­tions and avoiding ar­gu­ments. With a lit­tle co­worker coach­ing, you may find that “man­ag­ing up” be­comes a lot eas­ier.

Q: I su­per­vise a group of driv­ers who pick up de­liv­er­ies in the morn­ing and then head out on their routes for the rest of the day. I only see them for 30 min­utes be­fore they leave. As a new man­ager, I would like to cre­ate a pos­i­tive work en­vi­ron­ment, but how can I do that with so lit­tle time?

A: When you don’t have much time, you must make the most of the time you have. Sur­veys have shown lead­er­ship style to be a strong pre­dic­tor of job sat­is­fac­tion, so your own at­ti­tude and de­meanor can make a big dif­fer­ence. Dur­ing daily con­tacts with your team, try to be as help­ful, sup­port­ive and en­cour­ag­ing as pos­si­ble.

For any group, one key mo­ti­va­tional strat­egy is to reg­u­larly re­mind them of the im­por­tance of their work. Your driv­ers are not just drop­ping off boxes, but also in­sur­ing that valued items ar­rive safely and on time. Through friendly in­ter­ac­tions with cus­tomers, they can rep­re­sent the com­pany well and en­cour­age re­peat busi­ness.

To pro­mote ca­ma­raderie, con­sider ask­ing the driv­ers to share brief sto­ries about their cus­tomers, driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ences or tips for sim­pli­fy­ing the job. Fi­nally, if you also com­mu­ni­cate via email or text, take those op­por­tu­ni­ties to share in­for­ma­tion or re­quest in­put. You might even so­licit ideas for mak­ing those half hour meet­ings more in­ter­est­ing.

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