How to...

Deal with a worka­holic boss

Business Spotlight - - CONTENTS -

Is your boss a worka­holic? And if so, should you try to be one, too? Ca­reer ex­perts Lynn Brani­gan and Paul Har­ris have some tips.

Do your job well

“Work­ing for a worka­holic boss can be tricky — I know be­cause I used to be one,” Brani­gan says. “The staff won­ders, ‘Are we sup­posed to match the hours that she does? Are we sup­posed to be in the of­fice be­fore she gets in and after she leaves?’”

Brani­gan is pres­i­dent and CEO of She Runs It, a not-for-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion for women in mar­ket­ing and the me­dia. She told Fast Com­pany magazine that do­ing your job well is the first step to­wards hav­ing a good re­la­tion­ship with your worka­holic man­ager. And don’t be afraid to talk to your boss about whether you are meet­ing her ex­pec­ta­tions.

Just ask

Re­cruiter Paul Har­ris agrees that com­mu­ni­ca­tion is key. “You may find out that your boss has ab­so­lutely no ex­pec­ta­tion that any­body in the com­pany needs to work as hard as they do,” Har­ris ex­plains. “They may be sin­gle, no kids, no pets, no plants and no out­side ac­tiv­i­ties.”

You could also dis­cover that the boss’s long hours are tem­po­rary and the re­sult of short-term dead­lines. “You won’t know all this un­less you ask,” com­ments Har­ris.

Es­tab­lish bound­aries

If you are do­ing good work and meet­ing your boss’s ex­pec­ta­tions, you can le­git­i­mately set lim­its to your own work­ing hours, Brani­gan says. For ex­am­ple, you shouldn’t feel you have to re­spond im­me­di­ately to an email you re­ceive late at night. If you do re­spond, tell your boss that you will an­swer in more de­tail when you’re in the of­fice.

If you have com­mit­ments that mean you can work only a cer­tain num­ber of hours or have to leave at a spe­cific time, dis­cuss it im­me­di­ately. “The key is to get out in front of this be­fore it gets to be a prob­lem,” Har­ris says. “Ad­dress it as soon as pos­si­ble.”

Clock­ing in, clock­ing out

Don’t panic if your boss com­ments on your sched­ule — when you ar­rive or when you leave — as long you are get­ting your work done and meet­ing your dead­lines. “Let her know that you ap­pre­ci­ate the pace she keeps, but your best pro­duc­tiv­ity is achieved when your work ex­er­tion is more bal­anced to your life,” Brani­gan advises.

Too much to do: but is it all re­ally nec­es­sary?

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