Your Office Coach: Seek Coworkers’ Guidance To ‘Manage’ Nightmare Boss

By Marie G. McIntyre
Tribune News Service

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and the author of “Secrets to Winning at Office Politics.” In this Q&A McIntyre shares her best advice for dealing with a difficult boss.

Tribune News Service

Q: After starting a new job three months ago, I quickly discovered that my boss is a nightmare. She argues about everything and seems to enjoy yelling at people. Whenever I bring up a work problem, she just rolls her eyes at me and shakes her head.

The worst part is that I have received almost no training for this job. Before I was hired, my manager said she would thoroughly instruct me and answer all my questions. However, she has made it quite clear that she doesn’t like to be bothered.

This woman has been with the company for years, so I’m stuck with her as my boss. But the job pays extremely well, my coworkers are great, and I only plan to work here for two years. Should I put up with this aggravation or just leave?

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.

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