The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

September 17, 2013

Your Office Coach: Be patient with inexperienced managers

— QUESTION: After almost 30 years, I still love working in retail. The only problem is that my bosses are usually young people in their first management position. Most of them appreciate my long experience and recognize my customer service abilities. A few, however, have become obsessed with their newfound authority and turned into little dictators. What’s the best way to handle that type of supervisor?

ANSWER: Dealing with brand-new managers requires patience, understanding and a good sense of humor. Your retail expertise is now well-established, but you undoubtedly made some blunders and bad calls at the start of your career. Reflecting on those early errors may help you empathize with baby bosses who are just beginning to develop leadership skills.

The ones who have a natural talent for management will automatically value and admire your experience. But those who are insecure and easily threatened may compensate by deliberately demonstrating the power of their position. For new managers, overuse of authority is a common rookie mistake.

Instead of becoming resentful or defensive, remember that these young supervisors are going through an uncomfortable learning curve. They will therefore appreciate employees who are courteous, cooperative and helpful. Even when you don’t particularly respect the occupant, you can still show respect for the position.

Management requires a multitude of skills, and no one person possesses them all. Some people, however, should not be allowed anywhere near a management position. So if you encounter any truly toxic bosses, the problem is not their age but their personality.

Q: My son, “Mike,“ is not being treated well at work. Even though he puts in long hours, the owner of the business is rude to him and calls him demeaning names. This has been going on for more than ten years.

My daughter works for the same firm. She doesn’t deal directly with the owner, but she and everyone else in the office can hear his loud conversations with Mike. Is there any way to stop the owner from being so nasty?

A: Despite having a natural instinct to protect your child, you need to consider the facts. Given that Mike has chosen to tolerate this treatment for ten years, he has undoubtedly learned by now not to take these tantrums personally. If the owner was really that dissatisfied with his performance, he would have fired him years ago.

Since your daughter has also elected to work there, this volatile guy obviously has some redeeming qualities as an employer. Mike could try asking him to be more respectful, but that probably wouldn’t change anything and might actually make their relationship worse. Business owners typically don’t react well to having their behavior corrected.

All things considered, I believe this may be more of a problem for you than for your son. So instead of continuing to fret about the owner’s outbursts, perhaps you should feel pleased that Mike has been able to successfully handle a challenging boss for a very long time.

Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and the author of “Secrets to Winning at Office Politics.“ Send in questions and get free coaching tips at http://www.yourofficecoach.com, or follow her on Twitter officecoach.

 

1
Text Only
Business
  • Is what my employer is doing legal? Yes or no

    Q: Welcome to the @Work Advice lightning round, answering one question: Is what my employer is doing legal? A yes answer means the described situation is generally legal. The reader can protest or refuse to participate, but not on legal grounds. A no answer means the situation seems to violate at least one labor law.

    August 1, 2014

  • Career Coach: Shaping your own future

    In our hyper-dynamic and complex world, it is easy to confuse means with ends, activity with progress, efficiency with effectiveness, and busyness with importance.

    August 1, 2014

  • A checklist for keeping you focused at work

    A quick check of Facebook and next thing you know, a half-hour’s passed. Start chatting with a co-worker and suddenly 20 minutes is gone and the report you were supposed to finish by lunch is late.

     

    July 31, 2014

  • Fancy management systems won’t fix bad managers

    In violation of my long-standing “only watch TV” rule, I read an article recently about how Zappos is adopting a management structure known as holacracy.

    July 30, 2014

  • Your Office Coach: Supervisor-employee boundaries must be honored

    QUESTION: Two weeks ago, my husband “Barry“ unexpectedly came home from work with a large flat-screen television. He explained that one of his employees gave it to him as repayment for a loan. I was shocked, because I had no idea that Barry was lending people money.

    July 29, 2014

  • Silly mistakes that sink job applicants

    Some employers won’t care - or won’t catch them - but mistakes in word usage can put your application in the reject pile.

    July 29, 2014

  • Watercooler: Raised to the roof

    Q: Over 15 years, I have worked my way up the corporate ladder with the same organization. I have been given a raise every year and excellent reviews, as well as several promotions.

    July 25, 2014

  • Career Coach Q&A: job search follow-up; introverts as leaders

    Starting a business:

    Q: I have a stable job that I don't hate, but I have an idea for starting my own business.

    July 25, 2014

  • How to become a leader

    QUESTION: I’ve just been promoted into a leadership role. I’m excited, but also kind of overwhelmed. What do I need to do to be good at my new job?

    July 24, 2014

  • Balancing Act: How much is your time worth? Consider outsourcing some tasks

    Todd Paton has a booming business getting customers noticed on the Web. One tool he uses is generating online press releases to build brand awareness and create links that will send traffic to a customer’s website. But Paton, owner of Paton Internet Marketing, acknowledges that writing the releases is not his strong suit. Rather than spend his time doing it, he hires out the task.

    July 23, 2014

Business Video
Stocks