The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

March 20, 2014

Dealing with a negative boss

QUESTION: I work in a small office and my boss sets a very negative tone. I’m just starting out in my career and don’t know if this is just something I should put up with; I do really like the actual work I’m doing.

ANSWER: Assess your options carefully, but don’t settle for a situation that doesn’t serve you.

THE INNER GAME: Especially since you’re new in your career, it’s important to know what you want in your work life.

Set aside time to reflect, starting from a point of calm. Breathe, settle in and set aside your feelings on the situation. Let any frustrations or anger subside, and also let go of any thoughts on what you should do that may limit consideration of your options.

Start with the positives. What are the aspects of your position that you like? You’ve mentioned you like the content of the work; what else stands out? Then think about how important each aspect is.

For example, you may like the clients you work with, the issue areas your agency addresses, the hours, location and some of your co-workers. Prioritize these so that you know which are key.

Now think about the parts that are not working well for you, getting specific about the tone in the office and describing the effect it has on you. It’s important to identify whether it is merely annoying or if it is having a deeper effect on you.

Finally, consider your longer-term goals to assess how well this situation will help you advance. Also think about whether the job offers unique benefits or if you would be able to achieve your goals elsewhere without the downside.

THE OUTER GAME: While you’re still in your current role and before the negativity has a chance to undermine you, consider your alternatives. Talk to other people in your field and in other organizations to get a broader view. Also, get involved with professional organizations to build a more extensive network. In addition to exposing you to other possibilities, it may also help neutralize your boss’ negativity.

If you decide that there is sufficient value to stay put, develop a coping strategy. For each of her most annoying behaviors, determine your reaction. For example, if she is a yeller, develop a mental shell that you can put around you until she is done; if she is unconstructively critical of your work, develop sources of more helpful feedback.

Think long term, and remember that change is normal early in a career. While you don’t want to run away prematurely, you also deserve to be in an affirming setting. Give yourself a timeline, say, staying for two years, and develop some lines that cannot be crossed. Also set some specific goals regarding skills and experiences you’d like to have so that you maximize the value of the experience.

Get support from co-workers — you’re probably not the only person who is affected — and reach out to friends and family, who may be able to tell if the stress is taking too great a toll.

THE LAST WORD: Don’t give up too soon, but also don’t settle for a toxic workplace that undermines your quality of life.

Liz Reyer is a credentialed coach with more than 20 years of business experience. Her company, Reyer Coaching & Consulting, offers services for organizations of all sizes. Submit questions or comments about this column at www.deliverchange.com/coachscorner or email her at lizdeliverchange.com.

 

1
Text Only
Business
  • 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

  • The Color of Money: No easy way to get out of debt

    Many people who are deeply in debt are desperate for a quick fix. They ask the question: What can I do to get out of debt?

    July 21, 2014

  • Watercooler: When to speak up if you see problems down the line

    Q: Our organization has hired a new director. I am one of a number of division heads; above us, there's the associate director, and above him is the director. The associate director is feared and disliked for his duplicity and dictatorial nature, though few have come forward because of his vindictiveness.

    July 18, 2014

  • Career Coach: Bringing a purpose-driven spirit to work

    Increasingly, religious beliefs and practices of employees are becoming more evident in the workplace. Religious diversity and concepts of spirituality are more prevalent in organizational settings.

    July 18, 2014

  • Ask the Mompreneur: It’s best to farm out your payroll

    When my husband and I hired our first employee at our Web development company, we had it easy when it came to doing payroll.

    July 17, 2014

  • Protecting against unnecessary losses

    QUESTION: I run a small bar and grill which is open 7 days a week and have to rely on others for some of the shifts. How can I ensure employees have not become my partners?

    July 17, 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.
    Workplace distractions are everywhere, especially in an age of social media and open-plan offices. In the face of so much temptation, accomplishing what you’re paid to do can be tough.

    July 16, 2014

  • It could be time for a career coach

    Need a little help figuring out your next career move?
    If you’re putting in the hours and still not seeing the rewards, feeling undervalued or simply striving to be more successful, it may be time to hire a career coach.

    July 16, 2014

  • Your Office Coach: Turn to boss for help with disgruntled underling

    QUESTION: When I joined this company a few weeks ago, I discovered that the person who previously held my position is now working for me. “Sarah” obviously resents my presence and frequently says I don’t have the authority to manage her, even though I clearly do. Her negativity has made my job much more difficult.

    July 15, 2014

  • You are not trusted

    If it seems like employers don’t trust employees - well, they don’t.

    July 15, 2014

Business Video
Stocks