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
  • 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

  • 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

Business Video
Stocks