Archive for January, 2009
My Newly Inaugurated Boss
My boss was just laid off last week. Suddenly I have a new one, who got pulled over from another department, and is now doing two jobs. She’s totally different from my former supervisor, who I loved. She literally stands behind me and watches me work. It makes me sweat! I’m not sure she likes me, and I don’t want to be the next one out. Help!
Lately, many people have new bosses due to consolidation and layoffs. Because a number of managers are now responsible for the jobs and duties of those laid off, it can sometimes feel like a “potluck” in terms of who your boss might be tomorrow – only a lot less festive. However, our country has inaugurated a new boss, too, so consider change as “the only constant” – and remember that change can bring opportunity, if you let it. It’s solely dependent on your mindset and actions, especially in the office.
I’m going to address “the sudden new boss” syndrome in my next blog because it’s become so relevant in a downsized corporate environment. But I’ll quickly point out a couple things here. First the good news. On the bright side, your boss may be trying to figure out how much supervision feels right for both of you, because it’s early in the game. But if you’re now being watched 24/7 by a more senior TOT™ (Terrible Office Tyrant) who is evaluating your every move, that’s a different matter. It’s time to diplomatically and constructively speak up – so you can perform your job (and save your sanity!)
If you haven’t done so already, offer to have a meeting with your new boss, maybe over lunch, about how you can best meet her objectives. You may have already addressed more superficial or project-focused matters in an orientation. But your means of collaborating is equally important. Without communicating this openly, it’s hard to be productive. One last bit of good news: you’re not the only one sweating this – which is why I’ll be addressing it in more detail. Stay cool!
Got a TOT™? You’re not alone! Dare to share your story at the TOT Blog with other TOT tamers in the making, while Lynn helps you: cope with difficult or childish bosses and office politics, and humanize your workplace™. Post your question for Lynn, and she will try her best to answer it in an upcoming TOT Tamer Advice Column or blog. Be sure to visit the Tame Your TOT™ website.
Higher Unemployment: A TOT Incubator?
A few business executives have repeated an almost identical office scenario to me lately. And with December 2008 unemployment reaching 7.2 percent, it’s no wonder.
The scene: The boss, let’s call him “James,” calls an employee, who we’ll call “Steve,” into his office. (TOT alert?!)
Steve opens and closes the door behind him, and apprehensively approaches the guest chair. He stops, looks at his boss, and then quietly asks, “Am I getting the ax?”
James’ mouth drops, bewildered, as he freezes in his executive chair. “No! Have a seat. I was just gonna to ask you if we hired the Smith vendor.” There’s an awkward, mutual sigh of relief. This scenario brings up several points:
1) Besides the obvious heightened alert level in the office, many bosses like James may not even realize that the mere act of calling someone into their office from behind closed doors these days can make already nervous employees feel like they’re walking into a real-life suspense thriller. (Yet even managers in the company fear for their own jobs today). If the boss “act outs” once you’re there, down goes your performance.
2) Higher joblessness can unfortunately be an incubator for Terrible Office Tyrants (TOTs) – they can emerge with more frequency and fervor because of the increase power they wield in this environment. The result: you must learn how to better discern fear from reality in your daily work – for better focus.
3) Some TOTs may instill so much fear (and keep you working so late) that you barely remember your home address! Or, they may display irrational fears themselves that ripple throughout the company (see: TameYourTOT-Childlike fear It’s incumbent upon you to work hard during tough times, but to also maintain enough balance to be productive.
4) Your boss may assume that employees are working at full throttle, when in fact layoffs and the recession are taking a heavy toll on productivity. If you have a good rapport with your boss, you can diplomatically suggest the need for assurances to the team where feasible. You can do your part to humanize your workplace by being a constructive conduit with this message (see: Humanize your Workplace™ article
5) If you work for a TOT, you can politely intimate: “If our valued people feel ‘unvalued’ and walk, we’ll have no company.”
Now the scene “playback”: Steve confidently walks into James’ office and says, “Morning, James, you wanted to see me?” James says, “Hey. So, what do you think? Should we hire the Smith vendor?”
Got a TOT? You’re not alone! Dare to share your story at the TOT Blog with other TOT tamers in the making, while Lynn helps you: cope with difficult or childish bosses and office politics, and humanize your workplace™. Post your question for Lynn, and she will try her best to answer it in an upcoming TOT Tamer Advice Column. Be sure to visit www.tameyourtot.com.