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Archive for the ‘Bosses Sometimes Make the Wrong Call’ Category

When the New Boss Ruins Your Work Life … What to Do?

For the past few years, his working life has been fantastic. If you like your job, co-workers and wages, and the company has generous health, vacation and 401k benefits. If he had written his own ideal job description would be this.

Until recently, when his former – not to mention beautiful – head of the left. His replacement is hell on wheels. Not only always find mistakes in their work, but also makes cutting comments about their appearance.

Lately, you’ve been thinking about leaving, but do not want to give up so easily. No – at least not until you have tried to improve the situation.

Much about the happiness of work has to do with your boss. And if a manager wanted to leave, not everyone survives the change. New leaders will inevitably want to put their mark on the department. If you get off on the wrong foot, however, does not mean you have to leave. There are ways to ease a difficult transition.

Meet the new boss

Tell him you want to be the best job I can, and want to learn his style. What are the five top priorities of the chief has for the department? These may be different to the priorities of his former boss, so be prepared to shift gears.

Comment on criticism

Talk to your boss about his criticisms, but not defensive. Try a simple, “Sometimes I feel that I am not communicating well with you, or I’m doing something I disapprove.’d Appreciate some guidance on how I can offer you the support you need so you can do the job.” If your boss has serious problems with you, you will most likely leave now.

Put the head of Facility

If your new boss is filling big shoes, chances are you’re nervous about it. Criticism can be used to mask insecurity. So think of ways to put the new boss at ease. Are you working on a project that has to catch up? Write a note and summary of the information you think might help. Think about ways you could help her, not vice versa.

Meet your new boss

If possible, ask to lunch to learn more about it. Think of it as a job interview, because that’s basically what it is. Ask questions about your last job. Be careful not to get too personal, however. Getting too comfortable too quickly can lead to problems. Not to mention that many managers like to keep a veil between them and their professional employees. Listen more than talk. If you ask questions, answer them honestly but carefully. His new boss is sized up as well.

Check your attitude

When his new boss came on board, was to act on the defensive? Did you ever say: “I always do it this way,” when she asks you to do something different? Take the words “can not”, “no”, “impossible” together with other negative, of their vocabulary when asked to do something not done in his department before. Unless, of course, the suggestions that you can not really do or are illegal.

Leaving your job is a big decision. On the other hand, life is too short to be miserable 40 hours a week. And you will be unhappy if you and your new boss is very different working styles and really do not get along at work. Just be sure to consider carefully the options to make this relationship work for both.

Before leaving the company as a whole, make a personal visit and find out if there are other positions available on the company. Remember: You’re the one with the history, and would be hard pressed to lose.

How to Get on Your Boss’s Radar

In the perfect world, the people who quietly toil away in their cubicles would be paid just as well as those who constantly broadcast their amazing achievements. But the truth is that shy, unassuming types are often overlooked at raise time. That’s why it’s important to be sure you’re visible to your boss and other higher ups. “You need to be seen, and your boss needs to be very clear about your contributions. Otherwise, how can you expect to be recognized for your work?” says Nancy Ancowitz, a business communication coach and author of Self-Promotion for Introverts.

Here’s how to raise your profile in the office:

1. Speak up. A University of California, Berkeley study found that people who speak up in meetings were seen as more competent than their quieter colleagues—even when they added nothing to the conversation. If you’re having trouble getting a word in over chatty colleagues, Ancowitz suggests making eye contact with the person leading the meeting and raising your finger. “Or sometimes it pays to just lean forward and say, ‘Yes, Joe, great point!’ and then dive in,” she says.

2. Become an expert. Contributing to the company newsletter, web site or blog can help establish you as an expert in your particular specialty. It’s also a good idea to come to meetings armed with facts and figures. “Be seen as the knowledge bank repeatedly so that your name is connected with your area of expertise,” says Ancowitz.

3. Eat in. By dining in the company lunch room, you’ll open yourself up to casual chats with your boss and other high-level executives. But don’t squander it on your opinion of the weather. “To utilize the lunch room properly, one has to have information to share,” says Paul Klein, the director of Cleveland State University’s Career Services Center. Read the periodicals and blogs that cover your field. Keep tabs on your competitor’s doings and on new processes in your industry. “This will enable you to talk to your boss on a higher level, while projecting an image beyond what you’re already doing,” says Klein.

4. Enlist help. If you’re generous about giving credit to others and you should be then ask for a little reciprosity. “There is nothing wrong with saying, ‘I’m up for a promotion or a raise, and I would love it if you would acknowledge my contributions at the next department meeting,’” says Ancowitz.

5. Step away from the screen. The best way to be visible is to make sure your boss sees you, not just your screen name. “Don’t assume that your brilliant emails are telling your story. Your boss is human, and human beings look for connection,” says career coach Darcy Eikenberg. So make sure your boss gets to see your beautiful mug once in while. If you work remotely, schedule occasional meetings or lunches. “Face-to-face conversations are not passe in our high-tech businesses; they are still the gold standard for developing trust which is essential for moving ahead,” says Eikenberg. 


By Sara Eckel

10 Things Your Boss Won’t Tell You

1. ‘Yes, we are reading your emails… and your IMs.’
Like many financial services firms, Wedbush Securities monitors the daily emails, instant messages and social networking activity of its 1,000-plus employees, says Mattias Tornyi, the company’s Director of IT. They use an email monitoring software to flag certain types of messages and keywords within messages, he says. Every day, they end up reading 5% to 10% of the messages employees send.
That’s fairly extensive, but many firms are, at the very least, monitoring some of employees’ Internet, phone and email use, especially larger companies and those in sensitive or heavily regulated industries. The market for email monitoring software has grown more than 25% each year since 2008 and is projected to reach $1.23 billion in 2013, according to IT market research firm Gartner; more than one in three large U.S. companies employ actual people to read or analyze employee email, according to a 2010 study by email monitoring firm Proofpoint. Plus, a survey by the American Management Association and The ePolicy Institute found that almost half of the small, medium and large companies surveyed monitored phone use, and two out of three monitored web use. Instant-message and text-message monitoring are also increasing, says Stephen Marsh, chief executive of email archiving firm Smarsh.
Not only do employers watch what you’re doing, but many act on what they find. One in five large U.S. companies fired an employee for violating email policies in the past year, the Proofpoint survey found. What was a fireable offense? Most email investigations pertain to issues of employees leaking sensitive, confidential or embarrassing information, or theft — not racy messages sent to a girlfriend from an office email account or the occasional online shopping binge from the corporate desktop.
2. ‘You’re too old for this.’
When Joyce Kalivas-Griffin, 57, saw a job opening at a private school nearby, she immediately sent in her resume. She was hopeful the description matched her skills almost perfectly ut heard nothing. Then, she noticed that the job had been posted again, so she tweaked her resume to obscure her age and resubmitted it. This time, the school called her in for an interview. Kalivas-Griffin says she nailed it, but she didn’t get the job: She believes that when the interviewer met her and realized she’s no 30-something, her age tipped the scales against her.
Kalivas-Griffin will never know for sure, but as the workforce gets grayer, age bias is likely to increase, experts say. Roughly 25% of employers said they were reluctant to hire older workers, according to a 2006 survey by the Center on Aging and Work at Boston College, and after looking at only a resume, employers discriminated against women they perceived to be 50 or older, according to a 2007 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. It’s a trend, experts say, that’s gotten worse in the recession, as evidenced by the latest data from the Labor Department: laid-off workers 55 and older spent an average of 35 weeks looking for work, compared with 30 weeks for 25 to 54 year-olds. “We know it’s very prevalent,” says Laurie McCann, a senior attorney with AARP Foundation Litigation. “The problem is that people often don’t know it’s happening, because of the nature of applying for jobs.” In a world of online applications, you never see the other candidates, nor do you meet the hiring manager. That’s why career consultants often recommend anyone older than 45 or 50 alter their resume to shift focus away from their age and toward their experience, achievements and skills. You don’t need to list every job you’ve ever had; instead highlight achievements in a measurable way – like say, how much you increased revenue for your department – and be sure to list tech, social media and other skills.
3. ‘I know when you’re faking the flu.’
As a production manager at a high-end commercial photo lab, Stuart Horvath, 32, supervised both permanent and freelance production assistants. Their job was to process the film, but when someone “didn’t feel like dealing with all the slides that day, the machine would ‘suddenly’ jam,” Horvath says  and he knew it didn’t jam nearly as frequently as a few of his staff members claimed. Then there were the myriad sick days taken by one of his freelancers. Horvath suspected he was faking  and confirmed it when he ran into the employee at a bar on a night when he’d claimed to be sick. Look, he says: “I’ve been a boss, but I’ve been an employee too.”
It’s true: The boss often knows if you’re slacking off, job-hunting, sneaking out, faking sick or padding your expense report. In fact, a growing number of companies are hiring private investigators to track employees who call in sick with a suspicious illness, according to an article published last month in Bloomberg Businessweek. Perhaps it’s a sign of tough times. More than one in four employers say they think more employees have been faking illness and taking the day off since the economic downturn began, a 2009 CareerBuilder.com survey revealed. They’re not merely paranoid: About one-third of workers admit to calling in sick to work when they weren’t. And that’s not all your boss knows. “Sometimes the people on my team spend their days putting up a smokescreen to make it look like they are working hard, but I know they can’t be,” one employer at a financial services firm in Phoenix says. Another knew her employee was looking for another job. The lesson: Your antics are, for the moment, tolerated, but they probably haven’t gone unnoticed.
4. ‘Your kid? Your problem.’
By now it’s common knowledge that women earn less than men — about 81 cents for every dollar. Having a kid hurts women’s earning potential even further. The so-called “mommy penalty” may manifest in many ways: A mother may get passed over for a promotion because the boss thinks she takes off too much time to care for her kids or that she’s more concerned about the family than her career. A mom may get overlooked for high-profile projects because the boss fears she won’t devote enough time and energy.
Those are hard slights to quantify. Not so for the penalty faced by women who take time off to raise a child — even for a period as short as 18 months. Women with M.B.A.s who left the workforce for a year and a half to raise children make 41% less than men with the same degree; female Ph.D.’s make a third less; lawyers, 29% less, and doctors, 16%, according to a 2010 study by Harvard economics professors Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz. “Business occupations place heavy penalties on employees who deviate from the norm,” Goldin and Katz write in the study.
5. ‘I’m your best friend…’
For the six out of 10 workers who say they’ve considered a boss a friend, this won’t come as a surprise: Being the boss’s pal, or pet, comes with perks. Some bosses play favorites in obvious ways, like giving a particular subordinate the plum assignments or pushing upper management for his raise. Others are more subtle, seeming to treat all employees equally. But then they’ll offer more guidance to a favored worker, or make sure she is introduced to the “right” people, says career and executive coach Roy Cohen. And as long as the relationship works, everyone can benefit: Good relationships tend to lead to higher worker engagement; compatibility can help a worker get a raise or a promotion; everyone likes to work with people they like and trust.
But the footing is never strictly equal when one friend can fire the other. “You have to be very careful,” says Cohen. The boss is still evaluating your compensation and performance, and the minute there’s a problem or a disagreement over either, feelings get hurt. To keep a relationship friendly, without crossing the line into friends territory, avoid talking about sensitive personal issues, he suggests: No matter how close you might feel, ultimately there is always the chance that your boss will use that information in a way that serves his purposes, not yours.
6. “…And your worst enemy.”
But sometimes, the boss is your worst enemy. Just as a good relationship with your boss can bolster your career, a lousy one can tank it. Or worse. One study found that, in incidences of “workplace bullying” — “repeated and persistent attempts by one person to torment, wear down, frustrate or get a reaction from another,” according to the Society for Human Resource Management – the boss is the bully 72% of the time. Nearly half of people who were bullied at work suffered stress-related health problems, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute. Even if your relationship doesn’t deteriorate to that level, your communication can be strained if your boss doesn’t keep his word, gives you the silent treatment, invades your privacy or deflects blame from himself — all of which lead workers to experience “more exhaustion, job tension, nervousness, depressed mood and mistrust,” a Florida State University study found. Worst case, this kind of behavior from the boss can even kill you: A 2008 study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that employees who had worked for four years under a boss who was uncommunicative, inconsiderate or opaque were 60% more likely to have a heart attack.
7. “I don’t promote based on performance.”
Usually, workers have to do a good job to get promoted. But in many cases, that’s not enough. Who rises (and who doesn’t) is a mix of factors, most of which workers have no real control over, including supervisors’ preferences, organizational rules and company culture. In some organizations, particularly larger, more traditional companies, seniority may be the main factor in promotion decisions, says Tony Deblauwe, founder of HR consulting firm HR4Change. Seniority-based promotions are more common in the U.S. than in other countries, according to a 2004 study in the Socio-Economic Review, and “more popular than economic explanations would allow.” Compatibility with the boss is critical, too, Deblauwe says: “Who you know makes a big difference, particularly the higher up you go.”
The reverse is also true: Being smart and capable doesn’t even guarantee your job. One manager in a small Arizona investment planning firm, who declined to give his name to preserve company morale, fired a subordinate whom he says was “very smart,” with good credentials and a degree from a prestigious university. But the manager also found him difficult and hard to supervise, and ultimately fired him: “His strained relationship with me was a big factor in this decision.”

8. “I’m shallow.”

As if being thin and attractive weren’t its own reward, being both helps workers get ahead at work, too. The opposite is also true: People who are unattractive or overweight in their bosses’ eyes are punished for it at the office. In spite of the fact that in most professions, attractiveness has no bearing on performance, many bosses subscribe to the notion that “what is beautiful is good” ( PDF ), according to a psychology researcher from Hofstra. As a result, good-looking people earn 3% to 8% more than average-looking people, who, in turn, earn 5% to 10% more than those rated “plain,” according to a 2005 study by Daniel Hamermesh of the University of Texas and Jeff Biddle of Michigan State University.

Extra body weight comes with its own employment challenges: 43% of overweight people say they were teased, harassed, fired, not hired, passed over for a promotion or otherwise treated unfairly because of their weight by an employer or supervisor. And overweight people are paid as much as 6% less than their slimmer co-workers in comparable positions, according to Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity ( PDF ). The standards are tougher for women than men: Women with a body mass index of 27 or higher are at “serious risk” of weight discrimination, while men must have a BMI of at least 35 to be at comparable risk, a 2008 Yale University study found. And moderately obese women are three times more likely than moderately obese men to be the victims of weight discrimination, the study also found.

9. “I don’t have time for you.”
Forty-year-old Erika Worth owns a background-check business in Vancouver, Wash., and a detective agency in Los Angeles, putting her in a dual role that requires monthly trips up and down the West Coast. So every time one of her 15 employees has a question about a project or a scheduling conflict, Worth asks them to try to come up with a solution on their own. It’s not that she doesn’t care: She just doesn’t have time to handle every problem as it arises.

Bosses have always been busy, but since the cutbacks of the recession, many managers now have even less time to supervise, talk to, or nurture their staffs, Cohen says. Two-thirds of employees say they have too little interaction with their boss, up from just over half in 2008, according to a study by Leadership IQ. “When times get tough, managers become avoidant,” writes Mark Murphy, who worked on the study. And with unemployment so high, some bosses feel they don’t need to spend as much time with their employees: If the employee doesn’t like it, well, there are plenty of other people who would like their job. “A lot of bosses have this ‘but-I-give-them-a-paycheck’ mentality,” says career coach Sherri Thomas. “They think that the paycheck is enough of a thank you.”

10. “It’s all about me.”
You’ve slaved away on a project for weeks, only to hear the boss give the presentation with no mention of your name. You’ve spent months doing research for that marketing proposal, but when it goes to boss’s boss, there’s no mention of your contribution. Bosses who take credit for your work or blame you for problems that you didn’t fully cause can “be equally – and sometimes more – damaging to employees” than the obvious bully, says Deblauwe.

Nearly half of workers say their boss has taken credit for their work, and more than a third say their boss has “thrown them under the bus” to save himself, according to a study by Spherion Staffing. That kind of credit-grabbing and blame-deflecting behavior is growing more common, says Thomas. In a tight labor market, “there’s so much pressure to achieve and people feel like they have to be overachievers.”

To be fair, this behavior isn’t always as bad as it seems. Sometimes it’s not appropriate to credit each employee, such as when the higher-ups don’t care which member of the boss’s team did what and simply want to know the results, says career coach Hallie Crawford. And “some bosses think of the employee as there to help them and that’s just part of the deal,” Crawford says. They may not be maliciously avoiding giving you credit, rather they may see the employer/employee relationship as not requiring it, she says. And for bosses with large teams, “it might be human error” they just can’t remember who did what part of the project.

By Catey Hill

What to Do When Your Boss Is Wrong

We’ve all been there. You’ve been handling a client, solving a problem, preparing a major presentation, planning a critical marketing meeting, and your boss or supervisor disagrees with your approach. The boss tells you how to do it, and you are convinced that it won’t work.

What do you do? Do you cave in and do it his or her way knowing it is going to fail? Do you plunge ahead with your approach, knowing he or she won’t like it?

Neither answer is good for your career or for your business. So, how should a hard-working, talented, and dedicated employee respond?

How you approach this prickly problem has a lot to do with the relationship between you and your supervisor and with your experience base, but there are some basic questions to answer that may help you break the loggerjam. I am assuming in this discussion that there is no harassment issue or other underlying problem and that you both disagree, perhaps strongly, on the right approach.

Question number one: Have I done this before? Is there evidence that would support my position?

Question number two: Is there evidence that supports your boss’s position? If you consulted with other experts in the field (without telling them you are in disagreement with your boss) which approach would they favor?

Question number 3: Can you both be right? Is there some compromise you could make that would take the best of both of your approaches?

After thinking this issue through, you may be more willing to change slightly but what about your boss? Is there a way to get him or her to budge? Yes, if you do it right.

First of all, schedule some time with your supervisor and have the conversation in private. You never want to make the boss look bad in front of others. Any disagreements you might have are between the two of you, not the entire department.

In the meeting, thank your supervisor for taking the time to discuss the project. Tell him or her you have been considering the approaches. Then state what you believe is your boss’s approach and state its merits. (There has to be something good you can say about it, however much you think it is wrong.) When he or she agrees, then say, there are just a couple of things we should do to improve upon the approach.

When he or she asks what, suggest one small thing that you think would open up the discussion and allow you to propose an alternative. If he or she is amenable, work in a second suggestion. Keep the discussion going, making it a give-and-take as opposed to an argument. Keep it about the business, keep to the facts and keep calm. If you get emotional, your argument will lose its impact.

Prepare for this meeting by thinking out the key elements you want to discuss and perhaps modify. If you get to some areas where you simply can’t agree, then unless it is life threatening, dishonest or career breaking, see if there is some common ground on which you can agree. Don’t threaten, and don’t cower. Treat your boss with respect and you will get it in return.

Hopefully this exchange will help you see both sides of the issue and make whatever endeavor you are working on that much stronger. But if you can’t agree then you have two choices. Either you follow what boss says or you tell him or her you want to try the alternative and are willing to live with the consequences.

If at that point, he or she still says no, then again, unless it involves safety or integrity, you need to do it his or her way and give it your all. You will gain more respect by taking something you don’t necessarily agree with and making it a success, than by taking it on and secretly hoping it will fail. Whether is it because of the approach or not, being associated with a failure is never good for your career.  

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Like Umps and Refs, Bosses Sometimes Make the Wrong Call

We expect our bosses to understand what we do and how well we do it. We expect to be rewarded and compensated fairly. We expect that the decisions made will be the right ones.

We have been trained to expect perfection from our leaders.
And yet, everyone makes mistakes. Yes, even bosses and authority figures sometimes make the wrong call.

Well-meaning bosses have been known to sign their teams up for commitments that they can’t deliver on. They may have appraised one employee unfairly or promoted the wrong employee. These mistakes often mean very little in the grand scheme of things, but sometimes they can create chaos within a team, or even result in employees losing their jobs.

Recently the sporting world brought us two examples of authority figures making the wrong call. First, there was the case of the “imperfect” game, when baseball umpire Jim Joyce called a Cleveland player safe at first base, upsetting what would have been a perfect game (i.e. no one reaches base) for Detroit pitcher Armando Galarraga. Everyone agreed that the replays clearly showed that it should been called an out, but NBC Sports and other news outlets reported that the decision would not be overturned. Sure, the Detroit Tigers still won the game, but the record books will never credit Galarraga with what he accomplished.

Even more recently, World Cup soccer brought us another example of the wrong call when referee Koman Coulibaly disallowed what should have been the game-winning goal by the United States in their match against Slovenia. We all saw it on ESPN Maurice Edu’s kick in the 86th minute went straight into the net. Experts agree that Edu was not offside, and yet his goal was simply wiped away with the wrong call. The team was never given an explanation for the call.

What makes the first of these example exceptional and noteworthy was umpire Jim Joyce’s apology to Galarraga. He admitted that he made a mistake.

All bosses make mistakes, even good bosses. One difference between an okay boss and a great boss is that the great boss will admit that he made a mistake and strive to do better the next time.

Have you been affected by a boss or leader who made the wrong call? What impact did it have on you?

By Colette Martin – forbes.com

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