Managing Up: How to Deal With a Bad Boss During Quarantine

Remember the good old days, when you could have vaguely cleared Kurt emails from your boss for a walk on his desk? Or when the worry of a horrible “we need to chat” dull message can ease with a quick pop-in?

If only we knew how good we had it!

By this point, those of us who have gone to work from home have unearthed great belongings. Your kitchen may now double as a desk, and your pet has become a surprise surprise guest at your zoom meetings, but nearly a year into the epidemic and most of us are working it out. But there are some things about communicating digitally that don’t always translate so easily, and one of those things, experts said, is how we communicate with our owners. And if you were not great before your age of working from home, the odds are that it has not improved.

But that doesn’t mean the relationship isn’t expected to be up – and now, as pandemic fatigue is fully determined, there may be a better time than ever, “Molly West Duffy, co-author of No Hard Feelings, Said. “One who looks at how emotions affect our work life.

“We know through research that we are more likely to read the lack of emotion in digital communication as being negative, because we are missing all the context cues,” Ms. West Duffy said. “So if your boss says, ‘I want to chat tomorrow,’ without saying something like, ‘I think you did a great job and I just have a few comments’ you assume that your boss has There is something negative to say. “

He said that because a return to normalcy is a short time on the horizon, “We’re in a transitional moment, and we like to capitalize on transition moments because it makes these conversations that can be a little less awkward.” is.” (However – if your relationship with your boss has changed in an area that cannot be fixed with some conversations, it may be time to move on – more later.

Outside of work, a lot of the time, a bad relationship with one’s manager can boil down to poor communication, Mary Abjay, author of “Managing Up: How to Get Ahead, Winning at Work and Succeeding with Any Kind of Boss.” . “This was true in ordinary times, and even more so now that we are unable to read body language and other nonverbal cues that provide useful context and information when communicating.” Establishing how to interact is as important as actual communication.

“Many times there is conflict between us because we like different forms of communication,” Ms Abbaje said. “You want to make sure that you are interacting with your coworkers as to how you want to communicate and what kind of things are being communicated.”

For example: Since home has become an office for so many of us, searching for the time and place to converse may not be as easy as starting the zoom from the kitchen table. This may mean asking a partner to watch the children, schedule around cooking, find a quiet room or countless other complications that make homework experience. Being flexible during conversations with us in this way can reduce a lot of misunderstandings around the substance of a chat, Ms. Abbaje said. Maybe your boss would prefer a dull message over text or video chat over an email. But whatever the medium, knowing How To communicate can be just as important as what you are saying.

“Make sure you’re communicating with and adapting to other people’s preferences in terms of getting your attention and time,” she said.

She agreed with Ms. West Duffy that now would be a good time to investigate and understand that, as the annual review is taking place and the new year is a good excuse to work out and evaluate what is not. . “Estimate time to see how well virtual engagement and communication is actually going,” she said. “What is going well?” What are the ways that we are not communicating well? “

There are many types of bad bosses, Ms. Abbaje told me A few years ago. For example, you might have a ghost boss (someone who is never around), a sea lug (the boss he called, “swoop and shoot” or “swoop and silence”, Which means they “divebomb into a project” and leave one behind, “or they dive into it and take it away from you”); Or a simple “inefficient” and, of course, most managers are a combination of styles. But working remotely can add completely new layers to those sycophants – and we can behave those ways ourselves.

“The epidemic has turned us into a lot of ghosts,” Ms Abbaje said. “It’s going to be up to you to help your manager learn how to manage it remotely.”

The obvious, Ms. West Duffy said, is often the best way to get what you want from your manager, and instead of being proactive and naming an issue hoping that it will go away on its own, you will be in a bad situation. Can help the agency improve

“If you think the relationship is not great, then chances are your boss thinks the same,” she said. “Just naming and saying, ‘I know it’s hard to communicate,’ and being on the same page during an epidemic” can clear the air and help you train your manager on how to It is best to manage.

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Ms. Duffy West said that it is never easy to have these conversations, but can help you prepare well. Write down what you think the pain points are, and think through the language you want to use to discuss them. Use statements of fact, such as “When you do this, it affects me like this,” and avoid ambiguity by saying “help me understand the problem”.

“It helps us to go into these conversations not only to know the topics, but to know the words you would say,” Ms. Duffy West said.

Also keep in mind that your managers are dealing with their own stresses at home outside of the job, and have compassion and empathy about the ways that may affect their approach to work, Ms. Abbaje said.

“You always want to have positive intentions and have a little grace,” she said. “People are stressed and it’s a very strange time.”

Added Ms. West Duffy: “We have no idea what is happening in someone’s personal life, at home, the calls they are currently on. We just have this one little piece, and the feelings are bleeding in other meetings and we just don’t know. So there is a small chance to give them the benefit of the doubt and retaliate it a bit. “

Now, all this has been said: A stressful world is not an excuse for behavior beyond rude, abusive, inappropriate or otherwise from a manager or co-worker. If your boss’s behavior is beyond ghosting on email threads or unclear about expectations, it’s important to recognize that you have the right to a safe environment. No amount of Air clean Will fix an abusive manager.

Raising these issues with higher-ups or human resources can be difficult in a work-from-home world, so research your company’s policies and protocols. “Proliferation during an epidemic is very difficult,” Ms Abbaje said. “If you have a bullying boss or a really toxic boss, do a little research on how your HR department handles.”

This is more difficult for women and members of minority groups, who are often Already at a disadvantage in the workplace And what has been done Dissatisfied with the epidemic. But there is a clear, specific plan for how to move a situation forward and what you want to reach. And most important: document everything.

“If you need to move on, do it,” Ms. Abbaje said, “and be really clear about what you need to get out of it.”

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