As was foretold, we've added advertisements to the forums! If you have questions, or if you encounter any bugs, please visit this thread:

Managing a bad boss

bigpandabigpanda Registered User regular
edited December 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
Hi guys,

Need some advice (this is a long one). I currently find myself in a situation where I'm working for a boss/supervisor with poor people management skills. He constantly says "yes" to almost everything (which he denies up and down, but isn't the case from what I can see), and refuses to confront anyone regarding the problems in our department.

I find myself in a particularly odd place in that I bridged the gap between him and my previous boss as they had been terminated before a replacement was ready. The current team we have continually looks to me for guidance and support as none is forthcoming from our current boss. I had made it known at the time where I was stepping up that I had no plans for and did not want the position that my boss has. I understood that it would have been a promotion, but did not have the fortitude to deal with the stress and responsibility that it carried. (however I'm beginning to think that it might not have been the case, although still don't regret the decision)

I'm not trying to usurp his authority, but am watching my team implode as we're turning on each other as the stress levels build and feel compelled to do something about it. I don't know how to approach him to explain the situation as I already have the feeling that he thinks I'm trying to take his position which is totally not the case. In a nutshell I feel like he resents me for being there, or it might be because the team looks to me for leadership. I know I have a knack for leading under pressure, but I'm honestly trying to restrain from doing that as it's not the place of my pay-grade (so to speak).

I know I need to talk with him about it but don't even know where to start or how to approach the subject. The laundry list of issues is kind of long and getting longer by the week. I tried to discuss my personal situation as I was promised a raise and promotion (of a different position than his) over a year ago and while I've been doing the work, I haven't been getting paid for what the position would command. I'd have to go through my emails to see if I got it in any kind of a written agreement but it might have only been verbal. I got the distinct impression that he wasn't going to submit my name for the promotion during the next cycle of raises either as he doesn't want to rock the boat, but I'm getting prepared to go to HR to discuss my options as time is running out.

On another sidebar, I had one of my co-workers snap at me last Friday. I'm planning on confronting them directly on Monday as they are/were a friend and don't think anything would be resolved going through my boss. Basically they came over to my desk, dropped the project they were working on, said they didn't care and started to walk away. I commented that they weren't going to just drop it on me and they took it back. I offered to help afterwards and did finish the project (which now I'm thinking was a really bad idea as it reinforces that kind of behavior in the future). There's multiple reasons as to why I did so, including them being a friend previously, that it had a deadline, and was for one of our CEO's. Bottom line is that I don't mind helping, but I'll be damned if someone's going to act like a 5 year old and try and throw me under the bus in the process, be it inadvertent or not.

This thing is so big that I just don't even know where to start. I think most of the time that I should just start sending out resumes and quit as soon as I get a decent offer.

bigpanda on


  • tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    It looks like you have, if anything, too much of a good thing going. If you know what you're doing, management should want to keep you happy, but in my experience it is usually something that goes by the wayside. If you are serious about not becoming management be adamant about it, especially if you haven't received a recent evaluation, and if it becomes unavoidable, make sure that you get that review before you take on an escalated workload.

    Question: does your boss have a boss that you can go to, discreetly? It might look poorly upon you if you have a "chatty" office, but you might be able to broach it using I/me/my terms-- "I am due for an evaluation," "I am confused about my position," "I need a little guidance about this situation with Coworker X/Manager Y, I wonder if someone who isn't directly involved could give me a little advice."
    Be clear that it is about you and not the other coworkers, and you might even want to talk to someone not in your department. I have no idea how large and/or gossipy your office is, so this is sort of dependent on there being someone in a cursory position who can give you some insight, knowing a bit more about the situation or the people involved.

    I say this so that it doesn't come off as tattling, but also because it looks to me like you need to look at your position at work in terms of yourself, not just coworkers or supervisors. Usually stepping back from a situation and evaluating it in different terminology-- evaluating exactly what part of the problem is your problem exactly, etc. In situations where peers (not subordinates, not managers, etc) are dumping extra work on you, you might need to step back for a second and ask yourself what part of the project you can realistically be accountable for, what you can do about it, whether you need help, etc. Again, all about the I/me/my exercises-- where are you in the middle of this situation, that sort of thing.

    All told, I know where you're coming from. It's hard when you're in a position that requires a lot of direction from you because you happen to know what to do to get the job done, but you aren't necessarily the "leader" on paper. Your boss might be feeling inadequate and naturally that insecurity is going to make things even more difficult with him. You might even want to talk with him-- casually-- to reassure him that you're NOT there to make his life difficult and that you aren't looking to usurp him, and find ways to reassure him of this that are genuine. It can be really difficult to work with someone who is in constant fear of being undermined.

    tapeslinger on
  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    You should go to your HR Rep.

    VisionOfClarity on
Sign In or Register to comment.