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Wondering how to solve a challenging management issue, humanize your workplace™ or keep your team motivated? Do you ever feel like you're running a pre-school, not a professional department or firm?  Maybe you're an employee or job seeker looking for advice from peers or managers. If so, you've come to the right place. Lynn is the founder of Lynn Taylor Consulting and this community forum. She is the author of the best-selling Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant™ (TOT): How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job (John Wiley & Sons) Order here: Amazon, Barnes & Noble. Post a comment with your story and/or Q, and she'll try her best to address it! in an upcoming blog or article.

Archive for the ‘Career Advice’ Category

Mitigate Mid-Management Tyrant Behavior

14October 2013

Tyrannical bosses can do a lot of damage in organizations. In particular, there are two types of bad bosses I hear the most about in the workplace – bullying and overly demanding. Both types can make subordinates fearful. When people are in a protective mode, it interferes with the company’s ability to generate innovation. As a senior manager, you must take action when you see these behaviors or “TOTs” running amok in your organization.

As I describe in the Forbes article How to Deal With a Bullying Boss, there are many types of bullying bosses. They can run the gambit from the covert, fear-provoking bully to those who throw tirades and intimidate employees continuously. You may see him as a high performer — as is the overly demanding boss — but your clue that something is wrong with his management style is too much employee turnover.

As I point out in the article, “Bullying in the workplace is similar to the school playground in that people are being demeaned or exploited. But in the office, bullying is far more subversive and challenging to overcome. These grown bullies are adept at finding non-assertive victims and staying under the radar.” There are 10 tips on how to handle a bullying boss plus an interesting list from the Workplace Bullying Institute of the 25 most common tactics adopted by bullies. Take a look at the article and then examine employee morale.

An overly demanding boss — one who sets unrealistic or extremely high standards — can make employees feel as if they work constantly under the gun. In 10 Tips For Dealing With An Overly Demanding Boss, I explain to Forbes readers how an overly demanding boss doesn’t empathize or understand what’s required of his staff to deliver results, and he will keep pushing them until they take action — which as a senior manager, you want to avoid. The easy path for senior management is to think: “It will work itself out” — but it rarely does.

Boosting Productivity

Besides mitigating TOT behavior, as I explain in 14 Things You Should Do at the Start of Every Work Day (Forbes) “Having a good start to the day where you have greater control is critical in achieving better results, and ultimately greater career [and organizational] success.” How you end the day is equally critical, as it has much to do with how you start the next day. In 16 Things You Should Do At The End Of Every Work Day (Forbes) I mention:  “It’s half of the puzzle of being productive. Both pieces are like bookends that carry extra weight relative to what happens in between. They’re like first and last impressions that hold tremendous impact on your view of your work, attitude and productivity level.”

Both articles on starting and ending your day will help you take charge of the situation no matter what garden variety of office tyrant you must manage in your workplace.

Dealing with an Overly Demanding Boss

8August 2013

In a recent Forbes blog by Jacquelyn Smith, titled10 Tips For Dealing With An Overly Demanding Boss, I offered some thoughts and suggestions to help mitigate this type of bad boss behavior. I’d like to share them with you.

Here are some observations I made in this very useful article:

“An overly demanding boss doesn’t empathize or understand what’s required for you to deliver results, and he will keep pushing you until you take action,” says Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant; How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job.

…“Demanding bosses give you unreasonable deadlines, are not in tune with the hours it takes to meet objectives, won’t take the time to find out in advance what’s reasonable, can display little interest in your well-being, have trouble prioritizing, and give you little recognition when you do complete Herculean tasks,” (Taylor) says.

…“They may not take the time to see if you have the tools or information you need to accomplish your assignments, and can make themselves unapproachable so that your only option seems to be: just do it.”

If a demanding boss is affecting you at work, please see:10 Tips For Dealing With An Overly Demanding Boss at Forbes.com. You’re not alone. More importantly, you can take steps to increase your job satisfaction – and stay sane!

Look Before You Leap

1August 2013

With the employment picture showing some signs of life, you may be weighing the pros and cons of looking for a new job – especially if your current bad boss is causing you to “sizzle” with anger. However, it’s a good idea to really look thoroughly before you leap or you may jump right from the frying pan into the fire and end up with a TOT boss worse than your current one.

In my Psychology Today article, Is Now the Time to Leave Your Job? I examine some practical risks associated with quitting. The article also discusses some changes you can make in how you’re relating to your boss and gives some overall steps to consider before taking the plunge.

Naturally, I give some humorous suggestions of what NOT to do along with what to do. If you’re thinking that now is the time to cut and run, then take a little time out to read Is Now the Time to Leave Your Job? and carefully weigh your options (and have a few chuckles while you’re at it).

A Self-Centered Boss: Burden To The Team?

7February 2012

So, you are doing great, you say. Terrific, now what about your unit, group, subdivision, department – the people who need your leadership? Take a careful look: do you pay enough attention to their needs and problems? It’s natural to be proud of one’s achievements – the results of your hard work and administrative talent. Yet, you are not alone; you need those people around you to get the job done. Be sure not to make it all about yourself – appearing self-centered in the eyes of your co-workers can hurt feelings, cause withdrawal and inertia and lead to loss of productivity, damaging your team’s performance and, by extension, your own career.

In my recent article for Psychology Today I offer employees tips on how to stand up for themselves (diplomatically) when they feel neglected by a preoccupied manager – four ways to manage up and save one’s job satisfaction and success. Be sure to read it so you see the potential problem from your team’s perspective.

Time Off During the Holidays

1December 2011

Holiday time is a time for joy, cheer, and perhaps you may feel some adult version of “separation anxiety” — fear that not everything at work is going to be done before the holidays.

As a manager, have a plan ready and decide what can wait until after the holidays. Too much pre-holiday workload may result in employee burnout and tarnish your reputation (you don’t want the name “Scrooge” brought up!) To avoid being a TOT, read my Psychology Today blog to learn about boss holiday separation anxiety. . . before you start seeing long faces at the holiday party!

Remember, a little break now will translate into a happier, more productive 2012.

Is It Better to Be Liked or Feared?

16November 2011

If you’ve recently been promoted to a management position or just wavered at times in your careeryou may be asking yourself, as a good manager and coach, should I be liked or feared to be effective? In my latest BloombergBusinessWeek article I posted the fact that instead of vacillating between being a feared power player or a well-liked pushover, leaders should try to earn respect.

A recent LinkedIn discussion I led supported my premise that respect is really the goal. Most members of the Human Resource Management group felt that in order to garner respect, being liked is indeed better than being feared—but that at times some fear of authority is necessary to get the job done.

In the business world, the greater good of the company sometimes necessitates unpopular decisions. But managers can’t execute them without a foundation of respect. Please take a look at BloombergBusinessWeek for a perspective on how real power thrives on respect.

TOT-taming for Beleaguered Office Workers

6November 2011

If you’re a senior manager or in Human Resources, you know that Terrible Office Tyrants (TOTs) wreak havoc in your business. You want to mitigate the behavior as much as possible. You also want to ensure that your staff is TOT-free.

TOT-taming is reaching out to more beleaguered office workers this month with articles appearing in Forbes, CBS/MoneyWatch and Media Bistro. Forbes highlighted Seven Ways to Tame an Office Tyrant — don’t let them see you sweat, listen actively, be a role model, be a problem solver, harness strengths and weaknesses, use humor and show empathy. Of course, in my book, there are many more tips. Check them out!

At CBS/MoneyWatch you’ll find suggestions on what to do When Your Boss Acts like a Toddler, which included my favorite acronym: CALM—Communicate, Anticipate, Laugh and Manage. Communicate with your boss openly, honestly and frequently. Anticipate problems before they become larger problems and have solutions ready. Levity helps break tension, diffuses issues and punch through barriers. Managing up doesn’t mean kissing up. It means speaking the truth and setting expectations with your boss.

In Media Bistro’s Dealing with the Terrible Office Tyrant (TOT) I told public relations professionals that the onus was on them to spot a TOT and put some real teeth behind that great PR reputation. With some behind the scenes TOT-taming they can increase those moments of agency euphoria.

Try some TOT-taming techniques in November, as the holidays and a short month create a fertile environment for more stress!

How Many Thank-You E-mails Land the Job?

9April 2011

After a job interview, you need to follow up to stay visible—without becoming a pest. I discuss this issue in my new Business Week article and offer my perspective on how to find a perfect balance based on a number of factors.

I start with an example from my personal experience – of two excellent and equally qualified candidates competing for the same job. One was virtually silent after the interview and thank-you e-mail. The other one sent the thank-you and also checked in about every 10 days with interesting links and industry information. Eventually I had to go with my gut: Since Candidate B went out of his way to demonstrate his interest for the job, I selected him. He remained part of my team for years until he had to relocate for personal reasons.

So Candidate A lost out in large part because he failed to follow up with enthusiasm. But over the course of my career, I’ve also had to exclude candidates from the running because they made pests of themselves after the interview.

It is obvious that candidates who can manage just the right amount of contact are the ones most likely to succeed. So how do you know what the right amount of follow-up is? Every other week is a good general rule, especially if you’re getting a positive response from the interviewer. But every situation is different, and there is a number of things to be factored in. For the complete picture, read more on BusinessWeek.com.

Job Interview: A Card Game?

5February 2011

Often a job interview is like playing poker. Both sides are like careful players, deciding how much to reveal, how much to conceal, or when to call for all cards on the table. If the job seeker doesn’t play his hand right he may loose the opportunity, no matter how well he’s qualified. If the interviewer can’t “read” the opponent properly, he may end up giving the job to the wrong person. And what to do if your counterpart has the world’s best poker face?

In my recent article on PsychologyToday.com I offer job hunters some advice on how to excel at “job interview poker.” I think it’s a useful read for hiring managers as well. A position is only filled properly when both the employee and the employer attempt to be as forthcoming as possible. Granted, a hiring manager certainly may not know if the candidate going to make the cut until the process runs its course. And there are often other decision-makers. But if the match is not even close, managers should be careful not to set unrealistic high expectations at the very least. Read on for an employee’s perspective of the job interview “poker game.”

Landing a Survival Job

21January 2011

Today many people are forced to look for jobs below their qualifications. In the current tough economic climate even “settling for less” often presents a challenge and needs to be done right. What advice would you give to candidates seeking “survival jobs” – or use yourself in a tough situation?

Megan Malugani, a contributing writer for Monster.com, quotes opinions from a number of workplace experts (including yours truly) in her recent article: “A survival job should be something you enjoy,” says Lynn Taylor, a workplace expert who is CEO of Santa Monica, California-based Lynn Taylor Consulting and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant. “Your likelihood of landing even a survival job is greater if you demonstrate genuine enthusiasm, so don’t waste anyone’s time with a job you dislike from the start.”

You’d also need to tone down your resume to avoid being perceived as overqualified. Focus your resume and the interview on the actual job at hand.

Above all, stay positive and remember that any experience is an opportunity to learn.

For more tips, read the complete article at Monster.com