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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 ‘Employees’ 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.

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.

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

Holiday Season Separation Anxiety

14December 2010

With the holiday season upon us, most folks are planning to take some time off work. But the economy doesn’t take breaks, and many managers may feel reluctant to relinquish control of their team, even when it’s their well-deserved vacation. Fear is a big driver, and when bosses – like kids – don’t have control, such as with matters of a vacation from work, a “terrible office tyrant” or “TOT” can emerge.

A needy boss wants constant assurance that the employees will take care of all needs and deadlines, holiday or not. Some ‘TOTs’ at the helm may be taking shorter vacations themselves, particularly at smaller companies, which can put additional pressure on employees hoping for a peaceful holiday break.

Holidays is the time to relax and recharge, and your employees will be thankful if you let them do it without feeling guilty. Read more on the issue in my recent article for PsychologyToday.com.

Survey: Boss Behavior Causes Rampant Worrying

15January 2010

Workplace Expert, Author, Provides Career Tips for 2010 and Beyond

SANTA MONICA (January 13, 2010) — According to a new survey released today by national workplace expert Lynn Taylor, author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant –TOT (John Wiley & Sons), U.S. employees spend 19.2 hours a week (13 hours during the work week and 6.2 hours on the weekend) worrying about “what a boss says or does.”

The national study was conducted by an independent global research firm and commissioned by Taylor’s firm, Lynn Taylor Consulting, which offers workshops on how to humanize the workplace for increased productivity and profitability.

Taylor said, “The study illustrates the tremendous drain that a manager’s words and actions can have on the minds and work product of its most valued asset – people – at a time when companies can least afford the loss. Particularly during this period of high unemployment, bad boss behavior can go into overdrive – distracting employees from the work at hand.”

“Conversely, the survey suggests that greater interpersonal sensitivity can significantly boost morale and help a company thrive,” Taylor said. She advises managers to go the extra mile by showing interest in the team’s well-being. “Employees’ careers are not on hold, even if major corporate initiatives are,” she added. Taylor said that spillover anxiety on weekends of 3.1 hours a day further underscores how critical the boss/employee dynamic truly is.

“Employees should take the initiative in 2010 to build their own human relations skills,” Taylor said. She added, “Tackle issues early on with diplomacy and deploy good ‘parenting skills’ in the office – without patronizing. Use positive and negative reinforcement; provide positive role modeling; humor; and set limits to unreasonable demands with tact, showing the benefits of an alternative compromise.”

The U.S. study was based on telephone interviews conducted with 1,000 respondents 18 years of age or older. For more information, visit www.LynnTaylorConsulting.com and www.TameYourTOT.com or call 1-800-454-0083.

About Lynn Taylor Consulting

Lynn Taylor is the founder of Lynn Taylor Consulting, which advises companies on how to humanize the workplace. A nationally recognized workplace expert, dynamic speaker and acclaimed author, Taylor is the author of the book, Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant™(TOT); How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job (John Wiley & Sons, July 2009).

Make 2010 Bad Boss-Free in Your Company

14December 2009

If you run a company or department, or are an HR professional, the thought has probably crossed your mind: how can you boost morale in 2010 after a tumultuous year? I can offer at least one solution. TOT proof your company, and make it safe for success.

Yes…aim to tame the Terrible Office Tyrant (TOT) behavior that lurks in your offices, reducing it at times to a corporate playpen, rife with sandbox politics. Toddler behavior in the boardroom (tantrums, demanding, stubborn and self-centered behavior) costs you. These are some of the 20 traits in my book that many business leaders consider required reading for their managers.

I can also address the topic at greater length in a lively speech for companies and organizations. A preview is available at various sites: LT Speaker clip site, Lynn Taylor Consulting and very soon on YouTube with keywords Lynn Taylor, Author, Speaker, TOTs. You can also contact: 1-800-454-0083.

2010 must be the year of “what’s in it for us,” not “what’s in it for me,” if our economy and businesses are to rebound. P.S. a surprising new sector can help you ratchet down tension with their years of wisdom and corporate savvy. See more on “Gen U”as I call them – Generation Unretired (featured in BusinessWeek) – and read why, at the TameYourTOT.com blog and at another website of Lynn Taylor Consulting’s: www.GenerationUworkforce.com.

Finally, let’s hope that these boss antics are not happening under your nose, but for the sake of levity during the holiday and some helpful awareness, here’s what some some employees reported recently in a national survey, not unlike that shown in an existing, similar YouTube clip!

Don’t Do This: TOT Boss Stories Told on YouTube

21October 2009

Many people in L.A. on Boss’s Day couldn’t resist using levity to discuss bad, childish boss stories – once they saw the angry yet fearful, 6.5′ TOT boss with his famed pacifier. I guess humor helps us make a point – or at least deal with annoying, seething (or teething!) people.  I often say that humor is the shortest pipeline to the memory banks.

Let’s face it, when managers (or workers) act like toddlers, you sometimes have to laugh to yourself, and then do your best to use your parenting skills. My book, Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant™ (TOT): How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job is about the most common, everyday variety of bad episodic behavior that we can all fall into if not careful. (Tyrannical bullies who are lawsuit worthy certainly are not laughable.)

It was nice to hear some positive stories from both workers and enlightened anti-TOT bosses, too. I spoke with many more great people who we couldn’t get on camera due to the short length of these videos. If you’re one of them, thank you for your time and great insight; I wish we could have had it run for a half hour!

When it comes to the office, “the child within” should certainly stay there. Here’s proof: the YouTube video clip on funny, bad/childish boss stories, with the TOT boss looking a bit aloof: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYQSOZEMVCI

We can humanize the workplace – together!