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HOW TO COPE WITH A TOXIC BOSS

Aug 17, 2007
When you find yourself working for a difficult/toxic boss, manager/supervisor/principal you must be more cautious. Your well being and future could depend on it..

Here are a few effective strategies to consider.

* Talk in terms of stated goals and objectives. Usually, every office or workplace today has a mission statement framed and hanging on the wall for the world to see just how enlightened it is. They contain a number of wonderful ideas about empowerment, mutual respect, co-operation, and affirmation. In many instances the mission statement just hangs there having no discernable impact on working conditions and human relations. It does look good though.
In most instances the difficult boss you are trying to cope with had a direct hand in forming the mission statement so build on this fact.

Use the mission statement to assert yourself. Challenge the leadership of your workplace with the very values they have included in their mission statement. When something happens which doesn't reflect the values of the mission statement draw attention to it. You can reasonably presume that your supervisor would want to know when a cherished, well articulated value is being threatened. Can't you? The mission statement is much more than a mere framed statement on the wall. Isn't it what moves us and forms us and what challenges us to be what we so eloquently say we are?

Refer to the mission statement with phrases like these:
* " In our continuing struggle to live in the spirit of our mission statement I feel that we should take a serious look at declining staff morale."

* " In the spirit of empowerment, defined in our mission statement, I would like to offer this suggestion for improvement."

Whatever your concern is, always assert you opinion or suggestion cloaked in the values of the mission statement. Do likewise even if the mission statement was the product of a collaborative effort.

Who can challenge your right to assert an opinion when your right to do so is written , framed and hanging on the wall for all to see?

* Feeding your boss an article to read on the issue you feel strongly about, or asking that the article be the topic of discussion at a staff meeting is often an effective way to bring an issue to the floor.

More Direct Strategies
* Use the power of silence. There is nothing more effective than an incredulous look accompanied by silence. When your manager does or says something toxic just look at them and say nothing. Then look away dismissively. They will get the message and no one will be able to accuse you of bad mouthing.

* If you have the courage, meet with the difficult boss in private and calmly express your perceptions and feelings in a non threatening or accusatory manner. You do have the right to your perceptions and feelings.

* If things are really bad and nothing seems to solve the problem begin to record and date a list of toxic incidents. If things come to a head you will need a list of specific incidents and dates to back up your assertions. It is much more effective to have a few others in the office support the list to give weight to the toxic incidents. It is often difficult to get others to stand up and be counted but you

must try, even if you only have one other person.

* Have a speaker come in to talk about effective interpersonal relationships, staff assertiveness ,dealing with difficult people or dealing with office stress.. Knowing office politics and the realities of human interaction will allow your speaker to address your concerns in a manner that could positively effect the social culture of your workplace. ( I know a speaker who could fit the bill.)

* If things don't improve after trying some of the above you must, for your own health and well being, look for other employment. The stress caused by working for a toxic boss is just too harmful to your health.

" All office problems are people problems. When you begin to solve people problems you begin to solve office problems." Mike Moore
About the Author
Mike Moore is an international speaker and writer on human potential and humor. You are invited to check out his books, tapes, special reports and manuals at http://motivationalplus.com/cgi/a/t.cgi?mpstore
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