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Coping with a ‘scary’ boss

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A bad manager can severely damage an employee’s morale and motivation to come to work, leading to potentially disastrous consequences for staff turnover and overall profitability.

If you’re the kind of horrible boss who intrudes on the personal time of your staff – or even a nice boss, who does more damage than you might think – it could be time to take a closer look at how your employees view you.

And what better time to find out if you’re a “scary” boss than Halloween? Robert Half has put together this list of challenging bosses and how staff can deal with them, which we thought was pretty timely for this spooky season.

So, which one are you?

The Werewolf

This boss has trouble delegating tasks. When a full moon rises, this boss assigns a project, tells you exactly how, when and where to do it.

How to cope: Trust is usually the issue here, so try to do everything in your power to build it. Don’t miss deadlines, pay attention to details and keep this boss updated of all the steps you’ve taken to ensure quality work.

The Poltergeist

This boss provides little or no direction. Your assignments often have to be completed at the last minute or redone because goals and deadlines weren’t clearly explained.

How to cope: The key to dealing with this manager is to diplomatically point out that by providing more information upfront, you’ll both avoid undue stress and save time in the long run. Seek clarification when confused and arrange regular check-ins on projects.

The Bogeyman

The Bogeyman wants to do things his or her way, or no way at all. Bosses like the bogeyman also tend to be gruff with others and get easily frustrated.

How to cope: Make sure you stand up for yourself when the bogeyman comes to haunt you. The next time your supervisor shoots down your proposal, for example, calmly explain your rationale. Often, this type of manager will relent when presented with a voice of reason.

The Witch

The Witch undermines the efforts of others and rarely recognises individuals for a job well done. This boss will take credit for employee ideas but places blame on others when projects go awry.

How to cope: Best way to cope with this boss is to make sure your contributions are more visible to others, especially senior management, so that your role isn’t overlooked. Get information in writing, such as in an email so you have a chain of communications to refer to, if needed.

The Grim Reaper

This type of boss is always a surprise. This manager’s moods are typically unpredictable – he or she may confide in you one day and turn a cold shoulder the next.

How to cope: Try not to take this manager’s disposition personally. A calm and composed demeanour is best when dealing with the grim reaper. When this person is on edge, try to limit communication unless a matter is urgent to avoid bone-chilling confrontation.

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