In today's tough economic environment, some bosses are acting meaner than ever. Here are seven tips for dealing with a mean manager from John McKee, a business coach and author of “21 Ways Women in Management Shoot Themselves in the Foot”:
Take stock. Someone in this position should ask themselves if they have a clear idea of what really makes them happy. If they don’t, they should develop a personal action plan to lay out a roadmap of where they are, where they are going and where they need to be for self-fulfillment.
Understand the “circle of success.” It’s advisable to spend a measurable amount of time ensuring the boss looks good, however deserved or not. When your boss understands that you are able to help him or her succeed, you and your team will get more time, positive attention and resources.
“Presence” pays. Sharks smell blood. Dogs sense weakness. So do bad bosses. Carry yourself with best posture and wear attire that imparts your professional stature, abilities and success. If the boss knows you are easily intimidated, you might as well wear a target on your chest.
Pace your boss. Let your boss see that you share the same work ethic, and you might just end up on his or her good side — however shallow that may be. Simply put, if your boss is at work, you should be as well. If she or he has decided that it's necessary to be there after hours, on weekends or early in the morning, it is entirely to your advantage to be there at the same time.
Circumnavigate. Make sure managers above and lateral to your boss who are in position to benefit your career know who you are and what you’ve accomplished. Letting others know about your successes will make you a hot commodity for promotions out from under the appalling administrator. If done properly, it will not be construed as bragging or conceit and may win your parole in short order.
Fish or cut bait. Consider having a private one-on-one dialogue with the boss to discuss what can be done to better satisfy the needs of the boss and the company. If you are able to succeed, it may help you better connect with management at large.
Go hunting. If all else fails and you simply cannot muster the emotional strength to deal with the sinister superior, it’s time to polish the resume. Use this time as an opportunity to refocus and fine-tune your career path to assure you’re heading in the best direction both professionally and personally.