What To Do About Terrible Boss?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about new boss with bad behavior:

We got a new boss approximately 3 months ago. So far she has made promises to outside business people that she does not keep, comes to work late most every day, takes extended lunch breaks, gets her hair and nails done on company time, leaves early and brings her child to work.One of the other people that works with us has her nose stuck so far up the bosses rear end that I don’t think she can see day light. Our boss has us doing less now than we were before she came and has been showing severe favoritism to the one that has her nose stuck up the bosses rear.She berates the work that we did before she came, has us doing the suck-up’s work for her, and the boss thinks this is all okay.So help me out with some advice. Should I go talk to HR or what ?

Signed, Frustrated

Dear Frustrated:

Clearly you do not like your manager! It would seem that if she is as bad as you say, her own manager would have some complaints. I realize sometimes these things can stay hidden for quite awhile, but it may be that she has approval for all that she is doing. Or, if not approval, her managers don’t really care as long as work is being done.Also keep in mind that none of the things you describe–except for doing the work of the coworker–are harming you–or at least you don’t mention how it harms you. It might not seem fair and it might seem like a poor work ethic, but it doesn’t really effect you. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t report it, but it reminds you that it seems to be rooted in personal dislike more than concern from the business or the work of you and your friends.What you should do depends upon how far you’re willing to go with it and even upon the size and culture of your organization. It also will depend upon how much support you can get from your coworkers.Your complaints should be focused on the bottom line of business if possible. How is all of this hurting the company?

What isn’t being done right that would be upsetting to those at the very top? Is anything costing more money or losing money because of the situation? Those are the things that matter most to the people who are far removed from the actual situation. If you have a relationship with the person above your boss, maybe you can start there. If not, you will have to go to HR or to a manager at another level. I don’t advocate anonymous letters, but it may be that would be the safest way to get the information to someone who can take action—if they want to take action.One thing is for sure–your boss knows that if every employee unites to complain, she won’t be able to dispute their words very easily.

There will be power in numbers in this case. Just make sure you keep the focus on professional concerns and work concerns, rather than on personal dislikes and vengeful actions.Document exact dates, times and events that are violations of rules or policies. List witnesses. Then, pass that to the highest level that seems appropriate and wait to see what happens. If nothing changes you may need to go higher in the organization.Best wishes as you tackle this very difficult situation. In the meantime, keep your own level of work high and avoid gossiping and negative remarks about the situation. That doesn’t help and it can make you be perceived in a bad way. Do your work well and support others in their work, no matter how this gets resolved.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.