Is your boss making your life miserable? In this episode of HBR’s advice podcast, Dear HBR:, cohosts Alison Beard and Dan McGinn answer your questions with the help of Moshe Cohen, a senior lecturer at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. They talk through what to do when your boss is a jerk, a workaholic, or simply incompetent.
Listen to more episodes and find out how to subscribe on the Dear HBR: page. Send in your questions about workplace dilemmas by emailing Dan and Alison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Alison and Dan’s reading list for this episode:
HBR: Do You Hate Your Boss? by Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries — “Frequently cited grievances include micromanaging, bullying, avoiding conflict, ducking decisions, stealing credit, shifting blame, hoarding information, failing to listen, setting a poor example, slacking, and not developing staff. Such dysfunctional behavior would make anyone unhappy and unproductive. However, whatever sins your boss commits, managing your relationship with him or her is a critical part of your job.”
HBR: Managing Your Boss by John J. Gabarro and John P. Kotter — “You are not going to change either your basic personality structure or that of your boss. But you can become aware of what it is about you that impedes or facilitates working with your boss and, with that awareness, take actions that make the relationship more effective.”
HBR: Research: Shifting the Power Balance with an Abusive Boss by Hui Liao, Elijah Wee, and Dong Liu — “Targets of abuse can flip the script, shifting the balance of power in their favor when bosses make life miserable. As subordinates gain leverage over time, they can strategically influence supervisors to stop abuse and even motivate them to mend strained relationships.”
HBR: How to Work for a Workaholic by Rebecca Knight — “Some people just can’t seem to get enough of work. They stay late at the office, check their email at all hours, and even put in time on the weekends. If your manager keeps this sort of schedule, do you have to also? How do you set the right expectations and boundaries? What can you do to make sure you don’t look like a slacker in comparison?”