Category Archives: Hostile Work Environment

The Creepy Boss

Creepy Boss

You just arrived at your workplace and the most important thing on your mind is doing a good job. However, you got approached by your creepy boss who places his hand on your shoulder, or around your waist. His physical contact causes you to feel uncomfortable (this is often considered harassment). Any action that makes one uncomfortable, such as flirting and inappropriate touching, are termed as harassment.

Being aware of what is considered harassment allows you the opportunity to prevent, or put a stop to, such an act.

Below are signs that you have a creepy boss.

Asking for Late Night or Private Meetings

If you are always singled out to attend private or late-night meetings, this means that your boss is going beyond the professional limit. If you comply with these requests, even when they make you uncomfortable, you’re only making things worse for yourself. Your boss may even go as far as to ask you out for drinks or dinner privately. Let your boss know firmly that you’d prefer to conduct business during working hours at the office. This way you will not be alone with the boss, or caught in an uncomfortable situation. This also ensures that there are other people around to deter your boss’s attempts.

Receiving Calls or Texts from your Boss for No Reason

It is definitely necessary at times for the boss to be in contact with their staff after hours. However, if you are receiving late night or weekend calls that have nothing to do with your work, this might be inappropriate. Ask yourself if your boss is trying to use that opportunity to flirt with you when off the clock. There is nothing wrong with having a working relationship with your boss, however, some bosses go to far if they cross the line by making an attempt on their staff to gain their affection in an appropriate advance that is not work related.

Workplace h

The best way to handle an after hours advance is to let your boss know politely that you are busy with family time. If you are married, you might make it known by bringing family pictures to the office and wearing your wedding ring. This may help your boss to deter their behavior. Even if you’re not married, you can display a photo of your significant other and it always helps to be clear about your distaste about the requests.

Displaying of Sensual or Playful Body Language

Check the eye contact and body language of your boss. If you catch him casting glances at you which you aren’t uncomfortable with, that could be the sign. Do not reciprocate these behaviors because if you do, you’re letting the boss know that his behavior is OK. Instead, be mindful of your own body language and eye contact so that it is not taken the wrong way.

Spending more Time in Your Office than His Own

If your office looks very relaxed, that doesn’t mean that your boss should be moving to and fro in order for him to flirt with you. He was assigned his own office! By always spending his time with you in your office, he is exerting his authority to move closer to you, which is not appropriate. In the same token, when you visit your boss’s office, keep your interactions business professional by first knocking and then when you enter, keep your conversations short and to the point. Ensure that you are not standing or sitting in a casual way. Exit as soon as you have what you need.

He Gives you Gifts and Asks for Secrets

During the Holiday or Valentine celebration, your boss gives all the staff a motivational gift but yours is special with a flirtatious quote. This is part of the attitude displayed by a creepy boss who shows that he wants to get closer to you. One way to deter your boss is to respectfully decline the gift by saying, “Thank you but I cannot accept this gift”. If your boss asked you to keep it a secret, respond by saying, “I do not feel comfortable with that”. If you hold your ground, your boss will stop giving you special gift, and requests for secrets. He may also respect you more by showing that you have morals and integrity.

Negative Effects of A Creepy Boss

Working under a creepy boss has a lot of negative effects, such as anxiety, embarrassment, headaches, depression and fear. This may lead to poor performance evaluations, change in career goals, absenteeism, or even getting sacked from your job. If you believe that your boss is harassing you, the best thing is to confront him directly. For example, you can approach him and say, “Sir, I don’t feel comfortable with you putting your arm around my waist or on my shoulder.” Don’t appear timid while confronting him. This is going to stop the harassment. However, if this does not work, you may need to report him to your company’s HR department so that further investigation and action can be taken. It is possible that he has done this to other employees, so by speaking up, you could be helping others who have dealt with the same situation.

Disclaimer: Dealing with a creepy boss is stressful. If you are a boss, recognize your work behaviors and take note that your actions could be making others feel uncomfortable. A work environment is not the correct place to make advances.

Workplace Respect Training

New Study Results: Everybody Suffers Under a Bully Boss

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New Study Results: Everybody Suffers Under a Bully Boss

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Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/paulbrigham/

Bully bosses are toxic! Their abusive speech and other bad behavior spreads like a virus, infecting the whole office.

Bully bosses communicate by losing their temper, yelling, and belittling their subordinates.  Often a bully boss will single out one employee to take out their negativity or aggression. If you’ve ever had to experience the abuse of a bully boss, you know how draining it can be.

However, the whole team will suffer at the hands of a bully boss, according to a new study by a team of researchers at Michigan State University. The study showed that the entire team suffers when a bully boss picks on just one employee.

How does the team suffer? Their productivity decreases as a direct result of verbal abuse and/or demeaning E-mails from the bully boss. Not only does a targeted employee suffer, but the whole team falls into conflicts which results in a loss of productivity.

“Teams characterized by relationship conflict,” lead investigator Crystal Farh said in a press release, “are hostile toward other members, mistreat them, speak to them rudely and experience negative emotions toward them.”

The whole group’s attitudes and behaviors start to reflect those of the bully boss as they act in a similar and hostile manner toward one another. The sobering truth is that everyone suffers at the hand of a bully boss.

When this happens, the company loses big time because now the whole team requires interpersonal relationships to be repaired. Trust among group members will have to be rebuilt as well.

Resources:

  • Entis, Laura. (2014) Bosses Who Pick on One Employee Ruin Everyone’s Productivity, Study Shows. Retrieved on September24, 2014 from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/237110.
  • Farh, Crystal & Andy Henion. (2014). Abusive Leadership Infects Entire Team. Retrieved on September 24, 2014 from http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2014/abusive-leadership-infects-entire-team/.
  • Farh, Crystal & Chen Z. (2014). Beyond the Individual Victim: Multilevel Consequences of Abusive Supervision in Teams. Retrieved on September 24, 2014 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25111251.

The Boss from Hell…The Bully

Disclaimer: Working for a bully boss is distressing. Do you have a real life experience working for a bully boss? Please tell us about it in the comments below.

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Boss-Haters Unite! (Joke)

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doing work

Boss-Haters Unite! (Joke)

Ok, let’s get real. Why would you unite with boss-haters? We’ve all worked for a bad boss at one time or another. In fact, according to Forbes Magazine, approximately two million Americans quit their job every month due to a bad boss. Most managers fail because of lacking people skills and poor communication.

But, are you a boss-hater?

At badboss.biz we don’t hate “bosses” in general. Not all bosses are bad. In fact, we regularly outline bosses who deserve the title of “Great Boss”! But, we do hate BAD BOSSES who practice poor leadership, bringing frustration, exasperation, and havoc to the workplace. So, don’t be a chronic “Boss-Hater”. We can learn things from every boss that we’ve had, whether good or bad. Boss-haters can be bad for the organization. So, what is a boss-hater?

Jack Welch, executive chairman at the Jack Welch Management Institute, published an article on LinkedIn, “Are you a Boss-Hater?“, in which he encouraged readers to take a good look in the mirror and ask themselves if they might just be a breed of boss-hater that has a gloomy view of the working world. He recommends thinking of a boss that you’ve personally encountered who didn’t have a problem. If you are not able to think of a single boss, then the problem might be that you’re a boss-hater and you should therefore work on opening up your mind.

You might be a boss-hater if…

  • You think that “everyone is dumb but you”.
  • You feel that you are a noble victim, speaking truth to power.
  • No matter who you work for, you hate every boss.
  • You feel the system and organization’s flaws are always at fault.
  • You are not able to find value in anyone above you.

Maybe you are not a boss-hater. You simply have a Bad Boss in your current position. There are three things that you can do about that trying situation. Leave the job, change the circumstances, or accept and adapt to the situation.

Stay clear of boss-haters in the workplace, because they usually are drawn together and united by their boss-hating attitudes. There are better ways to engage in the workplace than creating more negative than positive results. The organization may catch wind of the disgruntled group, and your boss may even try to retaliate. Don’t make yourself and those around you miserable by being, or uniting with a boss-hater.

What if you have a boss-hater working in your department or on your team? Mary Abbajay, president and co-founder of the Careerstone Group, recommends that you confront the individual. Identify the source of his or her problem. Do they hate you, or is it all bosses? If they hate all bosses, they are a boss-hater. Work on building a better and more constructive relationship with the employee. If you can not find a solution, consider letting the negative employee go. And, if the employee just has a problem with you, identify ways that you can correct your own behavior.

Even though a boss may have earned their position, that fact does not make them a good boss. According to Dr. Marla Gottschalk, practice manager, organizational development, at Rand Gottschalk, a manager with deep technical expertise is not what’s important to be a good manager. “Great managers don’t simply manage the numbers – they coach, clarify goals, provide feedback, align work with our strengths and inspire. …They express real concern for their team, have open conversations and are willing to provide ongoing support.”

Let’s strive to appreciate good managers and BE GREAT BOSSES!

Recommended Reading:

The Top 10 Reasons People Hate Their Boss by Rick Conlow

 

Disclaimer: Boss-haters do exist in the workplace. However, working for a bad boss is quite draining. Do you have an experience working with a real bad boss? Tell us about it HERE.

The Blame Game: Top 5 Ways to Allocate Blame

Pointing FingerThe Blame Game: Top 5 Ways to Allocate Blame by Bad Boss

The Bad Boss lives by the blame game motto: NEVER be the target of any blame. Always doll out the blame to your subordinates, absentees, or outsiders. In the Bad Boss’s mind, these tactics will build your self-esteem and help you get further in your career. This article is an encyclopedia of blame in the workplace that anyone, at any level of their company, and at any stage of their career, can benefit from reading because playing the blame game ALWAYS works.

When your next team project fails, and it will (because you’re the Bad Boss), there are many strategies for dishing out the blame. Who is to blame? It’s always someone else’s fault, but NOT yours! The blame and responsibility should be distributed individually or collectively to your group. Don’t allow your employees to determine your career success or failure! It is not difficult to play the blame game. When your boss starts to ask questions, save your skin and cover your butt!

company policyThe Accountability Policy

At Bad Boss, we “recommend” that you first implement a department “Accountability Policy”.  – Help people take responsibility by having an accountability policy for your office to create a culture of blame. This will assist in setting the stage for your expectations when things go wrong. People avoid responsibility for many reasons, like laziness, fear of failure, or size of the problem. In your policy, make it clear that employees will be terminated who make excuses, miss deadlines, or fail to take responsibility because it hurts the well-being of the team. In any case, if your employees shirk responsibility, they’ll ultimately fail in their jobs which will put your name on the line. The latter reason is the most important and should motivate you to address the issue before it ever becomes a problem.

Here are the top five ways to allocate blame like a Bad Boss:

  1. Blame ANYONE, ANYTIME, for ANY REASON – Blaming People for The Wrong Things, For NO Reason, at the Wrong Time. When you’re a bad boss, there is never a wrong time to blame an employee for any reason; even for the wrong things. It doesn’t matter if the employee did or did not do what you are blaming them for. The point is to make them the scapegoat to save your own skin. Never allow yourself to be in the direct line of fire; sacrifice your subordinate instead. If you’re looking for an easy target, pick a passive member of your team. This person will have a reputation as a doormat and will not stand up for themselves when they are being attacked by your blame game. But really any man just standing by will do!
  2. Blame the Last Guy –  Were you recently promoted to your current position? When problems come up, just blame the last guy who had your job. Even if he wasn’t let go, demoted, or otherwise removed, you can still blame him! Was he promoted to a better position or elevated in your company? All the same, he’s fair game to be blamed for your teams problems. After all, if the last guy was so wonderful, he wouldn’t have left the department in the disorder that you now find. He is responsible for hiring the performance problems now in your department. He is at fault for leaving the unresolved issues in your inbox. Tell your team, to get the focus off them, they need to agree with you that the last guy was incompetent. This will give your team hope that you will be better.
  3. Blame it on Your Customers or VendorsYour vendors and service providers are an easy target to blame because they cannot effectively defend themselves. Therefore, blaming an outsider is a workable solution. If your business’s reputation is on the line, blaming the outsiders will help the executive team to avoid some pretty unpleasant realities and has very few political backlashes.
  4. Blame it on Technology – There are many choices for making an IT related accusation, which include placing the blame with the network, storage, an application, database, hardware, etc. Sometimes these complex systems break even when everyone did what they were supposed to. Therefore, you are quite safe in placing the blame with IT. Nearly everyone understands that IT failures happen and often. Even if you’ve used this excuse before, when IT fixes a problem it doesn’t necessarily reduce the risk of another incident. “To err is human – and to blame it on a computer is even more so.” – Robert Orben.
  5. Point the Finger Back – If someone blames you for something, just point your finger back at them and say, “No, it’s your fault”. You may follow up by explaining that “your interpretation of the problem is not the same as my interpretation of the problem”. Point out any inconsistencies in what they say or do and defend yourself. “If somebody’s pointing a trembling finger at your pants and saying you shouldn’t be doing that, follow that finger back, go up the arm and look at the head that’s behind it because there’s almost always something fairly woolly in there”. – Jock Sturges.

finger pointing

Other ways to play the blame game are to:

  • Blame the new guy
  • Blame the economy or weather
  • Blame the weakest team member
  • AND MORE!

Avoid Decision Making

While you are playing the blame game, make sure that you don’t make any decisions. Either go with the suggestions of others or hire in a consultant to make your suggestion. This tactic gives you the added benefit of being able to fire the intern if it fails later, thus ensuring that you remain blame free.

Respect Office Politics

Also, respect your office politics! Don’t let anyone above know that you are avoiding blame. Or if someone senior caused the problem, don’t piss them off by placing blame with them. This could jeopardize your position; so let’s just brush it under the rug. Let us elaborate;we look to blame no one; implying that it would be bad to do so. Never, under any circumstance, ever….blame a senior executive. We’re not into blaming. Therefore, it’s unfair to point the finger at senior management. Instead, you should just look to focus on fixing the problem. If the question comes up, just respond by saying, “I’m not into blaming,” (nudge nudge wink wink), “It’s whats-his-name, but I’m sworn to secrecy. You know blaming is not my style”. And, if someone must be blamed, then hire an external, blame them, and then fire them.

Finally, always have an escape plan to avoid being blamed: take a vacation, sick day, or just duck out. Tell your superior that weren’t there when it went wrong, or as it went wrong, and you don’t know what is going on; but you will get to the bottom of it. Don’t take blame for other’s mistakes; YOU don’t have any!

Disclaimer: Bad Boss posts are meant to be humorous and should not be taken seriously. Taking the high road of honesty and being accountable for your mistakes is the best option in business.