If your boss is consistently fair, considerate, decent, and humble, you are very lucky, says Peter Morris in ‘The Dysfunctional Workplace’ (www.vivagroupindia.com ). For the rest of us, though, bosses come in all shapes and sizes of unfairness.
Your boss may, for instance, play favourites, giving his pet the best assignments or even a promotion that somebody else deserves more. “The boss may blame other employees for his favourite’s mistakes or shortcomings. He may be more likely to award his favourite a raise, let her take more days off, or give her the best office space or desk,” the author describes.
The result of such boss behaviour may be a demoralised workforce and resentment. “If the boss defers to a particular employee during meetings, always seeking out this person’s opinion to the exclusion of others, the rest of the group feels (correctly) that their input is not valued and they need not apply their minds to the task at hand.”
Then, there is the lunchtime clique, with the boss preferring to ‘hang out’ with one or two employees more than others at lunch or during casual moments throughout the day. This can create an implicit hierarchy in the workplace, with those ‘closer’ to the boss occupying a higher rung on the social ladder, Morris cautions.
“A certain amount of hierarchy is necessary for most organisations, but when the social hierarchy – defined by whom the boss views with favour – becomes an unstated pecking order that has little to do with seniority or job description, a corrosive oppression sets in.”
To the non-favourites, it is difficult to take such behaviour of the boss personally, the author concedes. “There is something innately threatening and painful about having the person you depend on, the person who has a certain amount of control over your fate, not appreciate you as a person.”
Yet, try not to take the boss’ behaviour to heart, Morris advises. “It isn’t your fault that the boss is being a jerk.” Instead, you can look at your options, he guides.
The first option is to lay it on the line. “In a private meeting with your boss, respectfully but firmly point out how long you have been with the company, what impressive accomplishments you have achieved (be ready to modestly itemise them), and why you ought to receive a particular promotion or responsibility for a major project.” Other options include approaching the boss’ supervisor or the HR department.
To those who feel their ideas and thoughts don’t receive enough air time at staff meetings, Morris’ suggestion is to prepare a memo before meetings about issues. “The boss is not likely to complain about this type of proactive preparation and forethought, especially if you present your memos in a respectful, professional manner.”
And those deprived of the sunshine of social attention that the boss chooses to bestow only upon the favourite few, sage counsel in the book is that your life is actually a bit simpler to have less rather than more casual interaction with the boss.
“You don’t need that type of relationship in your life! Let the boss’ inner circle enjoy their little clique, while you enjoy the integrity of your work and your working relationship with colleagues.”
Helpful insights to start the New Year with.