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Maybe (Gulp) The Problem Is You

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Just about everybody has had a bad boss. But do you find yourself constantly working for people you don't get along with?

"Every dysfunctional relationship we've ever been in has one thing in common: us," says Steve Miranda of the Society for Human Resource Management. "Really be honest with yourself and ask, 'Is the problem with the boss, or is the problem with me?' "

Jack Yoest, president of Management Training of DC, takes a harder line on the boss-employee relationship and says it's the employee's job to relieve the boss's anxieties, not the other way around.

"If you have a nervous, micromanaging boss who's always in your hair, he probably doesn't trust you," Yoest says. "The employee hasn't sold the boss on his ability to get anything done, and I'd say, most of the time, it's the employee's fault."

You might n ot agree with that. But if your boss does, he or she will expect you to behave accordingly.

Yoest says most people haven't been taught the mechanics of being a good employee. Rather than insisting that managers empower employees, Yoest urges employees to convince the boss that they are dependable and can act as the boss would. The goal should be to go from an employee who does nothing unless told, or who is always asking the boss what to do, to an employee who recommends a course of action and, after gaining the boss's trust, acts on the boss's behalf.

"When you've reached that level, you're at a whole new level of job security" because you're behaving like a leader, Yoest says. And that puts you one step closer to being the leader .

-- Tara Swords

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