It’s Pretty Dirty Business

How to Work with Psychotic Managers is a topic that I am familiar with, and apparently a few of you out there are seeking answers to this age-old quandary.  Shall I expound on this for a bit?

Tips from a Pro:
  1. Smile all day long.  Do everything with a smile.  Be the sunniest person you can when you’re facing the world (aka the office).  Save your scowl for your cubbyhole of a desk.  Smiling will deflect some of the nastier possibilities your psychotic manager is brewing.  It will also piss him or her off because their main hobby in life is getting you riled up.  Don’t give them the benefit.
  2. Leave a long paper trail of all the work you’re doing.  If you document everything you do, said boss can never throw your lack of work ethic in your face.  Your psychotic manager spends much of his or her time figuring out how to make your life hell, give them as few reasons as possible.
  3. Be your most charming self.  I know I said I couldn’t teach you how to be charming, but I’ll try.  Ask your psychotic manager questions that flatter his or her ego.  Talk about their kids and what a wonderful job they did raising them.  Talk about things they like—like cats and golf.  Ask them the secret to their success.  Make them laugh if you can.  Use your quick thinking to engage your manager in witty repartee.  It will make him or her feel smart and superior.
  4. Find out their hot buttons and steer clear!  Conversely, find out what they love and offer to help them get it as often as possible.  If your boss loves coffee, be the first to offer to get it.  If he or she likes to take long lunches, keep your mouth shut and tell the to have fun and take their time!  Encourage them to spoil themselves with mani-pedis on Fridays or that expensive bottle of wine they’ve been coveting.  Give them a pat on the back—hopefully this will keep them from you stabbing you in yours!

Some people think psychotic managers shouldn’t be encouraged in their wicked ways, but I like to resort to clichés for advice on this matter.  Kill them with kindness.  You’ll lure a lot more bees with honey than with vinegar.  Treat others as you would like to be treated.  Don’t be Karma’s bitch.  (Oops, that’s my new philosophy.)  Just remember that managers are people, too.  What comes around goes around.

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4 Responses to It’s Pretty Dirty Business

  1. The Pink Fairy says:

    …if i ever become a psychotic manager, i want employees like you…

  2. Girl Friday says:

    No! Don’t become psychotic! Be the coolest boss ever. I like to think that I used to be 🙂 It’s funny because “How to deal with psychotic managers” keeps popping up in my stats! I thought I should address the issue! That and Helena Christensen, but I don’t know what to do about her!

  3. Weltsie says:

    Great post, Girl Friday! This is a topic that we, as in those in the field of administration, but even those who aren’t, all struggle with daily. Even when our work relationships are good, there are those days when you feel like you have to work extra hard to ensure that everything stays copacetic around the office.

    Some other hints that have helped me over the years include, but are not limited to:

    1. Engaging your boss in a conversation about the importance their job.

    2. Asking for background on ANY given work situation.

    3. Explaining how you are trying to follow past formats and wonder if they have any tips for increasing your efficiency. This will trigger a discussion about the lack of work ethic among past employees and highlight you as their new savior.

    4. Asking how their weekend was and eliciting the appropriate response with proper empathy or excitement, as the case may be. PLEASE NOTE: Must (at least pretend to) geniunely care.

  4. Girl Friday says:

    Also good tips. Although this assumes that your boss is sane. I employ the above tactics with my current boss, but think of Michael on “The Office.” Those are the types I used to deal with and talking sense with them doesn’t work. You have to go back to basics–like smiling, flattery, and distracting them with bright, shiny objects… 🙂

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