Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

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edge
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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby edge » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:58 am

There is only one time where this tactic works. It is when you know for a fact that your boss is on the ropes and clearly under pressure because of bad performance/behavior/etc - and you are the potential successor. And when you do it, it needs to be carefully balanced and factual.

Otherwise it just makes you look like a non-team player who is 'difficult'.

an_asker
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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby an_asker » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:02 am

KlangFool wrote:[...]GKSD,

By the way, I was the dummy that did this a few times in the public setting. It never goes well. Then, after a while, somebody else brought up the same idea and claimed the credit later since they have the ears of the key stakeholders.

The C-level folks only listened to their trusted advisors. If you are not one of them, do not waste your time and energy pushing your idea.

KlangFool

Per my experience, not just the C-level folks!

And my experience is also that there is no point in ever complaining about co-worker (for whatever valid reason) to boss, if co-worker is one of the boss's favorites. Actually, I don't even if co-worker is not boss's favorite (nothing good will come out of it anyway ... when I do so, for sure!).

2015
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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby 2015 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:21 am

It's important to understand that so-called leadership in organizations is a cesspool of politics. At that level, massive importance is placed on the acquisition and maintenance of money, power, and position. Sorry, but so-called "good" organizations are only "good" at routing out bad managers if the politics dictates it. Everything, but everything, in organizations comes down to politics. What is unsaid is infinitely more important than what is said. This is what they mean when they say they want to hire for "fit" (meaning, are you good at maneuvering this particular organization's brand of political landmines).

I wouldn't trust someone in HR to flush my toilet. Everything is shared in one way or the other regardless of assurances of "confidentiality". It's a good thing to remember that as long as you are working you are being talked about by someone somewhere, for better or for worse. As was posted above, call HR for mundane issues dealing with transactions.

Brian Tracy said you can move faster in your career in one year under a good boss than in five years under a bad one. If you're working for an idiot, get out. Now.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby 10YearPlan » Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:28 am

KlangFool wrote:
10YearPlan wrote:
If you're brave (and working on that EQ), you could broach the topic with your boss directly. You could say: "Boss, I've noted x, y and z lately and was wondering if you'd be willing to hear my input on how we could improve/change/work together on a solution". OR "Boss, are you open to some feedback on this (Insert scenario here)?" Good leaders should be open to feedback. Great leaders solicit feedback. Bad leaders could potentially punish you for sharing feedback. But in all cases, I always think it is best to go to the source, rather than around the source, and definitely before/instead of going above the source.


10YearPlan,

<< Good leaders should be open to feedback. Great leaders solicit feedback. >>

Let me play devil advocate here.

1) If the leader is good, this kind of problem will never happen. He/she will have a way to find those things out before anyone has to tell him/her. If a person has to wait for someone to tell him/her, there is something wrong. Telling will not fix this.

2) For anyone that work for a while and somewhat effective, we know our own weakness and strength. We do not need anyone to tell us about that. We know. The only question is whether we choose to deal with it or not. For example, I know my problem. It is just in most cases, it is not important enough for me to deal with it.

KlangFool


Hi Klang,

I know I will not be able to win this argument with you, so I won't even try, but let me just say that I respectfully disagree with you on both points. I believe that everyone (regardless of whether he/she is a leader) needs feedback, whether they like it or not. Feedback is critical to growth. And I would argue that many people are not fully aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Oh, sure, we know some of them if we have any self-awareness at all, but we only see ourselves through our own filters, which may or may not be aligned with how others truly see us.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby Atgard » Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:52 am

If you choose to go to your boss with feedback (probably depends on too many individual factors to give a blanket yes or no -- some people would take this feedback well and others would not), I would advise one thing:

Give praise in public, but always give criticism (even constructive criticism) in private.

Teague
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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby Teague » Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:01 pm

Whether a bad boss may benefit from constructive criticism is not relevant to the subordinate worker. Such attempts at manager rehabilitation will not benefit the subordinate worker, and will likely do the opposite, sometimes to the extreme.

There is a saying: "Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and and annoys the pig."

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby NDfan27 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:25 pm

I agree with everyone telling you to mention grievances with your boss in private. But using some tact goes a long way. I also agree that the book How to Win Friends and Influence People has a ton of "common sense" advice that few actually put into practice. I would read the book and try using it's advice in your personal life before trying it out on your boss or coworkers. And more than just providing constructive criticism, I would try to go out of your way to help your boss or make them look good. Working with your boss may change their attitude towards you or change their demeanor entirely. It talks about that in the book too.

But sometimes nothing works and that boss is truly a toxic person whose sole purpose in life is to make every day a living hell (my mom ended up with one of these after 30 years at her job). She just did her job and laid low until she was able to find something better. As she was leaving that boss levied several horrible accusations against her and the employer threatened lawsuits but wasn't able to produce proof substantiating any of the claims. My mom felt ashamed until she found out that quite a few of her former coworkers had similar stories. Now she has a great job where they appreciate what she does, she works less and gets paid a whole lot more to do it.

Bottom line: Work on yourself rather than worry about others and don't be afraid to look around for something better. A good employer will try to keep you around rather than punish you for looking for better opportunities.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby PVW » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:30 pm

RudyS wrote:BUT, I never complained to anyone other than my wife!


I agree with the general consensus that complaining about the boss is bad, but it can be very cathartic, especially if your boss is causing you stress. Find someone you can trust to complain to.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby KlangFool » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:51 pm

10YearPlan wrote:
Hi Klang,

I know I will not be able to win this argument with you, so I won't even try, but let me just say that I respectfully disagree with you on both points. I believe that everyone (regardless of whether he/she is a leader) needs feedback, whether they like it or not. Feedback is critical to growth. And I would argue that many people are not fully aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Oh, sure, we know some of them if we have any self-awareness at all, but we only see ourselves through our own filters, which may or may not be aligned with how others truly see us.


10YearPlan,

Let's assume that you are right, so what?

It is not my job to improve my boss. It is his boss's job and responsibility. I am not paid to improve my boss. I have nothing to gain but everything to lose by giving the feedback.

Do your own job. Do not do somebody's else job. It is not your problem and you will not be appreciated. In the best case, nothing bad happened. In the worst case, you will get into trouble for this. Why are you doing this?

KlangFool

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby mouses » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:59 pm

KlangFool wrote:OP,

1) In order to be extremely useful to you, how about you post something about what you might say about your boss and we can offer the rebuttal on how it may come back to haunt you.

2) You have a job. You are hired to do your job. How your boss does his/her job is none of your business. It is his/her boss's job to make sure that your boss does his/her job. So, why do you choose to comment about your boss? You are being a busybody and stick your nose in where it does not belong.

3) If you have to complain about your boss, it means that you are not being effective in doing your job. It does not matter what kind of boss that you have, you have to be productive. The ability to work with any kind of boss is the sign of maturity and capability. Ditto on working with lousy customers, peers, and so on. If you can only be effective and productive in a perfect environment, what does that say about you?

4) Now, unless it is an outright case of sexual harassment, ethnic violation and so on. Then, you may have to do something.

5) The real world is imperfect. You either know how to deal with it effectively or you don't.

KlangFool


I disagree with most all of this. I have had two terrible bosses, so bad that people dreaded coming into work. A bad boss can definitely make it hard to do one's job.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby Teague » Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:03 pm

mouses wrote:I have had two terrible bosses, so bad that people dreaded coming into work. A bad boss can definitely make it hard to do one's job.


I don't think anyone would disagree with you on this. I think the issue is whether the subordinate employee can effectively modify the bad boss's behavior to the benefit of the subordinate employee.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby 8foot7 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:49 pm

KlangFool is exactly right. You have nothing to gain and potentiallly everything to lose by criticizing your boss behind his or her back. I might even go so far as to blow sunshine you-know-where if the boss asked me directly for feedback; I guess it would depend on how much I needed the job. Heed KlangFool's advice.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby randomguy » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:25 pm

KlangFool wrote:10YearPlan,

Let's assume that you are right, so what?

It is not my job to improve my boss. It is his boss's job and responsibility. I am not paid to improve my boss. I have nothing to gain but everything to lose by giving the feedback.

Do your own job. Do not do somebody's else job. It is not your problem and you will not be appreciated. In the best case, nothing bad happened. In the worst case, you will get into trouble for this. Why are you doing this?

KlangFool


In my experience people that take the initiative to figure out what needs to be done and get it done even if it isn't their job are the ones getting promoted. They are far more valuable than the ones that are only concerned about their individual job. I remember several times the people who just did their job complaining about why they didn't get the promotion over someone else. Pretty much every time, you could point to something above and beyond wha their job was.

To a large extent you have to define criticism. Telling the boss that he has a bad haricut? Useless. Suggesting a better way of doing something? That is your job.

To some extent there are some big are cultural divides here. In a creative white collar workplace, I am being paid to think so blindly following orders is not what is expected. When I worked on an assembly line in college, nobody cared about improving the process. As always you need to adapt to your environment versus blindly following rules.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby pondering » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:58 pm

Just focus on a behavior you want changed that is measurable.

Say something positive about the change.

In my case, I said it would be nice if our boss could reply to our emails more quickly.

That being said, my old boss calmed me down from actually saying it to my new boss.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby SQRT » Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:16 am

Many companies have 360 assessment tools that allow anonymous feedback to go to your boss. This is the best way to do it.

Otherwise it seems pretty obvious why "badmouthing" the boss is not smart. Now, if there is abuse involved or illegal behaviour, different story.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby KlangFool » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:07 am

randomguy wrote:
KlangFool wrote:10YearPlan,

Let's assume that you are right, so what?

It is not my job to improve my boss. It is his boss's job and responsibility. I am not paid to improve my boss. I have nothing to gain but everything to lose by giving the feedback.

Do your own job. Do not do somebody's else job. It is not your problem and you will not be appreciated. In the best case, nothing bad happened. In the worst case, you will get into trouble for this. Why are you doing this?

KlangFool


In my experience people that take the initiative to figure out what needs to be done and get it done even if it isn't their job are the ones getting promoted. They are far more valuable than the ones that are only concerned about their individual job. I remember several times the people who just did their job complaining about why they didn't get the promotion over someone else. Pretty much every time, you could point to something above and beyond wha their job was.

To a large extent you have to define criticism. Telling the boss that he has a bad haricut? Useless. Suggesting a better way of doing something? That is your job.

To some extent there are some big are cultural divides here. In a creative white collar workplace, I am being paid to think so blindly following orders is not what is expected. When I worked on an assembly line in college, nobody cared about improving the process. As always you need to adapt to your environment versus blindly following rules.


randomguy,

<< In my experience people that take the initiative to figure out what needs to be done and get it done even if it isn't their job are the ones getting promoted. They are far more valuable than the ones that are only concerned about their individual job. >>

Not in my 30+ years working experience. In the few years leading to my laid off, I won multiple employee recognition awards from my peers.

A) I was passed over for promotion.

B) I was laid off in lieu of people only doing far less than their job in my department.

<<Suggesting a better way of doing something? That is your job.>>

Unsolicited advice is seldom appreciated.

Chinese Proverb:

Tall Trees attract the Wind (树大招风 shù dà zhāo fēng)

Meaning: being outstanding brings adversity in itself

KlangFool

P.S.: I am not suggesting one size fits all. But, be aware of what the company says versus what it actually values. The company will always say politically correct stuff. But, who it promotes and who it lay off should tell you more about the company actual value.

Money talks, BS walks...

10YearPlan
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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby 10YearPlan » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:24 am

KlangFool wrote:
10YearPlan wrote:
Hi Klang,

I know I will not be able to win this argument with you, so I won't even try, but let me just say that I respectfully disagree with you on both points. I believe that everyone (regardless of whether he/she is a leader) needs feedback, whether they like it or not. Feedback is critical to growth. And I would argue that many people are not fully aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Oh, sure, we know some of them if we have any self-awareness at all, but we only see ourselves through our own filters, which may or may not be aligned with how others truly see us.


10YearPlan,

Let's assume that you are right, so what?

It is not my job to improve my boss. It is his boss's job and responsibility. I am not paid to improve my boss. I have nothing to gain but everything to lose by giving the feedback.

Do your own job. Do not do somebody's else job. It is not your problem and you will not be appreciated. In the best case, nothing bad happened. In the worst case, you will get into trouble for this. Why are you doing this?

KlangFool


I am not suggesting that the person should do somebody else's job. Nor am I suggesting that all bosses are open to feedback. Many (most?) aren't. Only you can know whether making suggestions for improvement will be welcome or put you on a blacklist somewhere. That said, the OP was about why we never speak badly about a boss--and I was suggesting that, as a boss myself, I'd welcome someone sharing those thoughts with me rather than them feeling helpless and sharing them with others. I'd be a little miffed if they went over my head as a first step. I am not perfect and I also don't want to lose people over something I was either not aware of in my own actions/behaviors somehow or a misconception over my behaviors/actions.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby KlangFool » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:47 am

10YearPlan wrote:I am not suggesting that the person should do somebody else's job. Nor am I suggesting that all bosses are open to feedback. Many (most?) aren't. Only you can know whether making suggestions for improvement will be welcome or put you on a blacklist somewhere. That said, the OP was about why we never speak badly about a boss--and I was suggesting that, as a boss myself, I'd welcome someone sharing those thoughts with me rather than them feeling helpless and sharing them with others. I'd be a little miffed if they went over my head as a first step. I am not perfect and I also don't want to lose people over something I was either not aware of in my own actions/behaviors somehow or a misconception over my behaviors/actions.


10YearPlan,

If you are the boss and you want feedback, you should actively solicit feedback. And, you have to prove to your subordinate that the feedback is appreciated. Now, if you had done all that, why would you have any problem getting feedback? If you do not get any feedback from your subordinate, there must be something wrong with you.

If you want something, you should work to make sure you get it.

KlangFool

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby MattE » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:11 am

The extent to which people on this board are willing to eat **** with a smile is totally baffling to me. A large portion of a manager's job is to facilitate ways to make those under them more effective\productive. If there's something about them that's causing that to be not true, then they're now actively hindering your production and are a roadblock you need to address if possible in order to do the best job you can, just like any other problem that may arise. If provided an opportunity to give them feedback, take it, and make your own opportunity if not given it. If it's a particularly hostile situation, take it up for HR or your next level. If you're worthwhile as an employee, something will be done to rectify the situation. Or you need to be prepared to leave, which is an option you should have been prepping for if you were in a bad situation anyway. In either case doing nothing is a disservice to yourself both professionally and as a human.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby 8foot7 » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:19 am

MattE wrote:The extent to which people on this board are willing to eat **** with a smile is totally baffling to me. A large portion of a manager's job is to facilitate ways to make those under them more effective\productive. If there's something about them that's causing that to be not true, then they're now actively hindering your production and are a roadblock you need to address if possible in order to do the best job you can, just like any other problem that may arise. If provided an opportunity to give them feedback, take it, and make your own opportunity if not given it. If it's a particularly hostile situation, take it up for HR or your next level. If you're worthwhile as an employee, something will be done to rectify the situation. Or you need to be prepared to leave, which is an option you should have been prepping for if you were in a bad situation anyway. In either case doing nothing is a disservice to yourself both professionally and as a human.


I don't think anyone here is suggesting eating s**t. Rather, I think the suggestion is that (a) no good can come of criticizing your boss to others (b) if your boss is awful, go find a different job (c) you may, depending on personal circumstances, have an opportunity to speak to boss directly and offer feedback and that may be an appropriate thing to do.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby lostdog » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:41 am

I am so glad I am done with corporate culture. Never going back unless I absolutely have to.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby likegarden » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:44 am

At a very young age I learned not to complain to others about someone, also not to nod with your head when someone complains about another person, simply walk away. My mother once politely nodded, and a fight got started between neighbors.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby Teague » Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:12 am

lostdog wrote:I am so glad I am done with corporate culture. Never going back unless I absolutely have to.


I can hardly wait myself. For the past few years we have received an "engagement survey" conducted by a third-party survey company, that supposedly aggregates and anonymizes our responses to questions like "do you have the resources needed to do your job" and "do you have a best friend at work."

This year our immediate manger sent us a memo informing us that our answers in years past made him look bad, and suggesting we give more "appropriate" responses. There was also a line in there saying "I am not telling you how to respond to this year's survey, but..."

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby IFRider » Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:20 am

MattE wrote:The extent to which people on this board are willing to eat **** with a smile is totally baffling to me. A large portion of a manager's job is to facilitate ways to make those under them more effective\productive. If there's something about them that's causing that to be not true, then they're now actively hindering your production and are a roadblock you need to address if possible in order to do the best job you can, just like any other problem that may arise. If provided an opportunity to give them feedback, take it, and make your own opportunity if not given it. If it's a particularly hostile situation, take it up for HR or your next level. If you're worthwhile as an employee, something will be done to rectify the situation. Or you need to be prepared to leave, which is an option you should have been prepping for if you were in a bad situation anyway. In either case doing nothing is a disservice to yourself both professionally and as a human.


First, I am only speaking about working in large corporate environments (100,000+ employee companies)...

MattE, If you are in a position to pull off what you say successfully, I applaud you and I'm also a little envious. However, to me, this thread is divided into 2 groups of employees:

1. Top performers or perhaps "rising stars" that can "make your own opportunity"
2. Individual contributors that understand the game and their position in the hierarchy.

I can't speak to #1, I've never been fortunate enough to be in that group. I do know that being part of #1 involves some fairly distasteful compromising that a lot of ICs like myself would equate to your colorful analogy.

For those in group #2, you understand that you are a rank and file employee and this is your career path. Your job then is to:

1. Do a good job and be reliable.
2. Do everything you are asked by your management and customers to the best of your ability.
3. Keep your mouth shut.

If you can do these things well, you will likely end up with a long career and comfortable retirement. Those of us that have worked in the corporate world for decades understand that there are tradeoffs in the job (and life), and putting up with a bad boss is part of the program. But we don't let it interfere with our quest to put on a pair of Bermuda shorts and drink mai-tais on the beach someday. It's just not worth it.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby randomguy » Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:27 am

KlangFool wrote:
randomguy,

<< In my experience people that take the initiative to figure out what needs to be done and get it done even if it isn't their job are the ones getting promoted. They are far more valuable than the ones that are only concerned about their individual job. >>

Not in my 30+ years working experience. In the few years leading to my laid off, I won multiple employee recognition awards from my peers.

A) I was passed over for promotion.

B) I was laid off in lieu of people only doing far less than their job in my department.

<<Suggesting a better way of doing something? That is your job.>>

Unsolicited advice is seldom appreciated.

Chinese Proverb:

Tall Trees attract the Wind (树大招风 shù dà zhāo fēng)

Meaning: being outstanding brings adversity in itself

KlangFool

P.S.: I am not suggesting one size fits all. But, be aware of what the company says versus what it actually values. The company will always say politically correct stuff. But, who it promotes and who it lay off should tell you more about the company actual value.

Money talks, BS walks...


As I said, your experience doesn't remotely match mine. I can think of 4 projects across 3 companies where someone took the initiative, came up with a plan and a workable solutation, and were basically promoted to be in charge of the team that executed the idea. And as the project grew, they rode it to the top. And for one offs experiences, I have provided constructive criticism numerous times. Still haven't been fired.

Proverbs are great. But they are like using bible quotes. You can find one to match just about anything you want.

I have seen unsolicited advise be appreciated. I have never seen untactful advice be appreciated. Providing constructive criticism is very, very hard. Most people put up defensive walls when people push too hard. It is an art form to push enough to get your point across while not trigger that response.

That all being sad, I try not to say bad things about anyone. Criticizing ideas is one thing. People is another. There is a huge difference between "I think doing B instead of A is better because of xx" versus "B is the dumbest idea ever. Who is the idiot who thought of it".

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby Dyloot » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:48 am

randomguy wrote:
KlangFool wrote:
randomguy,

<< In my experience people that take the initiative to figure out what needs to be done and get it done even if it isn't their job are the ones getting promoted. They are far more valuable than the ones that are only concerned about their individual job. >>

Not in my 30+ years working experience. In the few years leading to my laid off, I won multiple employee recognition awards from my peers.

A) I was passed over for promotion.

B) I was laid off in lieu of people only doing far less than their job in my department.

<<Suggesting a better way of doing something? That is your job.>>

Unsolicited advice is seldom appreciated.

Chinese Proverb:

Tall Trees attract the Wind (树大招风 shù dà zhāo fēng)

Meaning: being outstanding brings adversity in itself

KlangFool

P.S.: I am not suggesting one size fits all. But, be aware of what the company says versus what it actually values. The company will always say politically correct stuff. But, who it promotes and who it lay off should tell you more about the company actual value.

Money talks, BS walks...


As I said, your experience doesn't remotely match mine. I can think of 4 projects across 3 companies where someone took the initiative, came up with a plan and a workable solutation, and were basically promoted to be in charge of the team that executed the idea. And as the project grew, they rode it to the top. And for one offs experiences, I have provided constructive criticism numerous times. Still haven't been fired.

Proverbs are great. But they are like using bible quotes. You can find one to match just about anything you want.

I have seen unsolicited advise be appreciated. I have never seen untactful advice be appreciated. Providing constructive criticism is very, very hard. Most people put up defensive walls when people push too hard. It is an art form to push enough to get your point across while not trigger that response.

That all being sad, I try not to say bad things about anyone. Criticizing ideas is one thing. People is another. There is a huge difference between "I think doing B instead of A is better because of xx" versus "B is the dumbest idea ever. Who is the idiot who thought of it".


I think Klang's proverb is totally appropriate--even for what you're saying. I love it, in fact. And this is a fantastic subject.

In the workplace, we are not Teflon. Everyone walks around with a personal brand. I have found that those who walk the tallest can attain great heights, but also be shown the door. I've seen catalysts achieve great change in an organization, but be labeled as difficult to work with, and find their position eliminated within the year. In one case, I realized a year after a woman had been let go that everything that she had stormed about (insisted on!) happened within the calendar year of her departure. She was a true catalyst and improved her team and her company. Yet, many were relieved when she was let go. Today, I still view her as someone difficult to work with, but also respect her as a great change agent.

I agree with Klang on many points. Giving unsolicited feedback to your boss--either directly or indirectly--is very dangerous. Even when it's requested, it's still somewhat risky. At my former job, I was asked to give feedback during my reviews. I was always careful to talk about what my boss did very well before discussing how he could help me in my job. And this wasn't just paying lip service--I wanted to make sure he knew I thought he was a great boss and I had very few suggestions.

I agree with Klang that the boss has a job to do, and you have yours. One of my most influential mentors was not respected by some of the employees under his umbrella, but, when I started working for him directly, I discovered his skill sets, philosophies, and abilities were beyond the radar of those who judged. They were ignorant of what was actually required to do his job. I concluded that even though he was not a perfect fit for some of those who worked under him, he was a great asset to the organization.

And, I have to say, you are known and remembered by the energy you bring. If you champion process change and help/support your struggling colleagues, that is how you will be known. If you complain about your boss and add to the misery of your work culture, you will become associated with that energy.

Instead of focusing your time and energy on the negative, I always suggest to colleagues to focus on the positive, the collaborative, the creative. You can improve the culture of your workplace with the right attitudes and perspectives just as easily as you can contribute to the toxicity.

And, if you find that you cannot do that, you should move on. Life is too short to spend your professional years unhappy 40+ hours a week. It's just not worth it.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby KlangFool » Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:03 am

Dyloot wrote:
And, I have to say, you are known and remembered by the energy you bring. If you champion process change and help/support your struggling colleagues, that is how you will be known. If you complain about your boss and add to the misery of your work culture, you will become associated with that energy.



Dyloot,

And, if in spite of all you had done for the employer and you are let go, do not be bitter. It is their losses. If an employer cannot value and treasure their real performer, their days are numbered. It is time for you to go anyhow. If you are productive and effective, you will find something better.

"Success is the best revenge!" is my guiding principle.

KlangFool

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby 10YearPlan » Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:31 pm

KlangFool wrote:
10YearPlan wrote:I am not suggesting that the person should do somebody else's job. Nor am I suggesting that all bosses are open to feedback. Many (most?) aren't. Only you can know whether making suggestions for improvement will be welcome or put you on a blacklist somewhere. That said, the OP was about why we never speak badly about a boss--and I was suggesting that, as a boss myself, I'd welcome someone sharing those thoughts with me rather than them feeling helpless and sharing them with others. I'd be a little miffed if they went over my head as a first step. I am not perfect and I also don't want to lose people over something I was either not aware of in my own actions/behaviors somehow or a misconception over my behaviors/actions.


10YearPlan,

If you are the boss and you want feedback, you should actively solicit feedback. And, you have to prove to your subordinate that the feedback is appreciated. Now, if you had done all that, why would you have any problem getting feedback? If you do not get any feedback from your subordinate, there must be something wrong with you.

If you want something, you should work to make sure you get it.

KlangFool


And I do just that. Which gets back to my original point. I am not saying I am a great leader, but I know my team is happy and we regularly give/receive feedback. So, chances are someone will never feel compelled to go above my head, even when I am annoying, or they disagree, etc. So, I am good. I was trying to give advice to the OP (and anyone else who felt like they couldn't talk to their boss).

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby KlangFool » Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:44 pm

10YearPlan wrote:
And I do just that. Which gets back to my original point. I am not saying I am a great leader, but I know my team is happy and we regularly give/receive feedback. So, chances are someone will never feel compelled to go above my head, even when I am annoying, or they disagree, etc. So, I am good. I was trying to give advice to the OP (and anyone else who felt like they couldn't talk to their boss).


10YearPlan,

Why would you need to do that? If someone does not feel that they can safely give feedback to their bosses, they probably have a perfectly good and valid reason. Telling them not to worry and just give feedback is probably the wrong advice. The safe and correct advice is probably unless and until a person know that he/she is perfectly safe in giving feedback to their bosses, they might do that. Even then, it may not be a worthwhile effort. The bosses might be totally useless and powerless to change anything anyhow. So, why bother?

I was a manager for 10+ years. Most middle managers are powerless and useless to do anything useful anyhow.

KlangFool

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby Tycoon » Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:48 pm

likegarden wrote:At a very young age I learned not to complain to others about someone, also not to nod with your head when someone complains about another person, simply walk away. My mother once politely nodded, and a fight got started between neighbors.


This is great advice. I wish it didn't take me over 50 years to understand why.
...I might be just beginning | I might be near the end. Enya | | C'est la vie

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby 10YearPlan » Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:06 pm

KlangFool wrote:
10YearPlan wrote:
And I do just that. Which gets back to my original point. I am not saying I am a great leader, but I know my team is happy and we regularly give/receive feedback. So, chances are someone will never feel compelled to go above my head, even when I am annoying, or they disagree, etc. So, I am good. I was trying to give advice to the OP (and anyone else who felt like they couldn't talk to their boss).


10YearPlan,

Why would you need to do that? If someone does not feel that they can safely give feedback to their bosses, they probably have a perfectly good and valid reason. Telling them not to worry and just give feedback is probably the wrong advice. The safe and correct advice is probably unless and until a person know that he/she is perfectly safe in giving feedback to their bosses, they might do that. Even then, it may not be a worthwhile effort. The bosses might be totally useless and powerless to change anything anyhow. So, why bother?

I was a manager for 10+ years. Most middle managers are powerless and useless to do anything useful anyhow.

KlangFool


I added the appropriate disclaimers along the way, and trust that OP will not blindly follow my (or anyone else's) advice. On everything else, agree to disagree, Klang. Have a good weekend.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby 10YearPlan » Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:11 pm

randomguy wrote:
KlangFool wrote:
randomguy,

<< In my experience people that take the initiative to figure out what needs to be done and get it done even if it isn't their job are the ones getting promoted. They are far more valuable than the ones that are only concerned about their individual job. >>

Not in my 30+ years working experience. In the few years leading to my laid off, I won multiple employee recognition awards from my peers.

A) I was passed over for promotion.

B) I was laid off in lieu of people only doing far less than their job in my department.

<<Suggesting a better way of doing something? That is your job.>>

Unsolicited advice is seldom appreciated.

Chinese Proverb:

Tall Trees attract the Wind (树大招风 shù dà zhāo fēng)

Meaning: being outstanding brings adversity in itself

KlangFool

P.S.: I am not suggesting one size fits all. But, be aware of what the company says versus what it actually values. The company will always say politically correct stuff. But, who it promotes and who it lay off should tell you more about the company actual value.

Money talks, BS walks...


As I said, your experience doesn't remotely match mine. I can think of 4 projects across 3 companies where someone took the initiative, came up with a plan and a workable solutation, and were basically promoted to be in charge of the team that executed the idea. And as the project grew, they rode it to the top. And for one offs experiences, I have provided constructive criticism numerous times. Still haven't been fired.

Proverbs are great. But they are like using bible quotes. You can find one to match just about anything you want.

I have seen unsolicited advise be appreciated. I have never seen untactful advice be appreciated. Providing constructive criticism is very, very hard. Most people put up defensive walls when people push too hard. It is an art form to push enough to get your point across while not trigger that response.

That all being sad, I try not to say bad things about anyone. Criticizing ideas is one thing. People is another. There is a huge difference between "I think doing B instead of A is better because of xx" versus "B is the dumbest idea ever. Who is the idiot who thought of it".


In my 20+ year career, my experience closely matches yours. It's not all puppies and rainbows,of course, but I truly do believe that when one is able to master both giving AND receiving (constructive, helpful and actionable) feedback, it paves the way to success.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby lostdog » Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:27 pm

If you want out of the corporate culture asap live well below your means and save/invest as much income as possible. It worked for me.

If you want out but don't see any light at the end of the tunnel, change your lifestyle.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby rcjchicity » Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:45 pm

Teague wrote:
For the past few years we have received an "engagement survey" conducted by a third-party survey company, that supposedly aggregates and anonymizes our responses to questions like "do you have the resources needed to do your job" and "do you have a best friend at work."


I am quite familiar with this survey, and was always perplexed at the idea of adults somehow needing BFFs at work to be "engaged".

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby Teague » Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:50 pm

rcjchicity wrote:
Teague wrote:
For the past few years we have received an "engagement survey" conducted by a third-party survey company, that supposedly aggregates and anonymizes our responses to questions like "do you have the resources needed to do your job" and "do you have a best friend at work."


I am quite familiar with this survey, and was always perplexed at the idea of adults somehow needing BFFs at work to be "engaged".


I would tend to agree, but apparently our boss thought our responses to this and other, more reasonable questions, made him look bad. So, one thing Mr. Boss did was to explain to us that the question wasn't really asking if we had a best friend at work; rather, he explained, it meant something else altogether. An "alternative reality" if you will.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby Cruise » Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:01 pm

Soul.in.Progress wrote:
Which brings me to the question: why is it bad to say something negative about a boss?


Your question really falls under the more global heading "Why is it bad to say negative things?"

And the answer is that a person's likability is directly related to how upbeat and positive are their communications and expressed affect. Debbie Downer did not get that name by being perceived as being a fantastic person to be around.

So, when faced with a question about your boss, you could always comment on the negative, or focus on the positive" "He sure does have a sense of fashion!"

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby KlangFool » Fri Apr 21, 2017 4:08 pm

10YearPlan wrote:
KlangFool wrote:
10YearPlan wrote:
And I do just that. Which gets back to my original point. I am not saying I am a great leader, but I know my team is happy and we regularly give/receive feedback. So, chances are someone will never feel compelled to go above my head, even when I am annoying, or they disagree, etc. So, I am good. I was trying to give advice to the OP (and anyone else who felt like they couldn't talk to their boss).


10YearPlan,

Why would you need to do that? If someone does not feel that they can safely give feedback to their bosses, they probably have a perfectly good and valid reason. Telling them not to worry and just give feedback is probably the wrong advice. The safe and correct advice is probably unless and until a person know that he/she is perfectly safe in giving feedback to their bosses, they might do that. Even then, it may not be a worthwhile effort. The bosses might be totally useless and powerless to change anything anyhow. So, why bother?

I was a manager for 10+ years. Most middle managers are powerless and useless to do anything useful anyhow.

KlangFool


I added the appropriate disclaimers along the way, and trust that OP will not blindly follow my (or anyone else's) advice. On everything else, agree to disagree, Klang. Have a good weekend.


10YearPlan,

Congratulation on working in good organizations. Have a good weekend!

KlangFool

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby KlangFool » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:07 pm

http://www.asktheheadhunter.com/10546/g ... -employers

Folks,

There is a very good phrase in the URL that you could use whenever your boss asks for your feedback.

<< Here’s what to ask the employer (preferably the hiring manager):
How to Say It
“If you could change anything about your company instantly, what would you change?”
See how they handle that.>>

Ask your boss,

If you could change anything about our company instantly, what would you change?

If your boss is not willing to honestly provide you feedback, why should you?

KlangFool

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby a username for Mike » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:28 pm

GKSD wrote:
KlangFool wrote:
GKSD wrote:My opinion only and based on my experience. I assume you don't have a personal gripe with your boss and the issue is not of a sensitive nature like harassment. And that all issues are work related and you want your boss to work bit differently or you want your boss to improve in certain situations or you think your boss is dumb and knows less than you.

Saying negative about boss or anyone at work would not be perceived well - you don't want to come across as merely complaining, it will only degrade your credibility. You want to come across as being constructive - you would look good if you put recommendations and suggestions on how to fix things and enumerate clearly how those negative things are hurting the work (projects, milestones, culture etc...). The mechanics of how you would want to deliver the message and the feedback depends on the specific situation and avenues you have. Typically there is a formal feedback cycle (performance ratings) and if you are sought feedback on your boss - you can provide a detailed and constructive feedback during that. If there is no such opportunity, you would want to wait for an opportune time - like wait for next time you see the problem and use that opportunity to bring your non-personal constructive feedback on the table. If it is a public setting, the better for you - you would want to come across as constructive in front of many other people, including your bosses peers. Not to show others that your boss is dumb but to build your credibility in front many others. Do it again next time and again next time. Be positive, persistent and constructive. Focus on the merits of the message only. The odds are that message will seep in but it takes time, you don't want to suddenly rock the boat. Meanwhile continue with business as usual, keep building your credibility, what is there to loose.


GKSD,

If it is a public setting, the better for you - you would want to come across as constructive in front of many other people, including your bosses peers.

Sorry. I have to disagree. I had worked for 30+ years. I have never seen any time that it works well in a public setting. What works is the person seeded the ideas across multiple stakeholders including the boss. Then, he/she get buy-in from the boss and the department. After that, let the boss bring up the idea and he/she may clarify the idea if call upon.
KlangFool


Very glad you have worked for 30+ years. I haven't read the article but please don't over-extend and stretch the thought here in literal sense. I am not suggesting to publicly humiliate, or bring forth radical sounding, polarizing view points. That never works. The spirit of what I am suggesting is to slowly build the credibility of the viewpoint broadly, beyond the boss-personality. The mechanics of how to accomplish this cannot really be summarized - it all depends on OP's circumstances and OP would need to figure out the delicate balance and the timing.


Agreed, it's very important to balance this. It can definitely end up in a bad situation if you're aiming to humiliate someone above you, but I've also seen great progress when I've diplomatically advanced ideas, taking care to save face for those that were against it originally.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby KlangFool » Sat Apr 22, 2017 10:13 am

a username for Mike wrote:
Agreed, it's very important to balance this. It can definitely end up in a bad situation if you're aiming to humiliate someone above you, but I've also seen great progress when I've diplomatically advanced ideas, taking care to save face for those that were against it originally.



a username for Mike,

<< It can definitely end up in a bad situation if you're aiming to humiliate someone above you,>>

Please note that in a public setting, many folks are watching and listening. You may not aim to humiliate someone. But, some key people are offended anyhow.

It is always a people problem. If everyone is doing their job and they are team players, there won't be a problem. The only question is who you will be offended and whether that is sufficiently offset by people that you help. And, in some cases, people that you help may just use you as a scapegoat and peace offering to the other side. Your idea is accepted but you are sacrificed in the process.

KlangFool

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby smitcat » Sat Apr 22, 2017 5:21 pm

KlangFool....

Over many years I have been an employee for many companies.
For a number of those years I have been the boss.
And the past few years we have owned our own company.
FWIW - and for the most part your advice on this thread is 100% correct.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby KlangFool » Sat Apr 22, 2017 5:55 pm

smitcat wrote:KlangFool....

Over many years I have been an employee for many companies.
For a number of those years I have been the boss.
And the past few years we have owned our own company.
FWIW - and for the most part your advice on this thread is 100% correct.


smitcat,

I just hope that my posts help some folks.

KlangFool

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby tinscale » Sat Apr 22, 2017 6:08 pm

Image

*3!4!/5!
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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby *3!4!/5! » Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:15 pm

I know this discussion is about companies rather than countries.

But as I look around the world, I can't help noticing a general pattern that the quality of life is vastly better in countries where the citizens are more free to criticize their leaders.

There is something drastically wrong with the picture some people are painting here.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby *3!4!/5! » Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:16 pm

tinscale wrote:Image
This message is very popular with criminals.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby Dandy » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:52 am

We all like to gripe about bad bosses, co workers etc. I have done it. But, if you take a step back what positive purpose does it serve? You get a misery loves company short term benefit which doesn't make anything better going forward. What is the risk - things get worse as word gets back to your boss probably in a way that you wouldn't have said to his/her face.

If you have a complaint it is better to find a way to diplomatically address it head on, in private, in a respectful manner. That way you will be in control of the message and your issue won't be a matter of public discussion. If that is not your style or our boss wouldn't be able to handle your issue, then it would be better to keep quiet than bad mouth your boss. If your boss is doing something illegal or immoral then you might want to discuss with HR rather than a co worker.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby mirror » Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:40 am

There are two types of truly "bad" bosses : the incompetent and the malicious. Both are equally dangerous. I refuse to work for either. Life is too short. I can deal with just about any issues outside of those two.

I'm not talking about a boss that takes credit for your work or constanly dumping more work on you. I mean someone actively sabotaging your work, telling you to do something illegal/unethical, etc. Incompetent doesn't mean that it just don't agree with their plans/ideas. It means someone that can destroy a company/department because they have no idea of the effect their decisions actually have despite having access to the requisite data to make the right decision.

I have never seen or heard of any of my past or present coworkers complain about their boss and have a positive outcome. I have heard of (and seen) very negative outcomes. There is no point. If you're not happy get a new job either at a new company or in a different department . Spend every waking moment making yourself more marketable and get out asap.
There are two types of people: those that can extrapolate from incomplete data.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby Sandi_k » Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:33 pm

I have been Chief of Staff in a 50-person department for 15 years. Prior to that, I had another 15 years of additional experience. My two cents that have served me well.

Rule #1 - (from observations in employee surveys, revolts, etc.): YOU CANNOT CHANGE YOUR BOSS. If you cannot continue to work with things JUST AS THEY ARE without great dissatisfaction...get out now. The boss is there for a reason, and it frequently involves *their* boss' ego. Getting rid of your boss would indicate that they made a mistake in hiring them. and no one wants to publicly admit they hired the wrong person. Chances are that no changes will be made, yet the higher-ups will now be uncomfortable with *you*.

Rule #2 - (observation from a former boss who had managed multi-million-dollar bureaucracies, in government and the military): "People are either complexifiers or simplifiers. I want to work with staff who simplify my life as a manager." I learned that once he decided that you complicated his life...you didn't advance much. So I've made it a point to be a simplifier for my subsequent bosses, and I've done very well.

Rule #3 - never criticize your boss in public. They will never forget it, and neither will others.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby tony5412 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:54 pm

Teague wrote:OP, you may indeed feel there are "bullying, intimidation tactics, hostile environment, etc." Please understand these are not uncommon, not illegal (with very few specific exceptions for certain extreme behavior) and you are likely to encounter this sort of thing at various points in your career. If it's bad enough, it's usually just best to change jobs. Better just suck it up and get used to it.


It's amazing how how people accept the dysfunction as if it supposed to be normal. As if the hard working, well mannered person is the one with the problem and there is nothing wrong with being overbearing and rude.

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Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

Postby NDfan27 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:17 pm

tony5412 wrote:
Teague wrote:OP, you may indeed feel there are "bullying, intimidation tactics, hostile environment, etc." Please understand these are not uncommon, not illegal (with very few specific exceptions for certain extreme behavior) and you are likely to encounter this sort of thing at various points in your career. If it's bad enough, it's usually just best to change jobs. Better just suck it up and get used to it.


It's amazing how how people accept the dysfunction as if it supposed to be normal. As if the hard working, well mannered person is the one with the problem and there is nothing wrong with being overbearing and rude.


In the real world, David rarely beats Goliath. It's better to approach things in a manner that isn't contrary your own self interests... Seeking out other jobs is a great solution for remedying the situation. You not only remove yourself from a bad situation but also open the door for advancement opportunities and increases in pay and you might also send a message to higher ups in your current company that the work environment needs improvement. It's better to leave as a valuable employee rather than a cancer that needs to be removed (aka fired).

If you like your job or don't have other opportunities readily available, then there are other ways of improving your situation. But publicly calling out the faults of a superior will almost never turn out in your favor and even approaching the subject in private requires a great deal of tact. Most of the posts in this thread aren't defending overbearing or hostile bosses. They're just pointing out that it's important to understand the potential consequences of your actions.


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