Check out this week's top solutions for how to deal with a tough boss. As part of the Touchdown with a Bad Boss contest, each week from now until September 1, we will be spotlighting three top solutions we've received on how employees handled a tough boss. E-mail your story to firstname.lastname@example.org. At the end of the contest, voting will begin to determine which solution is the best. The person who receives the most votes will win the grand prize. Tell us your story today and the winner could be you!
Walk a Mile in My Shoes
When Patricia was 18 she was a waitress at a truck stop in Wyoming. The dress code required heels but Patricia had broken her foot in the past and heels were not the easiest thing to wear all day. After wearing heels for a couple of weeks she realized this wouldn’t work for her feet long term. Patricia proposed the idea to the boss that he wear heels for two hours and if his feet didn’t hurt afterward she’d continue with the dress code, but if he discovered otherwise, the dress code would be changed. After the two hours were up he asked the ladies, “How in the world do you work in these things?” That day the boss changed the rules to allow clean white tennis shoes for the waitresses. The whole team had fun watching the boss try to work in heels and everyone was happy with the outcome. This experience was nearly thirty years ago, and Patricia learned that when your boss makes a request sometimes it’s okay to ask them to take a walk in your shoes while you tackle the job together. As Patricia said, “Some bosses have never had to do what you do, and do not really how know hard the job is.” Patricia has used these moments in her career to find better ways to do things and has demonstrated the positive impact change can bring.
One evening after a long day of work, Christopher was asked by his manager at a national TV rental company to repossess a 19-inch TV on his way home. When Christopher pulled up at the customer’s house, he saw that the house was surrounded by a SWAT team, and a team of paramedics. As he climbed out of his van, he stopped a paramedic and asked if he could slip inside and repossess the TV. But, the paramedic said it wasn’t a good idea since the customer had just been killed in a domestic dispute. So, Christopher called his boss and told him the situation. His boss ordered him to get the TV again, but this time Christopher was turned away by a police officer. His boss was furious that Christopher came away empty-handed. This was just one example of his boss’ unbending attitude. Christopher stayed focused on diligently doing his job and going above and beyond what was expected of him. Eventually, his boss left the company and Christopher was promoted to manager.
Ken had to learn real fast how to deal with his quick-tempered new boss. Not long after being promoted to an afternoon shift, front-line supervisor, Ken was in his office preparing for work when he glanced out his window and saw his boss on the department floor frantically waving like he was trying to land an airplane. When Ken rushed down to see what the problem was, his manger pointed to a brand new pounds-per-square-inch gauge lying on the ground, and he demanded to know where it came from. Since it was not a cheap piece of equipment, Ken wondered how he could explain it being on the ground. But, before he had a chance to explain, his boss shouted, “I want to know right now where that came from!” Ken calmly picked up the gauge, turned it over, and read aloud from the manufacturing stamp, “Green Bay, Wisconsin!” At first his boss was speechless, but after a minute he smiled and nicely asked, “Can you make sure it gets put away, please?” From that day on, he treated Ken with respect and realized that there are better ways than anger to get the job done.
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