Blog #14: How to handle a Bad Boss
So Al was increasingly hard to deal with, he was not very nice to the team when he came to the store. He would be verbally abusive to myself and the team when things weren’t up to his expectations. He would go off on a tangent when we would stray from corporate displays which Alicia prided herself on improving the look. Some companies like the look of a Planogram so all the stores looked exactly the same. One day, Alicia got fed up and quit. She told me she wanted to spend more time with her family anyways. I really liked her, she was part of our little family.
Clem was a huge help in dealing with Al’s bad behavior. With his experience he helped craft the “game plan” of making sure things were looking good for the visit. I noticed the hot spots for Al when he came to the store, so before each visit I made sure each employee took one of the hotspots and dialed it out. I also made sure the employees were very engaged with the customers, so he couldn’t interrupt them with mean quips to make himself feel better about being in charge. This worked perfectly the next visit. “Bubba, this store is humming” he said, “nice job”. When dealing with Bad managers you have to figure out the “why”. What is it that sets them off and why are they acting this way. It could be stress from upper management or maybe this Manager is a perfectionist without the people skills to convey a positive message. In Al’s case it was both, he was getting a lot of pressure from corporate and he had weak people skills.
My new game plan was to try to help him manage his stress. I asked questions like I was trying to learn as much as I could and determined I was correct about corporate adding to his stress. I’d say “ if they are getting on you for these things, let’s make sure the stores are focused on the solutions”. He would say “sounds good in theory, Bubba but not all my store managers are focused like you”. Wow, finally a compliment. I think I figured out what made him tick. I think I can work with this.
Clem got a call he was promoted to Store Manager of the Lawndale store. We were all very happy for him but sad to see our friend go. “I’ll be down the street, so we can talk frequently”. He was a good man and I learned a lot from him too.
A week later corporate called to inform me that Al was let go and the region would have to run without a DM for awhile. Clem and I worked pretty closely bouncing ideas off each other, since Al was now gone and we got through it.
It’s funny how much better the moral of the crew was after he was terminated. It’s too bad Alicia left when she did. I called her to let her know Al was gone but she said she already had settled in to her new life with her family and was content.
Susan had to leave soon after because her boyfriend was getting increasingly jealous, so we ended up hiring Becky’s brother Ron to replace Alicia and Ron’s friend Jerry to replace Susan. Things went pretty well for the next six months. Little did we know what was coming up next…
Tip: So many times people quit bad bosses. If you are in this situation which most people experience at some point in their career, you have to have a game plan to deal with it. This is another case of focusing on the solution, not the problem as we discussed in Blog#7. People like to be acknowledged in a positive way and don’t really mind constructive criticism if it helps them grow. A constant barrage of negative comments doesn’t do anybody any good. Figuring out what makes a Bad boss tick is the first step.
…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career.
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