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ON THE JOB : HAVING A BOSSY BOSS DOESN'T MEAN THE END OF THE UNIVERSE.

Byline: L.M. Sixel Houston Chronicle

In the wide scheme of things, a bossy boss isn't the worst thing in the world. Unless you've got one.

Then you stew over seemingly little slights, brood about the next time you'll have to deal with your boss, and fantasize about how you can exact revenge.

``It's a real problem in the workplace,'' said Scott Lyman, assistant professor of management at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Bossy bosses create a lot of worker anxiety, because everyone is afraid of being micromanaged. After money and tangible benefits, employees want respect at work, he said. They want freedom to decide how to do their work. It's important for their self-esteem.

Bosses used to know everything that went on, said Scott Adams, who draws the popular ``Dilbert'' cartoon about the workplace. But work has become so complicated that bosses often don't know what their underlings do anymore.

But bosses feel they have to manage - they've got to do something with their time - so they become immersed in tiny details, said Adams, who is coming out with a new book, ``Dogbert's Top Secret Management Handbook,'' next month.

For example, bosses may become fascinated with the details of document preparation, changing the way paragraphs are indented or insisting that they be limited to just one page, he said.

Bossy bosses are not necessarily bad, said Fred Jablin, professor of leadership studies at the University of Richmond in Virginia. When people are faced with a high level of uncertainty, they like direction.

Soldiers, for example, don't want to vote in the battlefield on which way to go, Jablin said. They want a leader, someone who inspires confidence. But assuming you're not on the battlefield, there are ways to get around a heavy-handed boss.

Try to get your boss to be concrete about expectations, Lyman suggested. When you get an assignment, make sure you understand all the components.

If the parameters are set from the beginning, it will be harder for the boss to boss you around. Some people boss others around, because they're control freaks. They want to be involved in everything. Sometimes, a bossy boss has lost control over another part of his life - say, his marriage - so he controls what he can to make up for it.

Kathleen Kelley learned how to manage her former boss by trying to anticipate what the boss would demand. Kelley, who worked as the senior human resources representative for a government contractor in Houston, figured if her boss got more confidence in her and realized she could make her look good, the boss wouldn't feel she had to control her.
COPYRIGHT 1996 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
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Title Annotation:BUSINESS
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 30, 1996
Words:440
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