Monday, 14 September 2015

Divide and conquer with the bully boss

The middle aged female bully boss likes to surround herself with young males in the early or mid 20s.  She loves the attention they give each other, while the junior colleagues cannot reach her the water in terms of achievements and have one thing I do not: a penis.  I mean it.  The bully boss does not like other women, which has become more than obvious.  I am yet to figure out what triggers this, but it is easy to tell how she reacts having other women near her: she throws them under the bus, badmouths them, intimidates them and gives them the cold shoulder.  When with other women the bully boss has to have her way and will do anything to get this.

Today she surrounded herself with four junior colleagues, three males and one female, and started gossiping about the leader. Two of them are her direct reports.  She disclosed information from a meeting with the leader and other line managers, while at the same time discounting what the leader said in that meeting.  The young colleagues all agreed with her and I wish them that one day they will be independent and strong enough to have their own opinion.

Those young people must have felt part of the club chatting about this stuff with a senior person.  What they do not know is that the recent organizational changes have, in fact, meant the demotion of the bully boss and that she has lost credibility amongst other seniors.  She excels as an individual contributor and has brought in a lot of money for the company, but the lacks situational awareness nor does she understand her responsibilities as a manager.  The be friends with her is not something I would aim for, but I may be biased here.

Monday, 7 September 2015

The bully still behave as if she was my boss.  The situation has been this:

Every monday the bully boss held a team meeting - this was started long time ago - without an agenda any kind of structure.  Sometimes she would ask me what I am working on, or would want to know some detail of my work rather than providing the big picture, the framework.  Nothing ever came out of these meetings nor did the bully boss remember anything I said.  Quite often she would ask me the same questions repeatedly in different Monday meetings.

Some weeks ago the bully boss had authority removed and the leader (her boss and now also mine) took over the monday meetings.  He would go around and give everyone the chance to speak briefly to address any concerns or burning issues.  If critical the leader would follow up on some items.  Now, sometimes the leader is not here, so he has asked the bully boss to hold these meetings on his behalf.

It is not that the bully boss has learned how to hold a constructive meeting since the leader took over.

As soon as it started she asked me:

Bully boss (BB): So, target, what are you working on at the moment?
Me: Just the usual stuff (I don't report to her after all)
BB: So, have you got your project finished?
Me: Yes, we finished last week.
BB: When does it go live?
Me: In September (how many times I have I said this before???)
BB (trying to find other munition): So, what about your trip to Brazil?
Me: Yes, I'm going to Brazil.
BB: When are you going?
Me: I am going in October.
BB: Who are you meeting?
Me: We are setting up meetings at the moment.
BB: And who are you meeting? Are you getting help from this other lady?
Me: I am working on it with 'this other lady' and the leader.  If you are interested I can share with you the agenda when it is finalised.

BB looked visibly confused not being used to boundary setting.  Instead of focusing on important things that need to be addressed rather urgently, she randomly picks subjects and wants full reporting on them.  It's not that the leader is on annual leave, he is just not in the office but working, and there just is no need for her to try and get detailed reporting from me about an upcoming business trip, especially when the leader, my boss, is available otherwise, just not physically.  This as example my seem trivial on its own, but it was a pattern until not long ago.  It is a way to control other peoples work.  How I know that?  Well, the bully boss has not been constructive in bringing up the subject and her asking.  She has not come up with any ideas or constructive feedback - she just felt she is entitled to be kept in the loop for whatever reason and that I am obliged to answer. Maybe she needed to feel in authority, I don't know, but her asking was not leading a team nor did she represent the leader in his absence.

When I gave here the final answer, she was seeking approval from two junior team members.  You know when one looks at another like 'Are you thinking what I am thinking?'.  She needed them to agree that I am acting in a weird way, apparently, because I did not oblige.