Chain of command

My micromanaging boss drives me crazy. I was promoted to supervisor of a large staff last year. I am quite capable of handling this position. My boss says she agrees, but she acts otherwise. She regularly assigns tasks to my staff without telling me. At times, these tasks have been related to new projects that I have not been briefed on, so my employees are informed, but I’m not. I thought that if I pointed out the problem when it occurred, my boss would get it. Her behavior has not changed at all. Recently, she sent my employees an e-mail (she copied me on it) assigning them work on a new project and instructing them to report directly to her. She never discussed this with me. I e-mailed her back and asked that she e-mail only me and allow me to assign the tasks to my staff and handle reports. After a few e-mails back and forth, she agreed. Then, in a staff meeting, she brought up the project assignments and told everyone to report directly to her. Finally, she saw me and said, “Oh yeah, keep Cindy informed, too.” How can I get my boss to respect the chain of command?

Employ the chain of command to your advantage. Document each breach that your boss created and then ask for a meeting with her boss. Present the document to that person and explain the problems as factually and unemotionally as possible. Do not behave as if your boss is doing this because she doesn’t like you or trust you. Stick to the facts. Ask for intervention via a meeting between the three of you to clarify the company flow chart and individual areas of responsibility. At the end of that meeting, set another appointment, seven weeks later, to determine progress on the problems. If your boss dismisses the need for a follow-up meeting, be firm. Without following up, it will be easy for her to slip into old habits. Remind her that respecting the management structure of the company benefits all employees.

Of course, there is also a deeper issue to explore here. How do you feel about secrets? What is your reaction to being the last to know? What emotions arise when you discover that your boss behaves as if you do not exist? How do you feel about boundaries and having to fight for what you think should be yours? Investigate your life, searching for other times when you were the odd girl out. Acknowledge how you contribute to the problem and take steps to change. Healing your past will shift your present reality in positive and unexpected ways.

I started flirting with a new guy who makes deliveries to the office where I work. He’s cute, but after a few dates I realized that he’s weird and boring. He’s interested in me, but I don’t want to go out again. I feel awkward because I see him at work every week. What can I say to make sure that he understands but doesn’t get his feelings hurt? I still have to see him at work.

How about the truth? If he asks you out again, tell him that you realize you’re not interested in continuing toward a romantic relationship, but you’ll continue to enjoy seeing him at work. And, next time, think twice about dating people you work with. It could jeopardize your job. If you’re interested in dating a co-worker or delivery person, get to know them as friends within the context of the workday. That will give you the insight to know whether a relationship is worth risking your source of income.

Meditation of the Week

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!” Is your measure of success humanitarian or materialistic?