Do you have a crazy boss? Do the masters and mistresses of your universe give you assignments that make no sense? When they doubt your competence, do you doubt their sanity? Can you imagine your supervisors sitting at their desks, drooling and babbling incoherently? And would that be a big improvement from what occurs every day in team meetings?
Yes, we’ve all had crazy bosses. Some of us have even been crazy bosses, but that doesn’t make it any easier when a new head case arrives on the scene and suddenly you find yourself reporting to a person who should be reported to the mental health authorities.
However scary this prospect may seem to you, it is completely beyond the radar of Huffington Post blogger Brian de Haaff, who recently put up a post titled, “The One Thing That is Driving Your Boss Crazy.”
De Haaff’s thesis claims that if your boss is acting crazy, it is a condition diagnosed by symptoms such as: “she barely said hello to you before retreating to her office. And she closed the door, which she never does,” which he sums up to explain that the person responsible for this erratic behavior is probably y-o-u. And if you cannot think of a single thing you have done wrong, he suggests a rigorous self-examination of your recent actions and inactions.
“Could it be that several weeks ago you missed a key deadline?” he wants you to ask yourself. “Then maybe you let another light verbal commitment slip last week. Did you get a funny feeling inside – a guilty little feeling that you did wrong?”
This is a difficult question for you to answer. You get ” a guilty little feeling that you did wrong” every morning when you walk in the front door.
In his article, de Haaff comes up with a number of suggestions as to how you could repair the damage you have done to the boss’s psyche. My own tendency in such matters is to do the opposite. After all, the problem you have is not that your boss is crazy. Your problem is that your boss is not crazy enough!
A true maniac would not notice all the mistakes you make at work. A real coo-coo bird would not realize that you barely work at all. That’s the kind of crazy you want at the helm.
Fortunately, you have been given a road map to making management totally mental. All you have to do is read Brian de Haaff’s recommendations for making your boss saner, and do the exact opposite.
Let’s start now!
One thing that seems to set bosses off is if you appear to be aimless. Apparently, “successful people have a strategy and establish what they want to accomplish. If your boss does not have goals for you, maybe it is time you set some for yourself.”
This makes perfect sense. Why not immediately tell your boss that, starting today, your goal is to do the least amount of productive work for the most days without being fired. [You would impress your boss by saying that you are depending on his expertise in this matter, since he is still employed and yet it is obvious to everyone in the company that he does absolutely nothing.]
Another way to drive your boss bonkers is to be arrogant, which de Haaff defines as “when you fail to quickly respond to requests, you give the impression that your work is more important than theirs.”
“This is probably not the message you want to convey,” de Haaff says, but in your case, he is very wrong. Of course, you are much more important than your boss, and anything you do – or don’t do – is the top priority for everyone in the office. This doesn’t mean you have to be arrogant, however. Simply explain to your boss that you have heard their requests and will respond when you have time to give a damn. Until then, don’t bug you.
Being apathetic is another way you can drive your boss crazy, because “she cannot wait around for you to get back to her with answers.”
Increasing the level of your apathy might be a smart move, but I doubt even a gifted slacker like you could possibly be more apathetic than you already are.
The bottom line: you can put in a lot more work in making your bosses even crazier than they are now, or you can just be yourself. It’s always worked in the past.
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at firstname.lastname@example.org.