Saturday, March 14, 2009

10 Tips on How to Handle a Bad Boss

Good bosses are far and few between and most people are caught off guard when they have a bad boss and are placed in a stressful situation. People are very complex and the mix of culture, beliefs and past experiences contribute to what they view as acceptable. The more diverse the workforce becomes, the more difficult it becomes to respond appropriately. So how should you handle these situations? Here are some possible solutions to ponder.

1. Resign/ Look for another Job – I am sure you did not expect to see this on the list but there are times when resigning is appropriate. If you are placed in a position to do something illegal or completely unethical to the point that you cannot sleep at night, please do consider it. If you have the means and know there will be serious problems, please do not stay to make everyone else on the team feel uncomfortable. Work should never be a reality show.

For most people the boss is not that bad and the situation is manageable. If it feels unmanageable but you must stay in the position, here are some solutions to consider.

2. Error on the professional side- Do not speak ill of the boss to your co-workers since you do not know what will get back to them and make things worse. Be on time and deliver on time.

3. Concentrate on your work-Do your job well. Research your field and think of innovative ways to find solutions. I have seen people just not ”feel it” anymore and stop working only making matters worse.

4. Ask for feedback- If you sense something is wrong and do not know what, ask for feedback. This can help identify if there is anything you can work on and concentrate on it. It is a good way to start a conversation on the positive note, instead of asking “is anything wrong?”

5. Demand respect – If you are placed in a situation that you have been disrespected, it is best to identify it as it happens and respond professionally. This means not attacking the other person, but bringing it to light. This does not mean bring everything up that bothers you, but lightly ask for clarification and respond with your intent of the situation in a positive manner.

6. Try to look at things from their point of view- This will help with cultural issues that may be leading to miscommunication and may require you getting to know your boss more.

7. Look for committees to join- Joining additional committees at work will allow you to essentially escape some from the day to day torture and may open other doors. It will work in your favor to have worked with other people who can vouch for your work.

8. Build your support network outside of work- Call your mom, sibling, or friends to discuss the dirty laundry. Do not do it at work.

9. Leverage your corporate mentor – You only have a limited amount of political capital so use it wisely. If your mentor can pull some strings and get you out of the situation, you may want to use the help. Just getting some tips on the situation may also help, but be careful because you do not want to whine and insult.

10. Network- Most likely other people have also figured out that your boss is not good. Do not let the only association people have of you be linked to your bad boss. Get out of their shadow and make your own positive impressions.

Having a bad boss, in my opinion, can be a good learning experience as long as you analyze what happened to ensure you do not emulate some of the behaviors when you are the boss. Creating a good work environment for your co-workers and employees will always be highly valued in the work force.

Friday, March 13, 2009

How to get clients or customers to spend today versus tomorrow given the current climate?

Answer the Need Question and Solve the Buying Anxiety Issue

A big question that many people are asking is how to get clients or customers to spend today versus tomorrow given the current climate? I believe we are seeing a shift is values and everyone from the consumer to the corporation is struggling to identify what they should spend money on versus what is frivolous spending. Given that the country got in this situation due in part to the overconsumption mentality, it makes sense that consumers are re-evaluating their spending. Similarly, since companies are being scrutinized for their spending while asking for handouts, it makes sense that all companies are taking a hard look at how they spend their dollars. Presenting services and products in ways that has worked in the past may not work in the new environment. In the past people wanted to know more about the product and were more open to wow factors. Now, a company that can prove why their product or service is needed or helps solve the anxiety they have against buying it now will succeed. This will require a strong understanding of the customer and identifying their new values. Possible tools could be a re-look at the segmentation and identifying shifts as well as reaching out to customers to identify their current goals through surveys and conversations. Anything that helps identify the “need or anxiety to purchase” factor will be helpful so that you can better explain how your product and/or services solve their issues. This will help convey the proper message in sales pitches and marketing programs. During these times, we have seen the reaction of shifting to cheaper options. The does not mean the answer is to be the lowest cost provider, but if your customers need it as part of the solution, it would be important to add value options to the mix. For example, look at Hyundai Canada. While other companies are doing poorly, they are having their best year with a mix of quality, dependability, value, and financing. They get the mix their customers want. Also, if the main concern holding back your customers from buying is that they may lose their income, you may want to take a lesson from Hyundai again and provide a guarantee or return option. Hyundai has the ”return your car if you lose your job” promotion and when comparing Hyundai versus other car companies, sales are flat when everyone else is down 40-50%. They get the anxiety and have an answer. So remember, answer the need question and solve the buying anxiety issue.