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Skills for partner to deal with incompetent bosses

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

My partner works as a software manager. It is a project based industry and software is one of those things where one can't see the progress. Projects regularly fail, go over budget because product managers have wrong requirements or are continually changing requirements. The computer programmers always get blamed when things are late, wrong.

In the last 10 years my partner has worked for 5 different companies. One went under, one was bought, and twice he was let go. Recently he has a new, incompetent boss who was recently thrown out of a large company.

My partner is very honest, a good programmer and went into management because he knew he could treat people better and get better software out of them. People he manages for the most part like him, respect him. However he runs into problems when he has super aggressive bosses or backstabbing employees. He doesn't seem to know how to fight back, stand up to people. For example, at a previous company he had an employee who would leave for long time spans in the middle of the day. My partner spoke to the employee about this right before went on vacation. The following day the employee went to his boss and said my partner was incompetent. When my partner's boss told him this, he didn't say anything. He is not always quick to think on his feet and was shocked that someone would do this. I told him he should go back and tell his boss that it's interesting that this employee would say that the day after he disciplined him for only working part days. My partner wouldn't and from that day on this boss treated him very poorly, was very aggressive/demanding and seemed to be demanding that my partner himself. Needless to say my partner was very stressed and it brought tons of stress in the house. My partner looked for another job, but again he is not a person who sells his way into jobs well. He is too honest, doesn't embellish well and almost seems to wait for a job to fall into his lap.

I know the software industry is known for lots of turnover, but my partner's job history seems to have been like this long before I met him. We no longer live in the US where incompetent managers who like to fire seem to be more common; but I can't help but wonder if he needs some skills or something to deal with aggressive/backstabbing employees/bosses.

The only thing I can think of is non violent communication.

Anyone have any suggestions of programs to learn skills to deal with these kinds of people.

He said it was far worse when he was a programmer.

It is very stressful and hard to deal with this revolving instability. It has taken a big toll on my health

post #2 of 7

I feel for your Partner.  It is really tough.  I think you are looking for more of a business type class or maybe life skills classes for help... I liked this book while working for a less than idea boss, plus it made me smile. 




I have been out of the workforce awhile since DS, I do not have too much to offer. 

post #3 of 7

I have worked for and with my fair share of A-holes, a lot of them a lot like what your have described,..who knew education and technology could have so much in common?


I think CNVC.org can start with some great workbooks and tips on how to co mmunicate more effectively and get needs met more rapidly, but my biggest tip is to be assertive.


I too am typically very honest, especially at work, and I cannot stand liars and cheats.  I have two staff members who are virtually pathological liars and one manager who I cannot tell yet (he is new) whether he thinks I am stupid or if he genuinely believes the lies he tells.  I actually never knew how dishonest people could be until I started working with these folks.  It's enough to make me want to scream.  I try to remind myself that they are flawed, and that they merely need to know that I am not buying the BS they are selling.


I confront them head on, calmly and matter of factly and let them know I know and will not be pushed around, but in a way that lets them save face.


This has taken years of practice to get just right and sometimes I still get it wrong, and I definitely still bring my stress home, but my training in NVC definitely helps a lot!


I have such sympathy for your partner...it's not easy working with dingbats and jerkwads and unfortunately the world is full of them.

post #4 of 7

These are useful suggestions for me too as I am in a similar boat

Edited by westcoastmom - 9/3/12 at 1:48am
post #5 of 7

I think the best thing to do is to document.  In the case of the employee he spoke with he could have written down that he spoke with the employee what it was about.  Out of fairness he could have requested the employee to sign.  Most companies have these policies in place already.  Then when the employee went and complained your partner could have produced the letter and be done with it.  He wouldn't have to say much just something like "this might be what is bothering the employee".


Having documentation gives you a leg to stand on the in the management world.  Employees will band together and dislike you just because.  Half the time you're just the messenger and still get treated like crap. 

post #6 of 7

That's actually really good advice.  Any time I give an official verbal warning we have to run the paper work and file it with HR.


Those policies are there to protect management.  Tell him to speak to HR and see what is in place and if there is nothing he should suggest they come up with something.

post #7 of 7

Wait... is Jungle Jane also Westcoastmama? 

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