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Boss is a coward

Sally wrote:

A year and a half ago I started a new job, the branch had just been opened so we were all new. The boss is great, really open and friendly, but when things started to turn sour with a coworker we all saw the real side of the boss.

The boss is a lovely guy but a real coward, I get the impression his weak point is that he needs people to "like" him. This has come out with problems within our team, naturally there are "bad" elements, people who aren't very efficient or can't work as a team.

One person could be described as just plain incompetant (hey, we all hold this belief at work - I'm not being nasty!) But the boss doesn't seem to have the guts to do anything about it, I mean he doesn't have to fire that person, he could be like a boss and put a little pressure on, or get him some kind of training or something.

Conflicts have arisen due to the difficulties with this coworker, but the boss refuses to intervene, he has even preferred to degrade people instead of facing up to the situation! One coworker has left, she said her esteem for the boss had just become too low to maintain a healthy relationship.

I've thought a lot about this, it's true that a nasty boss is much worse, and that I'm having to take on so many responsabilities that just don't come into my job normally, so I am learning a lot. BUT it's a pain! I can't stand seeing the boss so unsure of himself, that nervous laugh! Argh! And it's up to him to sort out conflicts within the team surely?!?

So has anyone else had this kind of problem? What can I do about working with my difficult coworker? Should I massage the boss's ego? Should I look for another job? The problem is this one is so well paid!

Dear Sallly

If the job is worth hanging on to, there are several things you might consider:

1. Try and sort the problem - encourage the co-worker to ask for help. If everyone agrees on the problem, then get them to help with the solution - after all, you all gain if it works.

2. Let the boss know how you all feel; be clear it's not victimization, be clear that you all agree and will stand together.

3. Go to the boss's boss.

Personally, I'd go for No. 1, if there's any chance of success. If all else fails, consider number 4:

4. If the co-worker is actually evil, or incapable of co-operating due his personality, then you all make it clear that he is not welcome. Be careful here - if you are not right about him, you could be in far worse than you are now.

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