How do you handle a boss that leads by directive?

There are bosses who will strut around and issue directives. They have a huge fear of people and rely upon their dictatorial manner instead of learning how to make requests of others. Fearful leaders often make poor decisions because they are not open to others’ input and fail to learn how to talk with and through others to bridge gaps in ideas and create workable, practical solutions. As the employee or part of the executive team, help avoid troubling edicts by meeting the boss more than halfway. Provide ample facts and human solutions to persuade the decisions toward a more appropriate outcome.

(c)Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

What have you effectively done to work with a dictatorial boss?

Don’t be afraid to “push into” a conversation.

Many times we fail to ask the right questions. Even worse, we fail to listen for the true answers. Don’t be afraid to ask good questions before making decisions and probe to ensure you are on the same page with your employees, clients and bosses. Push into the conversation by asking the questions people are afraid to ask for fear that someone will get upset or be non-responsive. A good way to handle potential conflict is to let people know before asking a question that they may not like what you’re about to ask! That approach will usually deflect negativity and open up the conversation.

(c)Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

Fearful Bosses

Many bosses today have become fearful of losing their jobs and being unable to find equivalent or better ones. They spend more time manipulating others’ perceptions of their worth in order to keep their jobs than achieving the required results. Their lack of commitment to the company, its employees, customers, and communities usually turns their fears into the reality of becoming unemployed! As a boss, remember that if employees are not doing their work, it’s a reflection of your management style. If you are not achieving the results, you are not taking the right, focused action steps. If you are blaming others for your challenges, you are probably not in the right job! Get help now! Hire a coach and develop clarity to do the right work.  

(c)Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

Are you a trustworthy boss?

I recently received a call from a new boss who wanted to know what type of “penalties” he should apply because his employees were not responding to his emails fast enough.

The more important question would be why are they not responding? Are they unclear about his request and timeline? Are they incredibly busy handling his clients’ needs? Does he have a bad tendency to make all his requests “Urgent?” Although his employees might not see his management style as autocratic now, it won’t take long for them to stop trusting him if he relies upon “threats” to get the job done.

The bottom line is that in order to build a company of loyal employees, you need to create a level of trust between you and each of your employees. Continually threatening people with loss of jobs, perks, or being written up, will only cause them to lose their trust in you. It’s hard for employees to do their work when they are fearful.

Emails. If you need to send additional requests, mark them “Second Request,” THIRD Request,” or FOURTH REQUEST at the beginning of the subject line. If it is Urgent, do the same. However, don’t use these terms often or they lose their attention grabbing effect. Normally give them at least 24 to 48 hours to respond. If it’s not urgent, provide a suggested “due date” for their response.

Pick Up the Phone. If it is truly urgent or complicated, or you don’t have strong writing skills, call them. Person-to-person dialogue often prevents misunderstandings. It’s your responsibility as the boss to exercise persuasive listening skills to ensure your employees understand what you are requesting.

Quality of Work. If someone does not have the skills to do the work, simply sending it back along with an implied or even overt threat will not get you the quality of work required. Take time and walk them through exactly what you need, and the format you need it in (e.g., Word, Excel, numbers, graphs, columns, etc.). Keep your requirements simple if someone is developing their skills.

A woman with specialized technical skills was hired by a company to help them avoid lawsuits. However, her manner of interacting with the management team had them failing to respond to her demands. Instead of her boss talking with her and offering her guidance, he simply waited until the lawsuit had been averted and fired her!

Coaching. Simply getting what you need from someone and firing them without warning only compels others not trust you or your leadership style. If someone needs help to improve interpersonal, management and/or project skills, provide them with the necessary training. Arrange for their own coach (from outside the company) to help them excel in their current position or as they move through a necessary job transition.

Bottom line? When people are not responding in a respectful manner and are busy taking copious notes, there is no trust. Work with your business advisor and take an objective look.  What do you need to transform in your approach and management style to be a leader who elicits trust, a leader others want to follow.

(c)Jeannette L. Seibly, 2012

Your Career as a Leader is at Risk!

“About 40% of executives who change jobs or get promoted fail in the first 18 months.” New Job? Get a Head Start Now, February 17, 2012, Fortune, written by Anne Fisher


More than ever, great leadership skills are required of executives, in both the private sector as business owners and in the C-suite of large public corporations. Failure to acquire these skills is a critical error. You can’t force others to become loyal and trusting followers. If you have no one to lead you’ll get fired!  It takes concerted effort on your part, each and every day, to balance the requirements of your company’s needs while supporting your employees abilities to thrive. You’re only as great as your employees’ results!

Stay Ahead. Today, companies are promoting record numbers of people who lack the required management skills or essential interest in being the boss. Not surprisingly, many executives are fired because they are unable to effectively lead their teams and deliver the results. Regardless of the leader’s level of expertise, create a 30-60-90-180 day plan with specific results, projects and training required. Consider including one community involvement activity or on-site customer visit. Keep it simple in design to ensure time to practice and learn.

Clear Focus. Employees readily accept advancement into leadership roles due to better title, corner office and compensation. If it’s solely for the power trip, the “me” focus is a serious problem that leads to failure! A strong leader takes care of her/his people by first being committed to the organization in thought and action. They are more committed to everyone getting a paycheck, than just getting their own!

Be Resourceful. Too often you hear a common complaint, “I don’t have what I need to get the job done.” “I don’t have the budget to do what I want to do.” These are excuses that get in the way of being successful. Learn to ask the right questions of others, and implement ideas appropriately. Some of our most treasured successes began with the innovation born from not having enough (obvious) resources!

Cultivate Trust. If no one trusts you, they may still follow your lead; albeit very reluctantly. They may unconsciously sabotage your efforts and nitpick your manner. Building trust takes time. Work with your business advisor to develop true confidence in yourself and your decision making skills. Then, develop a plan to resolve the previously created issues with your employees. (Visit:

Strength/Weakness. Every strength has a potential weakness. Likewise, every weakness has a positive strength. Take a qualified assessment to learn how to navigate these paradoxes with your business advisor. Also, participate in a qualified 360-degree assessment to fine-you’re your effectiveness (See:

Invest in Self.  Many times we falsely believe we’ve reached the pinnacle of our success and have nothing new to learn! Strong leaders engage in ongoing education and remain open to improvement. Strong leaders hire business advisors to help with strategic building of their companies and handling nuances inherent in tactical implementation. These same leaders participate in technical training to better appreciate the challenges their employees may have. New awareness brings about new opportunities. You’re never too old to learn something new; you’ll never be too smart with nothing new to learn!

©Jeannette Seibly, 2012

Learn How to Work Well with Bad Bosses

I recently received an article in my Inbox from a business associate’s employee. It was about bosses being difficult (a nicer title than the actual one sent to me!). I, myself, have worked for bosses who truly understood the technical aspects of the job and industry, but did not know how to manage. I learned a lot from them. I’ve also worked for a couple who received their job title for reasons unknown. And I learned how to work with them to achieve needed results, too. In any company, there will be bosses who earn their title, while others happen to be in the right place at the wrong time. These bad bosses often exhibit poor communication styles, lack of organization or project skills and show favoritism.

The goal? It’s your job to learn how to work well with them in order to receive your paychecks, acquire job expertise, and support your own career aspirations. A career lesson to be learned. Otherwise, there’s an excellent chance your next boss will be the same with a different name!

A true story: a client was disparaging his boss, and his actions. He believed his co-workers felt the same way. One example was how this difficult boss distributed quarterly bonuses after completion of a major project. As his coach, I recommended he talk with the boss and clear up any misunderstandings. He did so very reluctantly and was happily amazed by the outcome! Not only did his boss stop sharpening the pencil, my client became known for his ability to work well with a difficult person. Other employees came to him for advice when dealing with this boss, and others. The President of the company acknowledged his executive growth and promised new opportunities in the future.

Hire your boss a coach. Obviously, this needs to be accomplished very diplomatically. Most bad bosses do not know another way to behave. They hate people challenges due to a lack of logic. They may become emotionally inept at handling these issues because of their own need to be liked. Maybe your boss takes the job more seriously, believes you and your co-workers should too, and is simply more demanding than others as a result. A good coach will help the boss see him- or herself objectively, develop more effective ways of interacting with others and develop people or project management skills to get results.

Eye of the Beholder. While you can always find others who will agree with your assessment of how bad the boss is, look for others who have a different perspective about the things your boss is doing well. Listen to them. Maybe s/he is fair in bonus distribution and allocating OT. Perhaps s/he offers great ideas and ensures you receive the credit for implementation. When dealing with more controversial concerns, handle the roadblocks provided by your boss in an assertive manner to resolve customer or project difficulties. Remember, your boss (and others) may find productive disagreements helpful and getting to the source of excuses beneficial in order to achieve required results consistently. Needing to be liked or overly nice does not equate with being effective.

It’s a process, not an event. It is natural for employees to expect an immediate difference and readily noticeable changes when a boss is advised of deficiencies. The reality? Bad habits take time to correct, regardless. For example, how long does it take someone to quit smoking cigarettes? It takes most people more than a few months, before it is deemed successful. So keep acknowledging any positive change. Hire yourself a coach to help you deal with your own life goals and interpersonal fears. You’ll be amazed by the difference it makes when you learn to be patient with yourself and are effective at achieving your own goals. Your new awareness makes it easier for others to get along with you!

©Jeannette Seibly, 2012

Jeannette Seibly is a Business Advisor and has successfully coached 1000’s of business owners and executives to be successful leaders while growing their businesses. Three of them became millionaires!