Tips for Dealing with a Boss Who Reminds You of Trump

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Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Let’s face it, Trump is an authoritarian, narcissistic sexual harasser with a short attention span. Advice on managing all aspects of that personality would take far more than a blog post. Maybe your boss is just an incompetent, manipulative, self-aggrandizing control freak who wants to surround himself with sycophants. If so, these suggestions should help.

Build alliances with powerful people and colleagues inside and outside your organization. These people can help you find another position within the organization, provide valuable references for you and counter, or at least not aid, your boss’ efforts to malign you.

Develop your own brand. This will make it much harder for your boss to impugn your reputation. Speaking, writing, and collaborating with others are all great ways to build your brand.

Document, document, document. Document your boss’ bad behavior. Think of the “Wall of Lies” in SoHo for inspiration. I once had a boss who was an expert at using statements that were the truth but not the whole truth to lead others to draw false conclusions. My boss informed people that I went to a hotel with my former boss. This was true. A company meeting was held at the hotel and we walked over together. I learned from a colleague that as a result of my boss’s comment some executives believed that I had slept with my former boss to get my job. Could I repair the damage? Not really. However, having a list of bad behavior might help if you decide it is time to address the situation head on and deal with the fallout.

Document your work and any advice you give or decision you make, including the rationale. The same boss told meeting attendees that I failed to consider a particular law before giving legal advice to the business. True. That particular law was completely irrelevant so I didn’t consider it. Having my analysis dated and in writing was helpful in establishing that I had adequately addressed all relevant issues.

Having a track record of documenting all your work can also aid in countering a false assertion that you gave bad verbal advice. A colleague was falsely accused of giving verbal approval to a flawed transaction. Others refused to believe approval had been granted because my colleague was consistently adamant about only giving written approval and repeatedly saying, “If it isn’t in writing, you don’t have my authorization.”

Document each and every measurable benefit you provide to the organization. This helps with resume building because there’s every chance you will be job hunting in the relatively near future.

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