Why is My Boss Acting Like a Baby?

Dear Dr. Sylvia,

You remember the song from “My Fair Lady” that has the following words “Why can’t a woman be more like a man” and on and on it goes about male superiority.

It really seems a bit old-fashioned these days when women are gaining strength at work, at home, everywhere.

However, I think the song could be changed to “Why are so many leaders behaving like babies” or something like that.

In my office I have a boss who pouts, sulks, stamps his feet, makes snide remarks, gives those he dislikes “pet” names, and is always on the defensive.

It’s exhausting.

I will keep this short. My question is: what can I/we do to get our boss to grow up? And I really mean it. He is such a baby that half the staff is ready to quit. And I am resisting the temptation in case there is something that can be done to turn the tide.

Thanks for any advice,

Signed,

Not a babysitter

Dear Not a Babysitter,

This year seems to bring out the worst in some people. I think the uncertainty and the fear of getting physically sick are playing roles.

However, underneath that lurks something much more substantial.

It has to do with the fear of failure and at the core of very poor workplace behavior is the emotional system that may not have ever been addressed.

Your boss, like many in the workplace, sounds like he has never really become self- aware.

When I started as an executive coach several decades ago, doing “inner work” was joked about or frowned upon. 

It did not, so many said, belong in the workplace. It was considered therapy, and therapy was only for people who were in deep distress.

Not true then and absolutely still not true.

The times, they are changing, thank goodness.

Leaders and emerging leaders do better when they are aware of both what pushes their buttons and how their behavior impacts others.

Now, let’s look specifically at your boss.

Since I don’t have a detailed understanding of him I will touch lightly on what I think is causing him to call people names, makes snide remarks, etc.

Somewhere as he was growing up, he learned that to side-step difficult discussions made him safe. And he got away with it.

He also learned that if he created a diversion, like yelling, or sulking he would no longer have to be accountable for what was not working in his younger life, and now he continues this behavior in business.

It happens all the time.

However, it is also how a business can tank.

Here are the signs that your boss is causing so many of your colleagues to consider leaving.

  1. Increased absenteeism
  2. Reduced productivity
  3. Human resource complaints
  4. Excessive drama
  5. Disregard for the facts
  6. Rigid camps for/against the boss
  7. Possibility of violence (verbal/physical fights)

The big question is: “What can I do?”

The big answer is: Take the risk to tell your boss what you see happening.

‘What,” you ask “Are the consequences of telling the truth to power?”

You may leave your job because you cannot be heard or you may become the hero to help your boss begin the journey to self-awareness and once again, love your job.

Either way, you win.

No, I’m not nuts.

If you lose your job for taking a stand against a child-boss, you will be better off elsewhere.

If your boss hears you and decides to get some executive coaching, he will remember your courage and who knows what kind of promotion is ahead.

I say, take the risk.

Before you talk with him, I suggest you look through either my book “Don’t Bring It To Work”  (it’s won a bunch of awards) or if you like, I will send you a copy of my short e-book “79 Power Sentences” to give you an idea of what you can say when you talk to “the little guy.”

Let me know what happens.

Here’s to your success,

Sylvia

P.S. You may also need my Stress Busters program that will be launched next week. Give a holler if you want to join.

Dear Dr. Sylvia,

You remember the song from “My Fair Lady” that has the following words “Why can’t a woman be more like a man” and on and on it goes about male superiority.

It really seems a bit old-fashioned these days when women are gaining strength at work, at home, everywhere.

However, I think the song could be changed to “Why are so many leaders behaving like babies” or something like that.

In my office I have a boss who pouts, sulks, stamps his feet, makes snide remarks, gives those he dislikes “pet” names, and is always on the defensive.

It’s exhausting.

I will keep this short. My question is: what can I/we do to get our boss to grow up? And I really mean it. He is such a baby that half the staff is ready to quit. And I am resisting the temptation in case there is something that can be done to turn the tide.

Thanks for any advice,

Signed,

Not a babysitter

Dear Not a Babysitter,

This year seems to bring out the worst in some people. I think the uncertainty and the fear of getting physically sick are playing roles.

However, underneath that lurks something much more substantial.

It has to do with the fear of failure and at the core of very poor workplace behavior is the emotional system that may not have ever been addressed.

Your boss, like many in the workplace, sounds like he has never really become self- aware.

When I started as an executive coach several decades ago, doing “inner work” was joked about or frowned upon. 

It did not, so many said, belong in the workplace. It was considered therapy, and therapy was only for people who were in deep distress.

Not true then and absolutely still not true.

The times, they are changing, thank goodness.

Leaders and emerging leaders do better when they are aware of both what pushes their buttons and how their behavior impacts others.

Now, let’s look specifically at your boss.

Since I don’t have a detailed understanding of him I will touch lightly on what I think is causing him to call people names, makes snide remarks, etc.

Somewhere as he was growing up, he learned that to side-step difficult discussions made him safe. And he got away with it.

He also learned that if he created a diversion, like yelling, or sulking he would no longer have to be accountable for what was not working in his younger life, and now he continues this behavior in business.

It happens all the time.

However, it is also how a business can tank.

Here are the signs that your boss is causing so many of your colleagues to consider leaving.

  1. Increased absenteeism
  2. Reduced productivity
  3. Human resource complaints
  4. Excessive drama
  5. Disregard for the facts
  6. Rigid camps for/against the boss
  7. Possibility of violence (verbal/physical fights)

The big question is: “What can I do?”

The big answer is: Take the risk to tell your boss what you see happening.

‘What,” you ask “Are the consequences of telling the truth to power?”

You may leave your job because you cannot be heard or you may become the hero to help your boss begin the journey to self-awareness and once again, love your job.

Either way, you win.

No, I’m not nuts.

If you lose your job for taking a stand against a child-boss, you will be better off elsewhere.

If your boss hears you and decides to get some executive coaching, he will remember your courage and who knows what kind of promotion is ahead.

I say, take the risk.

Before you talk with him, I suggest you look through either my book “Don’t Bring It To Work”  (it’s won a bunch of awards) or if you like, I will send you a copy of my short e-book “79 Power Sentences” to give you an idea of what you can say when you talk to “the little guy.”

Let me know what happens.

Here’s to your success,

Sylvia

P.S. You may also need my Stress Busters program that will be launched next week. Give a holler if you want to join.

Sylvia Lafair

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