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Boss a Workaholic?

All of us have been there. Your old boss leaves and you get a new boss or you change jobs and the new boss is a workaholic. I want to be clear what I consider a boss workaholic vs a hard working, focused boss.

A workaholic boss never shuts down and every detail is as important as the most important strategy. At least that’s how they make you feel every day. When you see them in the hallway, at the grocery store, at a soccer game they pull out their list (mental list or a planner) and they ask you about something. They just can’t help themselves.

Seasoned and professional managers understand the need for space and the times you simply need to turn it off and let people catch a breath. The best leaders use this as an effective tool to learn more about their people instead of wearing them out with an endless list of nonsense that needs to get done.

My experience is that you have to outlast the workaholic boss.

They play roles in most organizations because they get tons of work done and are dependable and reliable. These are both good traits but these people do not develop people and they rarely find and develop the big breakthrough idea.

So if you find yourself working for the boss workaholic here are some tips to help you outlast them.

Top 5 tips to thrive and not die when working for a workaholic boss.

1) Be ultra productive in your one on one meetings with your boss. No time for chit chat. Come super prepared, with an agenda and work it hard. Have every detail available so there is minimum follow up after the meeting. Avoid multiple contacts with your boss.

2) Make sure you give them assignments to help you. For example, make sure they owe you information to help you complete your work. It might be a meeting they should set up, a customer to go see, a clarification on information, etc. Workaholic bosses love to work so make them happy, give them more work. Make sure you give them assignments to help you. Then follow up with them to see if they have completed the work.

3) Check your email first thing every morning and every evening just so you can say, “got it” or “working on it”. You don’t have to provide any real content, just let them know you are working too. I know it’s shallow but they want to know who is “working”. They love that.

4) At least once a quarter, give them a detailed, week by week, plan that you are implementing against their strategy or your performance plan. Include dates, metrics, and specific details about all of your projects. They eat that up.

5) Never drop by their office unexpected, Never. Don’t schedule lunch with them, ever. Do not be social. You are not going to be best friend with this boss. You are trying to survive this boss. They see being social as a sign of weakness.

At the end of this assignment if this boss supports you for the next job this will be a real badge of honor for you because everyone knows this is a tough boss because they live in the details. If you can be promoted from the workaholic boss then you can really thrive under a great boss.

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