Monday, December 13, 2010

Heading Off "Vacation Guilt"

Posted by Mark Brousseau

Fearing your holiday vacation will be tainted with tiny tantrums from a needy boss?

"Fear is a big driver, and when bosses - and kids- don't have control, such as with matters of a vacation from work, a 'terrible office tyrant' or 'TOT' can emerge," says Lynn Taylor. "The inner child should, but doesn't 'stay there'," says the author of "Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant."

Taylor, a nationally recognized workplace expert, explains that despite this relatively quiet time of year, many bosses can become needy, like toddlers who have trouble modulating their authority. "Senior management can't afford to take chances in this economic environment, and want to ensure there's a tether to…you."

In Taylor's book, she offers tips on "separation anxiety" in offices that appear to be more of a schoolyard running amok than a professional company. "A needy boss wants constant assurance that you will take care of all needs and deadlines, holiday or not. Some 'TOTs' at the helm may be taking shorter vacations themselves, particularly at smaller companies, which can exacerbate the sense that you're abandoning ship," she adds.

If your boss suffers from holiday separation anxiety, Taylor suggests these tips:

•Remain unapologetic when requesting or taking the allotted time off. Everyone needs a break.
•Reassure the boss that a little break now will translate into a happier, more productive new year.
•Make solid plans in writing for who covers what while you're on vacation. Provide a "to-do list" for your boss, which will reassure and suggest that your "TOT" can go skiing without thinking about you.
•Speaking of which, set clear limits; you don't want to be skiing after getting the 'big freeze' from the boss.

"Neediness may seem benign at first," says Taylor, "but it can quickly cascade into one of 19 other bad boss behaviors."

Do you have a needy boss? If so, how do you manage them?

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