Tony Deblauwe is the founder of HR4Change (www.hr4change.com) and has an extensive background working with individuals and corporations in the areas of organizational design, human resources management, leadership, and development. A certified coach, he received his Masters degree in Organizational Development and Human Resources from the University of San Francisco, and he has written articles for several trade publications including the Northern California Human Resources Association, Career Directors, and CareerSource magazine. Tony lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
I would imagine that at least once in a person's career he or she will be subject to a rather difficult boss. It has happened to me four times now out of four jobs. You take a job and are excited to start the work only to discover that instead of a helpful and supportive manager, what you're faced with is an arrogant person who constantly makes you question your own self-worth. It's a difficult work environment and one that is not conducive to productivity. Tony Deblauwe in his book, TANGLING WITH TYRANTS: MANAGING THE BALANCE OF POWER AT WORK, discusses what we as employees can do to resolve this painful situation. This book is quite the useful tool and is full of great information.
Sometimes, it's hard for us to imagine our workplace being any different than it already is. We accept the reality of the situation and, especially in today's economy, keep trudging along and attempting to make the most out of a bad situation. Well, Deblauwe's point of view is that we don't have to just accept a negative work environment. If our boss is what's making our working lives miserable, there are solutions to the problem.
Deblauwe uses his experiences to outline what negative behavior looks like, how it affects the employee and how we can find a suitable compromise and increase the quality of our work environment. This is probably one of the most useful parts of the book, in my opinion. Deblauwe is now just another "expert" coming in and giving his opinion. He been there and done that. He's worked in Human Resources and seen other employees in the same situation. Deblauwe really seems to know what he is talking about and infuses TANGLING WITH TYRANTS with his knowledge.Read more ›
Tony Deblauwe's approach to dealing with an abrasive, domineering boss is both insightful and inspired. He avoids the path of the typical "survive your bully boss" books by providing the reader with a process for analyzing the dynamics underlying tyrannical workplace behavior and then offers specific steps to deal with the situation.
Having worked in the field of law for over 10 years, I've certainly dealt with my fair share of workplace tyrants! But, as much as I'd love for Tony Deblauwe to come live at my law firm in order to teach tyrant-management skills to my co-workers, his upbeat new book Tangling with Tyrants - Managing the Balance of Power at Work is an excellent consolation prize, providing forward-thinking strategies in dealing with the inevitable workplace tyrant.
Deblauwe has been a workplace strategist and human resource consultant for years, and his experience shows. Tyrants takes the reader step-by-step through a process of determining whether or not you work for a tyrant, outlining typical tyrant behavior and our reactions to them, and providing fresh strategies for dealing with said tyrant. As Deblauwe rightly asserts "You can't change the person but you can change your approach."
Deblauwe outlines both the direct and indirect methods used by tyrants. Direct methods (as anyone who has ever been terrorized by one will recognize) include criticism and belittling, micro-management, magnification of their own power while directly or indirectly threatening your job. The indirect approach includes passive aggression, backstabbing, and taking credit for the work of others.
Deblauwe discusses emotions in the workplace and why tyrant bosses can cause us so much angst:
We perceive negative behavior from our superior as a threat; not only to how we work, but to how work makes us feel. Our feeling of self worth is difficult to discuss because emotion has no place in most corporate settings...Read more ›
I felt Tony Deblauwe did an excellent job of portraying the difficult situations that people sometimes face in the workplace, often undetected. It's commonly not the work that is tough, but the human dynamics that we don't see that need navigating. Insight into human behavior is tremendously valuable.
What I find fascinating about the framework that Tony provided is that it is practical and applicable to some of the most pressing issues in the workplace. While everyone is busy with management and leadership issues, Tony's bottom-up approach sheds a whole new light about the challenges that the workforce can face when having to deal with incompetent and unaware bosses. Most importantly Tony succeeded in packaging a solid set of principles and implementation details to show employees how they can step back, strategize, and turn things around. But this is not only for employees, I believe it is just as useful for the HR professionals who have to coach employees and resolve issues relating to "tyrant" bosses, and it is a great resource for managers who want to be more aware and not somehow unknowingly fall into the "tyrant" category. Highly recommended!
This pair of books (reader and workbook), which should be used together, address the all too common issues arising from a stressful and unproductive relationship with your boss. The author provides ways to prod your thinking about the issues related to the relationship and its impact that contribute to personal insight and practical ways to move forward. In addition, I like the multi-step process that spans from assessment through long-term intervention.