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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2009
This book offers one useful concept, which is to identify 20 different types of toxic boss behaviors. In the general trend of many self-help books, they offer clever, catchy categories. In this case, it does help to show how to zero in from a generalized feeling of being persecuted to getting a handle on some specific ways you might be persecuted. HOWEVER: once the authors try to get more clever, they set up such an overcomplicated matrix that's it's almost impossible drudgery to read the whole second half of the book. For 20 different types of bosses, they then define 10 different types of workers, & spend the next 150+ pages plowing through the combinations in several different ways. WAY TOO COMPLICATED! So you, the reader, will wind up skimming the whole rest of the book impatiently to bypass what does not pertain to you, but you will get lost in a maze of headings and subheadings and lots of broken up text. Most disappointing, though, too many of their suggestions for "dealing" come down to silly diversions -- like, do "photo therapy" (put up pictures in your cubicle to remind yourself there's more in your life than a boss?),get exercise, have hobbies, turn to other people for validation (your boss will love that), do yoga, suck it up, or maybe give up and look for a new job. Wow! This book claims to be "the ultimate guide to managing your boss." It's not. What it really seems to be is an ultimate guide to distracting yourself.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2011
Despite having 15 years working experience and an MBA under my belt, I struggled for years with difficult bosses. I would be in a job for 6 to 12 months, get sick of my boss and jump ship. I managed to strike lucky with one or two enlightened bosses, but by far the most of them were terrible.
I'm currently in a job that I love, working with people who are fantastic, but my boss sucks. I really don't want to leave my job, so what should I do? I read this book and it has changed my entire work experience. I've found that she perfectly fits one of the 20 boss types described in the book. And I perfectly fit one of the 20 employee types described. The book has given me a whole list of things to keep in mind when I get frustrated and angry with my boss. Now I can conjure up the mantra in my mind, and wow... I can let it go. I don't LIKE what she does, and I still think she could do a much better job, but I'm no longer angry and sullen about her dumb decisions. In fact, it's kinda entertaining watching to see if she'll keep repeating her predictable behaviours without even realising.
I've spent years reading books on people management, and very few have come this close to giving practical, easy to follow advice on how to deal with a particular situation. I've referred to this book numerous times myself and constantly recommend it to friends and colleagues.
If you can't stand your boss, but you want some practical tools for dealing with the situation at hand, then this is the book for you. And if the authors describe a manager who is dangerous to your health and you should find another job - it will tell you to do just that.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
We have all had times when our jobs were great. We had work we enjoyed doing each day and a boss that supported us and co-workers who were talented and cooperative. Then things changed and we find ourselves reporting to a boss who makes facing unemployment and foreclosure seem like less a better choice than coming to work to face a buzz saw each morning. Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster provide you with a manual to help you diagnose the problems you are having with your boss and what to do about it. They believe you can manage you boss and turn a bad situation around so you can enjoy your job again.

You don't read this book front to back, although you could. The idea is to use their four step process and find the relevant portions of the book within each step.

Section 1 helps you Detect the boss behavior that is causing you pain. They list 20 behaviors that just about cover anything you could be facing each day. Once you understand clearly what is creating the pain you are ready to find a way to make it stop.

Section 2 shows you how to Detach from the situation with your boss. By detaching the reality of your job and your boss's behavior you can depersonalize it. The authors also show you things you can do at work and after work to restore your spirit as you face these draining situations. You then look up the behavior(s) you identified during the Detect stage to read specific approaches for Detaching from the situation.

Section 3 helps you Depersonalize these awful situations when you find yourself in the middle of the storm. You have to do this work ahead of time so you can understand the baggage your boss is carrying around that contributes to their destructive behavior. Again, you then look up the specific boss behaviors that apply to your boss.

Section 4 is about creating a new Deal for yourself. You adjust the expectations you have for your job, address the needs you have that are not being filled and alleviating the anxieties having these unmet needs create in you. Your goal is to find a way to continue to do a great job and keep your career on track and moving forward. Again, once you understand this process, you can look up the specific behaviors that apply to your boss and learn how you Deal in that specific situation.

This is a very useful book and can help millions of us manage our workdays more constructively and improve our situations at work.

Oh, and if you are a manager, you will want to read this book not only to identify your boss's behaviors but to help you see your own management style more clearly. We all like to believe we are perfect and wonderful supervisors, but we aren't. Why not think about how to change yourself to make work life happier and more productive for those you mange?

Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Ann Arbor, MI
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2009
I bought the book because I am a boss and focused on how to make sure that my staff is happy working for me. When I read the chapter on 20 boss behaviors that drive us crazy --- I realized that I do most (possibly all) of them!

It is so helpful to read this from both the boss and employee perspective. Makes sense to use it as a reference ---- (what would xxxx do?)

When framed this way, I think the book will be very very valuable. Find myself flipping through when I need a break, and I will definitely keep it on my desk as a reminder.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
There are so many types of bosses out there. Micromanagers, cry babies, idea stealers, the list goes on and on. Who wouldn't want a book on managing their particular boss.
The problem with Working For You Isn't Working for me, is not the concept of the book as much as it is the delivery of material.

Given the title of the book, one would expect a witty view of how to handle difficult bosses. A witty outlook would definitely have lighted the material and made it more readable.

Detaching? Depersonalizing? The book attempts to educate the reader on these two concepts. For example, the author wants to instruct the reader on how to "depersonalize" from a yeller. In this section, the author continues to pigeon hole the readers into categories - YOU must decide which category you fall into - nurturer? Harmonizer? Star? Once you've determined your category, the author finally provides instruction on how to depersonalize. If you are a nurturer - you are supposed to realize the boss is not yelling at you. Really?

The book tries to cover too many personality types in both the boss and the employee. By sticking to perhaps one or two types, the book would have been shorter but much more successful. If you like quizes and exercises to determine your character "by the numbers" there is definitely plenty of those within the pages of the book as well.

My suggestion is to borrow the book from the library first, then decide if it's a book that you would like to add to your personal collection.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2010
I was really having a difficult time at work until I read this book. By analzing the situation and offering concrete advice on how to deal, it made me realize my expectations from the workplace and how to deal when those where not met.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2010
Don't let the breezy title fool you - once I dove into the meat of the writing in this book I was just tickled with the range of insights, and actionable strategies, it offers for every imaginable boss relationship. The writing straddles a fine paradox; it is easy to read and very accessible while, at the same time, digging deep into twenty different boss behaviors the reader may face. I haven't encountered all of these behaviors - but one or two rung true as hell, and the suggested strategies instantly made sense to me.

I am a performance coach in the corporate world - I coach some of the bosses who show up in this book, and I coach some of the folks that work for these bosses. I pick up a book such as this for two reasons: I hope it will sharpen my own insights, and I hope to find a resource I can give to my clients. This book did both for me. The labeling of the different boss behaviors and typical employee responses is very helpful in my line of work. The moment I can name it is the moment I can begin to change it. When I find myself coaching folks trapped in toxic boss relationships, I will make sure they get their hands on this book at once.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2014
This was one of the most insightful, funniest, and most shockly accurate "self help" professional books I've ever helped myself to- and I felt like I could have written it! I was there in several places - and my current (and many former) bosses and colleagues were, too! But what was incredible was the actual evaluation of my personality type,(accurately), vs. the personalities of my bosses, and how you can learn to "deal." You have to read this all the way through - you won't be able to put it down. And Monday morning when you go to face the lions again, you may actually understand what's going on - and whether it's worth it to keep fighting or find another arena. Five stars. Seriously.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2014
This is a very insightful book. When dealing with difficult people, it can make one feel crazy. Reading this book lets a person know they are simply not alone. Then helps you identify who one really might be dealing with at work! Once you are able to identify and observe objectively... You are back in the driver's seat. I have read this book, used the skills, and have recommended it to SO MANY PEOPLE... since I got it... already! And I just got it!!! The authors have definitely done their homework...and have an extensive background. They know what they are talking about. Highly recommend if you are dealing with someone toxic at work. Don't suffer anymore.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2012
Too basic- too many recommendations to find another job- I was looking for more alternatives to that! I liked that different personality types of the employee were considered.
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