Some bosses are positive, encouraging people by nature. Others are downright awful. But there's another breed of boss that can be difficult to work with, not because that person is mean or unreasonable, but because that person virtually lives at the office. We're talking about the workaholic boss -- that manager who's constantly plugging away, clocking in long hours, and doing whatever it takes to be 100% dedicated to the job.
The problem, of course, is that keeping up with a workaholic boss can be difficult from an employee perspective. Even if you're committed to doing your best, you may not be willing to put in a 60-hour-or-more workweek on a steady basis. So how do you reconcile your boss's approach to the job with your own? Here are some tactics you might employ.
1. Discuss expectations
Just because your boss consistently works many, many hours each week doesn't mean you're expected to do the same. So rather than assume anything, sit down with your manager and attempt to gauge their expectations. Chances are, your boss wants to see you focusing on key tasks and putting in the time it takes to accomplish them. And whether you do so in 40 hours versus 50 or 60 may not matter to your manager.
2. Set boundaries
Maybe your manager tends to burn the midnight oil and expects you to do the same. If that doesn't work for you, then you'll need to express that openly rather than attempt to keep up with your boss's schedule. Otherwise, you'll risk burning out, having your performance slip, and getting on your manager's bad side.
Decide how much time you're able or willing to commit to the job and communicate that to your manager. And then be prepared to compromise. The key, however, is to establish some sort of boundary so that you and your boss don't end up butting heads.
3. Learn to manage your time well
Some people who work long hours do so because they're not efficient at managing their time. If you're unwilling to clock in 60-hour workweeks -- which is understandable -- prove to your boss that doing so isn't necessary. Map out your priorities at the start of each week, eliminate distractions, and power through projects like the superstar you are. With any luck, your manager will come to realize that you're more than pulling your weight.
4. Step up when needed
Maybe you've communicated the fact that you're unwilling to work 50 or 60 hours a week on a regular basis. But if a job-related emergency strikes, or a high-profile project pops up that demands your attention, then be sure to step up as necessary and prove to your boss that you're willing to make an extra effort when the circumstances warrant it. This way, your manager is less likely to hound you to work late just for the sake of it.
5. When all else fails, tout your achievements
Maybe your manager has a certain mentality about working a lot and makes it clear that you're expected to uphold a similar schedule. If that's the case, you'll need to prove that you're a valuable, responsible employee, even if you don't put in the same number of hours your boss does on a regular basis.
The next time the topic comes up, be ready with a short, but effective, list of wins you've achieved on the job. If you have data to back up your claims, even better. This way, you'll make the case that you're better off continuing on your current path than pushing yourself past your limits and having your productivity take a hit in the process.
There's no question about it: Dealing with a workaholic boss can be a challenge. So keep doing your best and stand your ground. With any luck, you and your boss will manage to come to an understanding, even if you have different ideas about what constitutes a normal work schedule.