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A Survival Guide for Working with Bad Bosses
by Gini Graham Scott

AMACOM, 210 pages, $10.20

There are guides to surviving layoffs and interviews, so why shouldn't there be one for bad bosses? Whether you currently have a difficult to deal with superior or may find one in charge of you down your career path, it's good to have tactics to cope. When workplace environments get negative, you need all the help you can get.  A Survival Guide uses specific case studies and liberal doses of common sense to help professionals recognize problematic managers and take positive steps to improve their relationships with them.

Author Gini Scott has extensive experience as a career counselor and she drew the scenarios she describes from real-life situations. This book is valuable for workplace professionals in both subordinate and managerial roles because it offers insight into human behavior and the way power ebbs and flows between managers and workers. Readers will be engaged and recognize common traits in the scenarios described, and drawn in by the question "What is the best plan of action for the employee to take"?

The book is divided into six sections with each going into depth and detail. They are:

  1. Not Fit For Command
  2. That's Unfair!
  3. Power Players
  4. Out of Bounds
  5. Ethical Challenges
  6. Putting It All Together

Chapters are devoted to characterizing types ranging from "No-Boss Bosses" to "Pass-the-Buck Bosses" and different approaches to dealing with them are presented. For example, Scott astutely points out that when there's a management vacuum, you may be the one to fill it yourself. She then explains how to do it tactfully without over-reaching your boundaries.

The end of each chapter features take-aways -- succinct points to remember and put into practice. One of the recurring philosophies of the book is that it's better to have a problematic boss figure things out for themselves than to simply tell them about problems. In the "That's Unfair!" section, readers discover the best ways to cope with bosses who won't back them up and micromanager/perfectionist types.

The examples here ring true and the best thing about The Survival Guide… is that it presents options that may not have occurred to workers under duress. In a perfect world, workers would not have to suffer the whims and antics of bad bosses, but in today’s workplace it’s better to prepare for the worst.

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