Is Your Boss Trying To Force You Out? 8 Signs

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unhappy woman leaning against mirrored wall of office buildingBy Debra Auerbach

In a perfect world, you and your boss would have similar personalities, agree on everything and get along 100 percent of the time. In the real world, you're not always going to click with your manager. While not being BFFs with your boss doesn't always cause problems, there are some warning signs that your rocky relationship may be putting your job in jeopardy.

According to a new CareerBuilder survey of more than 2,000 employers, 27 percent of bosses have a current direct report that they would like to see leave their company. These bosses deal with disfavored employees in different ways. While many issue a formal warning (42 percent), most send subtle signals, if any at all.

Here are eight indirect ways managers say that they handle employees that they wish would leave:
  1. Point out shortcomings in employee's performance more often: 27 percent.
  2. Reduce responsibilities: 21 percent.
  3. Hire someone else to eventually replace the employee: 12 percent.
  4. Move the employee to another work area: 8 percent.
  5. Keep employee out of the loop regarding new company developments: 8 percent.
  6. Communicate primarily via email instead of in person or over the phone: 7 percent.
  7. Don't invite the employee to certain meetings or involve him in certain projects: 6 percent.
  8. Don't invite the employee to social gatherings with co-workers: 3 percent.


While 32 percent of managers say they would do none of the above, if you were in such a situation, you'd hope that your manager would be upfront with you about any issues standing in the way of your professional success.

"It's important that managers be as direct as possible when dealing with employees that, for whatever reason, aren't a good fit for their teams," says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder. "Fortunately, a plurality of managers in our survey were open to confronting the situation through a formal discussion or warning; however, some will do nothing at all, or even resort to passive aggressive behaviors that can only prolong a negative working arrangement. It's important that workers be aware of such warning signs, and if necessary, take steps to improve their situations."

It's not too late to turn things around. Whether or not your manager is direct with you about her discontent, chances are that you'll know if you're not one of her favorites. While being in such a situation can be stressful, don't look for a new job just yet. Here are some tips from Haefner on how to mend a broken relationship with your boss:

Recommit yourself to performance. Identify areas you can improve immediately and display your commitment to the company's objectives. Sixty-three percent of managers say the best thing a worker can do after a falling out with the boss is to simply improve the quality of work. In most cases, the negative attitudes will be history.

Don't hold a grudge or gossip. Fifty-nine percent of managers say one's ability to "move forward and not hold a grudge" is important to repairing working relationships. This is a two-way street, of course, but workers who are able to display professionalism in spite of personal differences will be in a better position to navigate office politics. Similarly, 38 percent of managers say simply not discussing the falling out with other colleagues is a smart way to repair a relationship.

Rewrite the terms. If you sense your manager is pushing you away, take preemptive action by presenting ideas that may improve the working relationship. Forty percent of managers cite this as a good way to move past the problem. Workers have the right to clear expectations of their roles and responsibilities. A conversation that redefines or clarifies those expectations is sometimes necessary.

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Is Your Boss Trying To Force You Out? 8 Signs

Played by: Steve Carell

Where He Works: Dunder Mifflin Paper Company in Scranton, Pa. He is a manager.


Management Style: Scott is the kind of boss who desperately wants to be your friend. And so he often forces his workers to attend events with him outside of work. For instance, Scott requires attendance at his annual awards show for his workers called, "The Dundies." As the self-appointed host of the program, Scott takes turns singing covers of songs like "You Sexy Thing" while his workers stare on helplessly.

He's also famously incompetent and shockingly insensitive. At one point, Michael injures his foot after he steps on a George Foreman grill and he's disappointed when his workers don't seem to treat him with enough sympathy when he shows up on crutches. So he invites a colleague who is physically disabled to discuss what life in a wheelchair is like.

 Quote: "Sometimes I'll start a sentence, and I don't even know where it's going. I just hope I find it along the way. Like an improv conversation. An improversation."
 

Voiced by: Harry Shearer

 Where He Works: Springfield Nuclear Plant. He is the owner. 

Management Style: Burns is the cartoon version of the outrageously-rich, unscrupulous corporate titan who only cares about the bottom line. He can't be bothered to remember the names of even some of his longtime employees, including Homer Simpson. Whenever Burns comes across a problem or is asked to donate to charity, his response is to "release the hounds" -- and immediately his attack dogs arrive to deal with the problem.

He will do anything to increase profits. A high point on the series: Burns creates a shield to block out the sun so the residents of Springfield are forced to use more electricity powered by his nuclear plant. And finally, Burns should have walked away from the job long ago. His advanced age is an ongoing joke on the show and is demonstrated by his constant use of archaic words -- "score" for "20;" "petroleum distillate" for "gasoline;" and "jumping box" for "television."

 Quote:  "I think I'll donate a million dollars to the local orphanage. When pigs fly!"  

Played by: Jon Hamm 

Where He Works:  Manhattan advertising firm Sterling Cooper; later the new firm, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, which has since merged with Cutler Gleason & Chaough. He started as a creative director.

Management Style: Draper is the brilliant and dashing but flawed boss. He has risen in the New York advertising industry of the 1960s because of his visionary work and ability to charm men and women alike. He's also a brilliant tactician. Early in the show, he comes up with an ad campaign for Lucky Strike cigarettes that will help the brand survive the new attention cigarettes then began receiving over causing cancer. He comes up with a slogan: “It's Toasted.”   

Draper, like many successful leaders, is less successful in personal relationships. His first marriage falls apart due to his constant womanizing. His second marriage isn't too stable, either, thanks to his personal demons. He can be imperious with underlings, but people find him irresistible and charismatic. 

Quote: "What you call love was invented by guys like me, to sell nylons."

Played by: Ian Abercrombie

 Where He Works: Doubleday Publishing. He is an executive. 

 Management Style: Mr. Pitt is the quirky boss who makes strange demands. He asks Elaine, who works as his assistant, to complete soul-crushing tasks. She must pick out the "perfect" pair of socks for him to wear. And of course, he doesn't like any of them because they don't stay up, they're too tight or they're not comfortable enough. She's also assigned the task of removing salt from his pretzel sticks.

Indeed, working life with Mr. Pitt requires a constant tolerance for ridiculous behavior. Mr. Pitt is excessively formal -- he eats his snickers with a fork and knife. He also has bizarre interests. He spends time focusing on winning a contest so he can help hold up the Woody Woodpecker balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade. He's also easily distracted; he spends days staring into a 3-D painting  when he should be focused on a business meeting to discuss a new merger. 

 Quote: "I want a decent sock that's comfortable that will stay on my foot!"

Played by: Gary Cole

 Where He Works:  Initech software company. He is a vice president.

 Management Style: Lumbergh is the corporate bully who thinks he's a smooth operator but is just painfully obvious. He greets his workers with the same smarmy catchphrase -- "What's haaappening?" He constantly uses  the same sayings -- "I'm gonna need you to" and "if you could just go ahead and"  -- to assign tasks as if they were pleasant or optional when they are anything but. And of course, Lumbergh' is almost always checking up on the progress of "TPS reports," the mind-numbing paper-pushing his workers are forced to complete.

He's also shameless about his big paycheck. Each day, he drives to work in a Porsche that has a vanity license plate that reads "MY PRSCHE." He's so over the top he even makes the bizarre fashion choice of wearing both a belt and suspenders at the same time.

 Quote: [Voice Message] "Hello Peter, what's happening? mmm, I'm gonna need you to go ahead come in tomorrow. So if you could be here around 9 that would be great, mmmk... oh oh! and I almost forgot ahh, I'm also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday too, kay. We ahh lost some people this week and ah, we sorta need to play catch up."  

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