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Managing the boss

Posted on: February 8, 2006

Managing the boss
Getting past the oops moment: The boss factor
By Donna Rosato, MONEY Magazine staff writer

NEW YORK (MONEY Magazine) –

Your boss stops by to check on a project you’re late on and catches you shopping online.

Say you needed a five-minute head clearer. That’s kind of legit. He might not believe you, but most bosses aren’t likely to go ballistic on a first offense.

Keep in mind that even if he doesn’t catch you, your company might.
Nearly 80 percent of companies keep tabs on employees by tracking
Internet connections, and 55 percent retain and review e-mail messages,
according to the American Management Association. A quarter of
companies have fired workers for misusing the Internet, the survey
found.

You probably won’t get canned for a quick eBay session, but habitual shopping could warrant a talking-to.

Saying you needed a 45-minute head clearer, however, might not fly.

Your boss asks you who’s responsible for a mistake and you know who it is. Do you rat out a colleague?

Say you don’t know but you’ll find out. Then tell the culprit
that the boss is onto him and suggest that he come forward. Point out
that you’re in an awkward position because you know the boss is going
to press you.

Focus on a solution. Darnell Lattal, a psychologist and the
author of "Ethics at Work," advises redirecting the question by saying,
"I’m not sure, but I’m happy to help you figure out how to fix this."
Then you look proactive and don’t have to be a snitch.

You fax your résumé to a prospective employer from work and your boss finds it.

Seize the moment. Once you get over the initial stammering and
hot flashes, level with your boss. If you’re unhappy with your job, say
so. Tell him what is so unsatisfactory about your current gig that you
went looking for something better.

Try this: "Okay, you got me. But I’d rather not leave. Can we talk about making some changes that would be mutually beneficial?"

Watch it. Says Sickel, the hotel marketing executive: "As a
manager, I can’t fault someone for being career-minded. But I would
coach them on what’s appropriate at work."

In other words: Next time, Ace, go to Kinko’s.

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