Help is Here for TOT-Laden Workplaces

It has been a very exciting week! In the first week’s launch of my book, Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant™(TOT): How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job (John Wiley & Sons), it has received extensive media attention. The book’s release represents my seven year passion, which continues – to help employees become more empowered in their jobs, and to foster a more humanized workplace. Along the way, I’ve had the support and encouragement of amazing business colleagues and friends, for which I am very grateful.

It’s rewarding to hear reactions to the book from employees, reporters and, yes, even business leaders! Comments have run the gamut from “Oh, of course!” to outright laughter. Overall, there’s a common, instant response to the core premise – the striking parallels between difficult bosses and children.

“That’s how my boss acts,” many people exclaim, finally realizing that they’re not alone.

“Boy, do we have TOTS in our office!” is another familiar statement.

“Wow, you’ve really hit on something here!”

And that’s one of the important messages of my writing and training – TOTs really are everywhere and all of us can deal with them.

As I discussed on ABC-TV this week with Tory Johnson, its important that we don’t lose sight of the fact that employees and employers must share the responsibility to tame their TOTs. Too many bad bosses are acting like unruly children who have trouble modulating their power. They’re throwing tantrums, being demanding, needy, distracted or moody.

Such childish behaviors sap productivity – at a time when we least need that to happen! But the great news is that employees can turn this around… almost instantly, with some honed parental-style, humanistic techniques!

As I pointed out in my recent “When TOTs Run the Office” article on the Psychology Today website, at some point in our working lives we’re likely to be confronted with a TOT. Too many offices resemble a chaotic schoolyard, replete with bad bosses playing sandbox politics. But therein lies an opportunity to save your sanity and everyone else’s.

By “decoding” the boss’s true emotions, employees can better align themselves with their manager’s goals, and become indispensable. Jihan Thompson of Marie Claire talks with me about this approach in the magazine’s August 2009 cover story, where I provide insights on interpreting a boss’s childlike statements.

Taming your TOT is not just for employees. In Forbes magazine’s CEO Power section this week, I point out how CEOs can also “Make Room at the Top” for strong leaders by avoiding “territorialism.” While doing so, they promote an environment where there’s space for everyone to grow and do their best work. A place that’s safe for success. This boosts productivity, employee morale and, profits.

So the next time you spot a TOT, don’t reach for a pacifier, pack your boxes or order a mass layoff. First get your copy (or copies!) of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant™(TOT) from AmazonBarnes & Noble or Borders …and tame your office TOTs – for a workplace that works!