Simple rules to ward off a flirty boss
28 October 2015, 09:49
The line 'my boss is flirting with me' is common in many professional and social circles. Managers seem to always identify that one, whether old or new employee and chase them which often translates into harassment. It often starts with a friendly gesture, a compliment, a pat on the back, or a jokey remark. Although not all bosses that engage in these mannerisms really have such intent, being careful and not letting your guard down can help save yourself from embarrassing situations later.
Pay attention to these simple but important rules to ward off flirty bosses.
As a rule, remember that the relationship you have with your boss is the most important one at work, so you will need to handle the situation with care. If dropping hints hasn’t worked, you may need to spell it out another way. To express your disapproval without condemning their behavior outright, you could always say something like, “I make it a rule never to mix business with pleasure. I know you’re only joking, but sometimes I feel uncomfortable when you mess about.” This will give him a hint that he is making you uncomfortable and it is not welcome.
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There is nothing as effective as face-to-face communication. Telling them face-to-face that you’re interested in them professionally but not romantically will make the message clear. If you don’t say anything, the attention is likely to persist or even increase as they test how far they need to go in order to get a clear response from you. Often, silence or ‘shyness’ is taken as a sign of encouragement.
Seize every opportunity to mention a partner whether you have one or not. Make sure you say enough to show that you’re in a relationship with someone and the message will soon be clear to them. To make it difficult for them, if you know his or her family, always ask after them.
As cliché as it may sound, prevention is better than cure. If the flirtation persists, try to reduce any opportunities for flirtation. For example, make sure any meetings take place in the office and aren’t scheduled at lunch time or after work. Avoid situations where you know your boss is likely to flirt with you. If he makes personal or suggestive comments, rather than laugh it off nervously, which he could take as encouragement, stare at him blankly and change the subject to something work related.
The issue of bosses and managers flirting with certain staff is commonplace in many offices the world over. But I strongly believe that as much as we play a victim, we contribute greatly to our embarrassing situations. Given the pointers above, it is needless to emphasize that we ought to behave in a manner that helps underline our professional status and avoid creating mixed messages.
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