By Alma Gill (NNPA News Wire Columnist)

Dear Alma,

I recently joined a new company that was formed through a merger. My boss ran our department in the old company, and she still has her old title. But, with the merger, many new people have come on board, including me.

She’s older than we are, and she became a manager before there were a lot of women in the company. She has very sharp elbows and a really old school command and control approach, which she clearly picked up from the men she worked with.

Her most noticeable trait is that she deals with everything in front of everyone. Rather than walk over to someone’s desk, she yells orders across our office. She criticizes the junior people who haven’t met her expectations (including our only POC). She gets in arguments with the other executives in meetings.

She also can’t keep a secret. I’ve told her a couple of things in confidence, only to have her repeat one of them, in capital letters, in an all staff e-mail. I was horrified.

She isn’t able to let anyone have a moment. If someone does a good job on something, she congratulates them and then talks about when she did something similar, and usually better. The person then gets overshadowed and their chance to shine is gone.

She seems to be protected because the senior executive who originally brought her on board is still there. She goes to him all the time whenever a dispute comes up.

She has invited me out for dinner, and has tried to get me to confide in her, but I really don’t trust her, especially after the e-mail situation. I’m afraid everything we talk about will get shared the next day.

So, what are your suggestions for how I can deal with her?

Wary At My Desk

Dear Wary at My Desk,

Pinto beans and rice! I wouldn’t wish this workplace wacko on anyone of my adversaries. Workplace 101: Any boss with sharp elbows and no filters, can’t be trusted. I mean really, what more could you wish for – a punch in the throat? LOL.

To say “ keep away” seems to me to be an understatement. So how about until she retires, you’re permanently busy. Need some examples, here you go – you’re taking a class, volunteering, feeding the homeless, giving blood. You feel me? Once, and I mean once, every four months or so, you can quickly walk for coffee. Another dinner is a definite no-no, meanwhile, just listen, nod and smile. Repeat compliments she likes to share about herself, she’ll like that.

Yes, watch your back, stay two steps ahead and ride it out. You’re smart, that’s why you’re there. You’ve been around long enough to recognize the rules of the game, determine your role and play it. Do your best, be your best, that’s all that’s really required.

Judging from her past jungle fury – I pray it doesn’t happen again, but you and I know better. Stay focused, prepared and on point. If and when she throws you to the wolves, no worries. Contemplate your next move with confidence, conquering in your Louboutins. You’re a spearhead, always ahead of the pack.

Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. E-mail questions to: Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and Twitter @almaaskalma.

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