Dealing with a bad boss? Chances are if you currently aren’t, then you have in the past or will in the future, so deal with it. That’s right, deal with it. Don’t let a bad boss dictate your emotional state, learn how to deal with it and move on to a happier life.
Dealing with It
Some things are simply out of our control and we have to learn to live with the situation to the best of our ability. We learn this lesson as children from our parents (or we should have at some point in our childhood), why do we convert back to a child-like state when dealing with a bad boss? Because it’s easier to react and blame someone else for our emotional state. However, the reality is, we only hurt ourselves in the long run.
Step Outside Yourself
The first thing is to assess the situation correctly. In other words, play “the devil’s advocate” to determine if the boss is really bad and not a figment of your perception. Practice self awareness by setting aside knee jerk reactions and taking inventory of what is really going on by asking yourself the following questions.
- Is the boss really bad or is it a personality conflict?
- What is the boss’s motivation for their bad actions? (e.g. when called out for a long lunch in front of coworkers, is it really a reprimand for the group that constantly takes long lunches?)
- Did the boss receive proper training or were they fast-tracked into a management role they were not prepared to fill?
- Do you ask follow up questions or ask to meet to discuss a situation in more detail? If not, the boss may assume all is well and you are actually setting them up for failure.
Once these questions are answered, if the answers point to a bad boss, it’s time to take action.
If the boss is truly toxic, it is important to note, you are not alone. Chances are other people know the boss is bad, don’t jeopardize your career by whining, complaining and basically sinking down to the bad boss’s level.
First assess what type of bad boss you are dealing with: buddy, micromanager, narcissist or absentee and then act. Rise above the situation with these techniques:
- Buddy – since they often step outside appropriate work/personal boundaries and choose favorites, set clear boundaries and meet with them to establish expectations and/or preferred method of communication appropriate for a working relationship
- Micromanager – meet with them to set expectations and be flexible, but disciplined while staying in constant contact
- Narcissist – humor them by making sure to share credit for ideas and keep them in the loop with all communication with their boss and/or customers/clients
- Absentee – if the boss is constantly out of contact, be resourceful and find information/direction from outside channels
Look out for yourself by taking action. If dealing with it becomes unbearable, it might be time to move on. There is always another job, even if it seems like there isn’t.
What Doesn’t Kill Us, Makes Us Stronger
Sometimes the worst situations turn into the most shining moments of our lives. So, don’t play the victim. Take the experience of working for a bad boss and turn it into a learning opportunity for a brighter future.
Whether or not you are happy is a direct result of personal choices and actions so, deal with it!
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