Bad Boss: How to manage?

handle bad boss

In your career span, you are going to encounter people who are difficult to you.  They might be your colleague or your boss. Dealing with a difficult colleague can be tiresome but still can be managed without having much impact of it on your work and position. But, what if you have to deal with a bad boss? There is a saying that people don’t change their job they change their boss.  The relationship you have with your boss has big ramifications on your work and your attitude towards it. On one hand, where a good boss makes you productive and you are yourself willing to put down extra working hours, bad boss wipes out productivity and creates a non-cooperative working environment.

As per an article published in the undercover recruiter, 3 out of 4 unhappy employees reported that their boss is the worst and stressful part of their job.  American companies spend $360 million on health care cost caused due to bad bosses.

The first thing to understand here is, you should not get confused with a “Bad boss” and a “Difficult boss”. A difficult boss may not be a bad boss. He might adopt a strict or tough mode of working and meeting deadlines. Few example of “Difficult Bosses” are Steve Jobs, Henry Ford etc. were really successful and are the role model for many of us.

The “Bad Boss” is one who is not able to extract Productivity out of you, just makes you and your work stressful without helping you out with a solution to the problem area. One who is not able to show you your growth path.

Here’s what you should be doing in order to handle a “Bad Boss”

  1. Professionalism

You must learn to take things professionally at your workplace. Your boss is your superior and you must learn to respect him what ever be the situation. If the situation gets worse, you must seek out for help with the people who are at the right position to help you but your respect for your boss must always be there.

2. Identify his motivation

Before reaching out to anybody for help, you must try to understand your boss’s motivation. What all things he cares about? What triggers him at work?  What keeps him up at night? How does he measure success and failure? Understanding this will help you in getting an insight of his style of working and you can speak to his listening i.e his core values and priorities.

3. Don’t let it affect your job

Don’t let your boss’s bad behaviour be an excuse for your work. You must take care of your performance and your Personal Branding.  Many a time people start reacting to a bad behaviour like losing interesting in the work, not taking any accountability, taking longer lunch breaks etc.  These things will make the situation even worse.  Stay calm, composed and focused on your work as your personal branding is important and is dependent on it.

4. Have a conversation with him

If you feel the situation is no way improving, have an open conversation with your boss. It may be easier to stay quite or complain loudly to your colleagues on your sufferings or to think of resigning, but preceding for a conversation you will open a totally new door of trust and collaboration.

5. Put yourself in their shoes

Try to understand where your boss is coming from. Put yourself in his shoes and understand the reason for his actions and reactions.  Your boss might be having a target pressure or a strict deadline to meet.  He may be overwhelmed with the job requirement and that’s why he is not able to give you required support. Maybe his responsibilities have been expanded beyond his reach and experience. This pressure may come up to you as a subordinate.

6. Never Bad mouth your boss

You might feel tempted to share your feelings with your colleague.  Don’t ever discuss your anger or your criticism towards our boss’s way of working to your colleague. You never know when and by whom your words can reach out to him. He would prefer to listen to your concerns by you and not by any third party.

7. Take it as learning

Whatever you do, you learn from it. If you are facing a non-supportive environment, and you are trying to manage the situation, you would have a lot of learning from that experience.  So, it’s better to take it as a learning and stay positive instead of giving up to the situation.

8. Mirror

It’s always good and beneficial to analyse your own behaviour before putting all the blame on your boss. Ask yourself few questions like are you really doing effective communication with your boss. Are you fulfilling your commitments and your accountability towards your work? If you feel there is even a slight area of improvement, please do it. It will help you out in improving your relations with your boss.

9. Offer help

It may sound difficult offering helping hand to someone you don’t like, but you would not get anything making him look bad as well. Ask him where he needs your help and be available for it when required. By doing this, you will be making yourself Indispensable and a valuable asset whom your boss can rely upon for helping him does his job.

10 . Stand firm

Take a firm stand when you are right. If you are doing your best at your job keep your head held high and don’t let him bully you all the time.  Few people get satisfaction once they bully someone. Rather, ask questions, understand and defuse the difficult situation intelligently instead of reacting and showing anger.

Empathy and performance and the best tools to deal with your bad boss. Try your best to let your Boss – subordinate relation work. If still, it doesn’t work after all your honest efforts, lookout for another job. Check on the links which will help you in understanding How to Write an Effective Resume and once you get shortlisted for the interview than 11 Tips to Crack an Interview