What To Do When You Work For A Bad Boss
What To Do When You Work For A Bad Boss
By Mark Wager
Numerous studies from all around the world have shown that the number one reason that determines whether an employee stays in their job or leaves is their relationship with their boss. If you work with a boss who you respect and enjoy working with you are likely to stay in a position even if you don't enjoy other aspects of the job but if you work for a bad boss or someone who lacks the basic leadership skills then it's only a matter of time before you leave even if you enjoy the job itself.
Too many people in the workplace have experienced the misery that comes with working with a bad boss and the sad realty for most people is that leaving a job is not an option as we all need to pay bills so what can you do. Well based on my experience as a leadership coach in which I deliver leadership training to a lot of bosses including a lot of bad ones, I've put together a few practical tips which hopefully will assist anyone who is currently working for a bad boss,
Don't confuse malice with incompetence
The first thing to do is to ensure you have the right reasons for your boss's actions. People see the same scenario in very different ways and each person is convinced that their version of events is the truth and for them it is. We tend to view the intent of other people's actions as if they were our own. What would be our intent if we did the same thing is what forms the context which determines our reaction. This often makes our reaction incorrect. During my experience in leadership approaching nearly thirty years now, I have observed that approximately over 90% of disputes arising within the workplace are down to miscommunication and only a small percentage is down to a deliberate intent to upset the other person. When you have a bad boss, make sure you have the right context for your bosses actions. Find out the whole story before you react and don't make the mistake of confusing malice with incompetence. It's very likely that your bad boss doesn't realise the effect of their poor choice of words or actions.
Remember you alone are responsible for your own happiness
The most mistaken phrase that I hear in my line of business is when people say "this person made me feel...." This is a common thing to say but it's incorrect because people can influence how you feel but it's you and only you that determines how you react and no one can make you angry or upset unless you allow them to do so. When you wake up in the morning and get ready to go to work you have an opportunity to decide what mood you want to be in. So ask yourself which mood is going to be the one which is most likely to get you the result you want. Do you want your mood to be negative or positive? This is difficult but the more you act out your mood the more likely it is that you will naturally adopt that mood and in simple terms "fake it until you make it".
Having a bad boss isn't an excuse for poor work
One of the biggest challenges of having a bad boss is that your organisation's view of you is influenced by your boss's view of you. If you have a boss that doesn't rate you positively then there's a good chance that others may share that opinion just based of your boss's opinion. This can hamper your promotion prospects, your salary, bonuses and spoil your references if you decide to leave so this is why it's vital that you do as good a job as possible. Never allow a bad boss to become an excuse to produce poor work. I admit it can be difficult to produce good work if your boss is an obstacle but you can't stop trying because it's important for your career that others see you and your value for what it is and not just what your boss says about you.
Talk to you boss about it.
This is the step that people don't want to take but it's also the step that is most likely to produce the result you want which is a productive workplace and a good relationship with your boss. Everyone's circumstances are different and you know your circumstances better than anyone so only you know if talking to your boss is a good option for you. When thinking about this remember one of the first thing I mentioned which is that the majority of bad bosses don't realise that their actions are poor. In my experience the vast majority are shocked and upset when they find out how they are coming across is different to what they intended. They discover how people perceive them only when someone leaves or someone has the courage to tell them. If you do decide to have this conversation bear this in mind that you must avoid confrontation. Another tip is to be specific about which behaviours you consider inappropriate and avoid judgement over those behaviours. For example instead of saying, you are rude, unprofessional or micromanaging all of which are judgments and can be viewed differently by different people and therefore making it very easy to argue over, instead focus on specific behaviours like "when you said..." "when you did..." by focussing on individual behaviours you are likely to reach agreement even though you can have different interpretations of the impact of those behaviours you can at least start understanding how each of you see things differently. Once you do this, there is hope that your relationship can turn around and your boss will hopefully improve their behaviour.
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Posted: Monday 19 December 2016