What to Do if You Have a “Bad” Boss?

Career Blog

Unfortunately, most workers have encountered the bad boss. Whether it was during an internship, that entry-level gig you took post-graduation, or somewhere along your trek up the corporate ladder, the results are the same. Having a bad boss is not fun.

When the job market is hot, you can seek greener pastures, but often, even in the best of times geographic restrictions and family commitments can limit your ability to quickly exit the situation. If you find yourself in a career land lock, don’t despair consider these strategies to improve your situation.

Lend a Hand

Take time to identify what makes the person a poor manager from your perspective. If the individual lacks a managerial competency such as staff development, communication, or strategic planning, consider developing those skills. The benefit is twofold. In the long-term, you’ll avoid duplicating the mistake. You may also score a quick win by offering to lend a hand. Leaders can’t be good at everything, and he or she may actually welcome your assistance if they are aware of the deficiency.

Give Feedback

If it’s a question of style, again specificity helps. If the manager micromanages or offers too little support, introduce him or her to the concept of situational leadership so they can better match the support given to the competence level of the individual staff member. Of course, if the flaw is more pronounced or borders on abusive such as taking credit for other’s work or publicly berating employees, shift gears and focus on getting a new job ASAP.

Consider the Competition Effect

Sometimes the bad boss dynamic stems from unacknowledged competition. This can happen when a manager feels threatened or needs to be the smartest person in the room, and thus simply doesn’t afford you the professional respect you deserve. 

While there is no excuse for being discourteous, try to uncover the individual’s rationale. Some managers have a tendency to talk down to those with less education or experience. Call out the behavior, request it end immediately, and then ensure your performance makes the other elements irrelevant. Often this will right the issue, but if it persists, speak to HR, or look for greener pastures. Also, remember the experience when it’s time to build your team.

Look in the Mirror

Not every horrible boss is an overbearing, micromanaging clod. While rarely welcome or effective in the long-term, sometimes a manager has a legitimate reason for looking over your shoulder. Perhaps you’re new to role, the company, or even the working world.

Remember, your manager is ultimately responsible for what you produce. That can cause a lot of angst, especially in an uncertain market. So put yourself in your his or her place. Convey understanding and then set out to showcase your skill. Once you’ve demonstrated that you won’t inadvertently sink the ship, they should back off. 

Of course, if they don’t…and quickly, then perhaps you are subject to the whims of a managerial clod. In that case, head for the hills.  

Need a career coach? Contact me via www.PlotlineLeadership.com.

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