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dealing with a bad boss



Convinced you have the world’s worst boss?

So do lots of other people!

According to a five-year comparative study commissioned by Lynn Taylor Consulting, seven out of 10 people believe bosses and toddlers act alike.

Taylor’s study shows that being self-oriented is the top offending boss behavior. Being stubborn, overly demanding, impulsive, and interrupting round out the top five bad boss behaviors.

A Gallup study showed that having a poor relationship with the boss is the number one reason people quit their jobs.

“People leave managers, not companies…in the end, turnover is mostly a manager issue,” Gallup wrote in its survey findings.

While none of us can control how our boss behaves, we are in total control of how we choose to manage the situation.


Work for 1 of these bad bosses? Here’s what to do


Is your boss a glory grabber who takes all the credit for your good work? One who accepts all the praise and fails to mention your contribution?

Solution: along the way and at the end of a project, tactfully remind others in the organization of your involvement. Send e-mails that contain pertinent work information to your boss and include other key management personnel in the distribution. If you get to share an elevator ride with your boss’ boss, casually mention the project, your input, and how the work benefited the organization.

Are you dealing with a weather vane boss who changes the rules without notice?

Solution: The most effective way to deal with this impulsive behavior is to clearly define the work outcomes when the boss gives the assignment. After boundaries, rules, etc., are established, send a confirming e-mail to him or her that outlines the established expectations. When he flip-flops on what’s to be done, calmly share the e-mail, renegotiate the results, and send another confirming email.

Does your boss act like a helicopter that hovers overhead, constantly interrupting and micromanaging your work?

Solution: recognize and accept his or her deep-seated need for control; then get out in front of managing the situation while feeding his/her need. Reassure him that you have the bases covered. Keep her updated on your progress. Send periodic e-mails, reports, phone calls, a quick coffee chat or whatever communication vehicle your company uses.

Could your boss be a secret agent, that mysterious person who’s missing in action and who communicates irregularly?

Solution: With a head honcho like this, take responsibility for getting on her radar (sure it’s a pain, but failing to do so only hurts your performance review) by scheduling meetings or popping into his office to quickly chat, ask questions, and confirm work assignments.

It’s probably easy for you to see into which category fits your supervisor. The wild card is whether or not your boss has the self-awareness and emotional intelligence to recognize his or her own shortcomings.


Is your boss self-aware?


Bosses typically fall into one of three categories:

1) those who are totally clueless about their behaviorseither good or bad.

2) those who know they have shortcomings and want to get better.

3) those who plain just don’t care. They’re bad, know they’re bad, and don’t give a rip.

If your boss falls into category one or two, discuss your concerns directly with them. Organize what you want to say, present it in a thoughtful manner, and don’t respond in anger, which only hurts you.

If your boss falls in the last category and/or may be behaving unlawfully, talk to your HR representative if your organization has one; otherwise speak with another trusted person in management about what you should do. Perhaps you should be thinking about whether or not you can continue to work for the company.

LeadBIG tip: always take the high road in dealing with a bad boss so your performance is above reproach.

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