In a perfect world, we would all have remarkable bosses who help us succeed, who make us feel valued, and who are just all-around great people.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
There are many types of bosses you can encounter in the workforce — a micromanager, an individual with anger management problems, one who shows favoritism toward a select few, a workplace bully, an incompetent. Any way you shake it, you still have to make the best of the situation and get your job done.
To help out your situation, try one or more of these tips to find some common ground with your boss — or at least stay sane until you find a new place to work.
1. Is Your Boss Truly a “Bad Boss”?
Before making a fuss about your bad boss, make sure you really are dealing with one. Is there a reason for his behavior, or are you being too hard on him? Observe your boss for a few days and try to notice how many things he does well versus poorly. When he is doing something “bad,” is it truly his fault or could it be something out of his control?
2. What is the Boss’s Motivation?
Understanding why your boss does or cares about certain things can give you insight into her management style. If the rules are totally out of control, try to figure out your boss’s motivation. Maybe it’s not that she really cares about how long your lunch break takes; maybe what she actually cares about is how it looks to other employees and her superiors.
3. Don’t Let it Affect Your Work
No matter how bad your boss’s behavior may be, don’t let it affect your work. You want to stay on good terms with other leaders in the company (and keep your job!). Don’t try to ‘even the score’ by working slower, or taking excessive days off or longer lunches. It will only put you further behind in your workload and build a case for your boss to give you the boot before you’re ready to go.
4. Keep on Your Toes
When you’re dealing with a micromanager type of boss, head off your boss’s requests by anticipating them and getting things done before he comes to you. If you reply, ‘I actually already left a draft of the schedule on your desk for your review,’ enough times, you’ll minimize the need for his reminders. He will eventually realize that you have your responsibilities on track —- and that he doesn’t need to watch your every move.
5. Managers Don’t Know Everything
Just because someone has a management title doesn’t mean that she has all the right answers, all the time. Just because someone is in a position of authority, doesn’t mean she knows everything. Keeping this in mind may help you maintain some perspective and a degree of sanity.
6. Be a Leader
When dealing with an incompetent boss, sometimes it’s best to make some leadership decisions on your own. If you know your department well enough, go ahead creating and pursuing a direction you know will achieve good results for your company. People who do this are naturally followed by their peers as an informal leader. Upper management will notice your initiative too; however, don’t do something that undermines the boss, so keep him or her in the loop.
7. Identify Their Triggers
If your boss has anger management problems, identify what triggers his or her meltdowns, and be extra vigilant about avoiding those. If your boss flips out when you misspell something, be sure to double and triple-check your notes. And if your boss gets extremely agitated if you arrive a moment after 8 AM, plan to get there at 7:45 — Every. Single. Day.
8. Avoid Future Bad Bosses
When interviewing with a new company, do your research ahead of time to make sure you’re not getting into another situation with a less-than-ideal manager. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Have coffee or lunch with one of the staffers at the new company. Your purpose is to learn general information about the company and its culture. However, use this opportunity to discover as much about your potential boss as possible, without appearing too nosy.
In the unfortunate event that you have stumbled upon a difficult boss, you can always find a way to keep yourself from being mistreated by following the above guidelines and by maintaining a level-headed personality to serve as your guiding light.
(written by: Whitney)