Recently a reader contacted me asking how she should deal with her bad boss. She had her complaints listed out and and was preparing to sit down with him to have it out once and for all. Here’s the advice I gave her:
First, understand that sitting down and talking with your “bad boss” is only going to hurt you and your career.
You’re defining them as a bad boss. Why would someone who’s bad at being a boss have the EQ to take your advice on how to be a better one? More likely they’ll label you as “difficult” and want to see less of you, not more.
Second, ask yourself how long you see this situation continuing.
Are you stuck working for them for the next ten years? Can you move laterally, or can you see them moving out of their role? If so, hang on. If not you may want to consider a job change.
Third, try turning your bad boss into a good one by figuring out how to make them shine in their role.
Rarely does a boss dislike someone who makes their life easier. Are you a great employee? Do you have a winning attitude? How would you like to be the boss of someone like you? Examine yourself first. Then think of ways to make your boss’s life easier. My guess is they’ll start being a good boss quickly if you employ this strategy.
Finally, if you decide to stay, make the best of it.
Venting to others about your terrible boss only makes the situation worse. Either do something about it or accept the situation and do the best you can. Remember that every place you work is going to have its crazy aspects. No place is perfect, and the place you decide to go may well be worse than the place you are now. Usually your situation is about you, not about the person you work for. So become a better you and see if your situation doesn’t improve.
Getting ahead is about getting started!