Your work life is something that dominates the majority of your prime years and offers you a veritable platform on which you can build a sustainable career. It is undoubtedly filled with variants that arise over years of existence in a corporate workplace. At the apex of your corporate world is your supervisor or boss, depending on your designation, and they are the one entity that decides and designs all. If your boss is intrusive, controlling and petty, it will adversely affect your overall performance and mindset within their system.
Bosses usually rise through the ranks in a company, often bearing the brunt of the worst phases of the company’s history. Any boss can hope to take two paths, empathise with the employees and try to do things better, or create adversity, harsh deadlines and make stingy decisions. Bad bosses often take the latter route, being an oppressive presence at the tip of the hierarchy, which in turn trickles down into a negative work environment.
Try to mitigate such situations.
The important thing is to mitigate this kind of situation and try to be a positive presence for the entire work environment. Dealing with a bad boss is imperative to improve morale or stabilise the work environment. But first, we shall see how you can identify if you are actually dealing with a bad boss.
But who is a bad boss?
If your boss or manager thrives in blaming his mid-level employees, employs less than graceful methods of dealing with employees who do not meet their expectations and resorts to public humiliation and uncovering of employees’ mistakes, they are the stark examples of a bad boss.
They continue this despicable behaviour as often they are condoned by the organisation, heaping rewards on them for work the boss threatened out of the regular employee. They learn this behaviour from their superiors in a vicious cycle of bad management that has ultimately been rewarded. These bosses are objectively bad, and dealing with them successfully may differ between promotion and being slowly phased out of the company.
Let’s look at some measures you can take to deal with a bad boss in the most professional manner.
1. Making a decision whether to go or continue
This is, of course, the very first step in learning how to deal with a bad boss. It is very much your decision whether to continue in the work environment or try to extend the proverbial olive branch. If you feel suffocated and uninterested because of your superior, you should leave. If you think that the situation is somewhat salvageable, you can try to continue and take steps to ensure your growth there.
2. Talk to the boss
Having a tête-à-tête with your boss is always a good idea when you feel relations are straining and when your boss is starting to act in a self-serving fashion. You should take care to be polite and professional as you engage in this conversation, and try to tell your boss your exact needs without beating around the bush. Confronting the boss head-on will only be counter-productive in this scenario. You must always try to establish a mentor-disciple relationship with your boss, which will make them understand that you need the guidance and experience they provide.
This conversation will also help you identify your boss’s motivation which in turn can give you valuable insight into what they expect from an employee.
3. Never let it affect your work
Your boss may give you a hard time, but the key to staying ahead in that race is to complete your projects promptly and adhere to deadlines. This will help you maintain a good rapport with other managers and gives your boss even lesser reasons to provide you with a hard time.
Any outward behaviour will shift the power from your hands as you will always be categorised by any false allegations your boss might have propagated among his peers.
4. Set boundaries
In the end, you should have clear markers on where to draw the line with bad bosses. You must learn to distance yourself from outright unacceptable behaviour and approach a senior manager or the HR team if your boss affects you to that extent. In the end, you have to stop supplying them with currency to belittle you and take a stand.
5. Seek a mentor
It is important not to get singled out, especially in a massive corporation. You immediately compromise your boss’s influence over your work by approaching a senior manager whom you respect. Taking up a mentorship also gives you another avenue through which you can gain experience, effectively bypassing your boss in a professionally sound manner.
Having a bad boss is the ultimate deterrent in any corporate, and you must take necessary steps to distance yourself from workplace toxicity, favouritism and belittlement. If you think your boss will not change, a transfer to another department is advised as you must make a decision that best aligns with and supports your goals.