How to Deal with a Bad Boss

How to Deal with a Bad Boss

Truth be told, we’ve all had at least one bad boss at one point or another. In most cases, a bad boss is just something we complain about to our friends and coworkers. But did you know that a bad boss can have damaging effects on your physical health and professional career? As a matter of fact, 3 out of every 4 employees say the worst and most stressful thing about their job is their boss.

With bills to pay and mouths to feed, quitting a job because you have a bad boss is not an option many can afford. It’s helpful to remember that while you may not be able to control your boss’ behavior, you can control your own. Take a look below for some of the most common types of bad bosses to be on the lookout for and a few tips on how to deal with each type.

The Micromanager
My way or the highway – this is the Micromanager. They want to read every email and need 24/7 updates on what you’re working on. Their constant hovering and eagle eye surveillance leaves you little room to do anything without their approval. They can be difficult to work with and may even leave you questioning your own skills and abilities.

Try this: Micromanagers crave control – so give it to them. Check in frequently and ask lots of questions so you know exactly what their expectations are. Soon you’ll be able to anticipate requests and maybe even win their trust.

The BFF Boss
The BFF Boss is more concerned about being liked by colleagues than about actually getting work done (think Michael Scott from The Office). They suck up most of your day with non-work related activities and/or may want to hang out frequently outside of work.

Try this: The looming fear of being disliked means that the BFF Boss is terrible at giving directions and providing structure. Set up boundaries so you can both maintain an appropriate level of professionalism and respect for one another. Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ to pau hana drinks or to ignore their Facebook friend request. It’s okay to be friendly, just remember to be consistent with your boundaries.

The Bully Boss
If you thought you left the bully in the school yard, think again. Like the school bully who stole your lunch money, the Bully Boss will use their authority to intimidate others/you into getting what they want. It may be difficult to speak your mind or explain ideas when working for a bully boss. They frequently make decisions that feed their ego and may put you down in front of others.

Try this: Be vigilant. What pushes their buttons and sets off their unruly behavior? Identify those triggers and steer clear at all costs. With ego hungry personalities, consider giving them credit when possible. If their behavior has reached a point of abuse or is downright unacceptable, seek immediate action and report it to the appropriate individual.

The Robot
It’s all about numbers to the Robot Boss. This type of boss makes decisions based solely on numbers and facts. While this is great for productivity and efficiency purposes, it’s not effective in driving and leading a team. The Robot Boss fails to make emotional connections with their employees—you may find it difficult to stay motivated when you are treated as just a number.

Try this: Find out what your boss values and use it to your advantage. If they value percentages and statistics, make sure to support all your work/ideas with exactly that. Not only will this catch their attention, it will also be solid proof of all your hard work. Put a face to your name (or number) – skip that email and politely schedule face-to-face time instead.

The Workaholic
Are you constantly bombarded with last minute assignments? Do you get Saturday emails from your boss impatiently waiting to be answered? If so, you may have a Workaholic Boss. They demand the unreasonable and frequently push employees over the edge. Overtime and late nights at the office are typical when working for a Workaholic Boss.

Try this:  Your boss may be workaholic, but he/she isn’t a mind reader. If you’re beginning to feel overwhelmed with all the work, speak up. Determine what your limits are and provide concrete solutions on how to manage the workload. If the demands or time at the office begin to creep up again, it’s up to you to watch the clock because chances are your boss is not.

For the most part, bad bosses aren’t bad people – they’re just in the wrong type of role. And even if your boss does fall into one of these categories, their management style may work for you depending on your work habits. Nevertheless, if it’s not working out with your boss, remember to never retaliate or burn bridges on your way out—especially here in Hawaii where everyone knows each other and your old boss could be your new boss’ cousin. Do your best to leave every job on good terms.


Posted on May 13, 2015

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