The subject of bad bosses has come up several times for me in the last 2 – 3 weeks. Some of the stories I have heard include:
- a person who changes jobs frequently because they don’t like their boss
- a person who is a very conscientious and hard worker but is constantly frustrated with the poor work habits of a coworker that aren’t addressed by the boss
- a person who is in a job they really don’t like with a boss they really don’t respect but they stay because the money is good
Can you identify now or in the past with any of these examples? Almost everyone will have a bad boss at some point. Unfortunately, many times the bad bosses outweigh the good. You might only have one or two good bosses in a lifetime. That is a sad observation.
Most of us spend more time at work than we do at home. One would hope, with that being the case, that we could at least spend time with people we like and respect. Unless you are the owner and make all the hiring decisions, that is probably a tough expectation.
When people tell me their bad boss stories and ask for advice, I generally respond with choices they have to make:
- Decide whether you like the company and the job well enough to work with a bad boss.
- Explore whether or not you feel your boss would be receptive to a discussion about your concerns. If that doesn’t work, decide whether or not it would be productive to discuss your concerns with H.R.
- Look for another job.
A blunt response would be: get on board or leave. That sounds very harsh but sometimes breaking it down can force a decision or action on the part of the concerned coworker, friend or family member. Complaining about it to everyone only keeps you frustrated and feeling trapped.
When you have a good boss, you know it. You feel it. You would follow them into battle. You have their back and they have yours. You feel encouraged and appreciated. You work harder, not only for yourself but for them.
Not every boss can be a good boss. They may have never had a good example to follow or may not have the temperament for the role. You, however, always have choices. Stay, Approach or Leave. The last two require you to be brave and move out of your comfort zone. Sometimes the choice for the moment may be to stay where you are to support your family. At the end of the day you have to live with your choices so think them through.
If you ever get the chance to be the boss – learn from your own past bosses – what you want to repeat and what you would do differently. Don’t repeat the Bad Boss cycle. And if you have a good boss – go in tomorrow and thank them and tell them specifically why you admire and respect them. Bosses need encouragement too.
Wishing you a good boss,