5 Ways To Make A Bad Boss Better

bad boss improveThere are so many variations of bad bosses. The micromanager. The boss who throws you under the bus to try and cover up his own mistakes. The yeller who likes to inspire fear.

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Sadly, bad bosses are not rare. So what do you do when you find yourself working for one? Sure, you can quit, but if you don't have a trust fund or wealthy mate, you should view the boss-worker relationship like any other challenge -- one that can be managed and overcome. "People make bosses out to be everything," says Wendy Kaufman, the CEO of Balancing Life's Issues, an Ossining, N.Y.-based corporate training firm. "The reality is they are not. When you know that, you can win the psychological game."

How can you make the bad boss better? Here are five tips, culled from Kaufman and the writings of Bob Sutton, author of "The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't." (Sutton was unavailable for an interview.)

1. Put on your armor. Disengage emotionally. Don't take your manager's bad behavior personally. He's probably a jerk with everyone. When you are "comfortably numb," his insults and misdeeds won't hurt.

2. Stay out of the gutter. It's inappropriate for the boss to get nasty. Likewise, it's not smart for you to do the same (though that's probably what he wants). Step back and say, "I am looking forward to having this conversation at another time, but not in this way."

3. Don't hide. Bad bosses can be demoralizing, but keep doing your job and demonstrating your competencies. Superiors will notice. Colleagues will see who behaves badly at meetings and is deserving of respect.

4. Keep a record. Keep a journal of your boss' misdeeds. Save the emails. A paper trail will become crucial if your manager tries to railroad you out of your job.

5. Keep in mind the big picture. Work isn't everything. Enjoy your family, friends and time off. If, at the end of the day, you can take pleasure in your personal life, all the rotten things your boss says or does won't matter quite so much.



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Dealing With Bad Bosses


Filed under: Bosses, Co-Workers
Dan Fastenberg

Dan Fastenberg

Associate Editor

Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.

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laparkuh411

I'm surprised they left out the most obvious. Sleep with his/her spouse. Work will be so much better knowing you've one-upped your boss in that aspect.

April 22 2012 at 2:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
toddisit

If the behavior is only verbal, not much you can do for a paper trail other than relay the behavior verbally or write down what happened, but personally I have had no recourse, same with bad employees. Often, the employer takes the side of whoever is behaving in this fashion or is not aware of the extent of the problem., or thinks since they are the manager, they must be right and you must be wrong since you are the employee being supervised. Managers are probably more essential to any business so it takes a good deal of screw ups to force them out or to change.

I don't think you can make a bad boss better in the sense that he/she will change. They are either good or bad and that's it. Deal with it or leave, those are the only real choices in most instances. Whistle blowing will usually backfire and you will take the blame even if you are right.

April 22 2012 at 11:57 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
sllydrake

Our boss is an introvert and can't even hold a productive meeting because of it. He is a maintenance leader for the entire state and people say the only reason he got the job is because he is a "YES MAN" to the vice president. All his subordinates talk about him and ridicule him behind his bac because of his poor leadership skills.

April 22 2012 at 11:49 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
stevegaranchor

ALSO RECORD THEM.

April 22 2012 at 11:39 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
stevegaranchor

STAND UP TO HIM NOT IN A ANGER SPIRIT, DO NOT FEAR THEM, THATS WHAT THEY WANT FOR YOU TO FEAR THEM.

April 22 2012 at 11:36 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
searay0301

Well let's see what one of the problems is with trying to turn a bad boss good? It wouldn't be so bad if there wasn't another one coming right behind that one. If the boss was the owner. I would say move on. In larger companies I see the problem as the managing staff up the ladder. Your immediate boss will just be replaced by another one. What constitutes a bad boss? I'll list just a few. Lack of people skills(how to work with your staff to optimize the job that has to be done), understanding what the job being done is ( this one I have seen a lot whereby supervisor hasn't a clue as to what job is. Typical excuse you will get is that they don't want to "micro manage".), the bully attitude (look at me I am power. you have to listen to me). Bottom line. Things won't get better until everyone pitches in. Do your job with a purpose (not just for the pay check). Work at being positive in what you do. You will become a better person.

April 22 2012 at 9:13 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
kathleen1969

What if your boss is the manager, the H.R., the superviser, and the owner?

April 20 2012 at 11:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
florenceyall39

"Keep a record"....might be a good idea & even be helpful when the time comes to use it, however where I work, we have NO H.R on site & my loud mouth, UNprofessional LOW class manager gets away scott free with her antics.. the entire office can hear her loud rude mouth.. rumor has it she has been reported.. but .. she is STILL here... apparently H.R. has HER back and NOT ours.

April 20 2012 at 1:17 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to florenceyall39's comment
diandollion

I learned the hard way that HR is there for the employer and not the employee.
They will su.ck you, by acting like they are on your side, only to turn your words around to the advantage of the company.
Good luck to you.

April 20 2012 at 1:51 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply

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