We’d all love to have approachable, supportive and understanding managers; those that value us and encourage our growth. Unfortunately, things don’t always work out this way!
Your boss may be a nitpicker, go on extreme power-trips, or even lack competency for the job. Whatever the case may be, you still must perform your job effectively, while also holding your inner peace as the highest priority.
If you find yourself struggling to deal with the world’s most horrible boss, here are a few tips that may help you:
1. Be certain that you aren’t being hypersensitive to constructive managing. It’s easy for anyone to take supervision and criticism negatively. Knowing this, make sure that your boss is truly a “bad boss” and not just an operative one. Take time to observe them, and use the information you gather to assess their objectives. When being supervised, focus on the message, not the delivery. The message helps you reach the goal, delivery acts as an obstacle.
2. Pay attention to where your bosses’ attention frequently goes. This tip will help you pinpoint your bosses’ supervision style. If your boss gives you an assignment and he or she reviews small details thoroughly - this offers insight on how to proactively handle all future tasks.
3. Be effective, not affected. Don’t allow your bosses’ behavior to affect your productivity or treatment of them. Even if you plan on finding other employment, be sure to maintain successful output. Doing the opposite will only intensify your bosses’ unhelpful behaviors. Remember, you are not responsible for how others act, but you are responsible for how you respond.
4. Keep a paper trail. When dealing with a horrible boss it’s important to keep record of everything! Work requests should be retained for your records, as potential complaints from your manager may arise. Always cover yourself – be prepared.
5. Act as a counselor. One of the best ways to handle a heated disagreement is to use basic counseling skills. Paraphrase, summarize, clarify, and reflect what your boss is telling you. This is called active listening; the go-to technique that lets others know that you hear, understand and validate their concerns. This method also prevents an adverse disruption of your energy.
6. Set limits and address important issues. Choose your battles wisely. Not all of your bosses’ nitpicking is worth addressing. However, if you encounter a situation with a confrontational boss, do not ignore the situation. Workplace bullying is never ok. Communicate your concerns to a trusted colleague or senior management that will support and help you address your concerns. It is unhealthy to dread going work, or to be consumed by work stress due to mistreatment and intimidation. If this occurs, consider a change in departments or employment. Your work is most successful when in a healthy environment!
Written by Brianna Colbert, MA, LLPC.