Thanks to Subi Nanthivarman, Founder and CEO at Stridez Pty Ltd (Start-up Company) for writing this free guest post about Bad Bosses. You can read more about Subi at the bottom of this post.
It is not often we get to select who we work for. The closest you get to pick your boss is when you interview for a new job. In many cases you may not feel you have the luxury of turning down a job opportunity because of the future boss.
Even when you have the ideal boss it is no guarantee that they will be around for long. Things can change quite fast in an organisation and bosses come and go. There are times everyone has to cope with a “bad boss” Knowing strategies to handle such bosses will help you cope with the situation.
Table of contents
What are the types of “Bad Bosses” and how do you handle them?
1. Moody Boss
Some bosses have mood swings. These can range from a slight change in demeanour to severe grumpiness.
If you have such a boss it is good to observe patterns when they get moody. This should alert you to when you need to be careful when interacting with them. It is best to avoid them when they are in such a mood. In the event you have to interact with them at this time stay calm and don’t react to their mood. Respond with facts in a measured fashion. If you have been working with them for a while you may get to know what causes these mood swings. Try not to press these buttons when you interact with them. E.g. they cannot stand any inaccuracies in calculations. Make sure you check and double check your work before you submit it to them. Finally make sure that the cause of the moodiness is not you. If that is the case you will need to fix what is irritating them.
2. Indecisive Boss
These bosses do not want to make a decision. They may fear that consequences or do not like to be accountable for a decision. This would be particularly frustrating if you need their decision to finish your work. Make sure you define the issue and the decision that need to be made clearly. Look at how to break the decision down to manageable chucks so the boss is not too overwhelmed by the size of the decision. Help your boss by being a sounding board. This way they will feel supported and confident to make the decision.
3. Bullying Boss
Unfortunately such bosses are not uncommon. These bosses look for vulnerability to bully you further. Be confident and stand up to them. Look them in the eye and put forward your points. Stay positive. If they see any weakness they will step up the bullying. Keep your networks alive. Bullies like to isolate you so that you feel helpless. Make sure you document the instances that you are bullied. You have to be careful about going to others with a complaint. If the organisation has a track record of ignoring such behaviour than it may not be advisable to report the bullying. On the other hand if the organisation is serious about stamping out such behaviour, you should go to the HR department .You need to make sure you protect yourself and your future.
4. Missing in Action Boss
Some bosses are constantly out of the office. This does not mean that you are in charge. You will have to keep them informed about key issues that have occurred in their absence. You will need to jump in and fill the gap if the need arises. But be careful not to let your own work slide as a result of this.
5. Hasn’t a Clue Boss
Bosses sometimes do not have competence in all facets of their job. A good example is a general manager who has minimal knowledge of taxation. You will need to explain the key elements to them highlighting any Pros or Cons. You will have to take the lead and ensure your boss in supported in this area.
6. Glory Grabber Boss
Some bosses unfortunately do not give credit where it is due. You do not want to end up not having the kudos you deserve. Make sure you are open about the projects and ideas that you are working on. Document the role you played in these projects. Take the lead in celebrating team successes and other people’s successes. This will encourage kudos being given in a more open fashion.
7. No Back Bone Boss
Some bosses hate conflict or having tough conversations. As a result problems fester in the team. If you are caught up in this situation get all your facts correct. Ask for a meeting to discuss the issue. Presume that your boss has a reason not to have addressed the situation. Listen to their side of the story before you present them with your case. Give them some time to deal with the situation. If it is still not resolved you may look at dealing with the situation yourself.
8. “Throw you under the Bus” Boss
Unfortunately there are some bosses who deflect blame onto their staff to save themselves. When this happens ask them to explain to you why this is your fault. You may also ask for a meeting to work out how you can prevent such a situation in the future. Build your own networks so that others also know your capabilities.
If you do have the misfortune to have a “Bad Boss” don’t gossip about their shortcomings to others in the organisation. This may very well be the blessing in disguise that helps you grow in your career. If you find that it is affecting how you work and your attitude it may be time for a change.
About Subi Nanthivarman
Subi is an accredited coach of the Institute of Executive Coaching Leadership and has completed a course on Authentic Leadership at Harvard Business School. Subi is a Chartered Accountant with sound commercial and operational experience which covered functions such as supply chain, quality and commercial management. She has also managed large and diverse teams as a senior executive in the Pharmaceutical industry.
Subi used her knowledge and the experience she acquired together with her ability to understand others’ perspectives to develop the content for Stridez.
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Subi Nanthivarman is the Founder and CEO at Stridez Pty Ltd (Start-up Company), an accredited coach of the Institute of Executive Coaching Leadership, a Chartered Accountant with sound commercial and operational experience.