In a perfect world, we’d all get along with our boss and we’d make a sizeable income doing what we loved doing. But in reality, sometimes we end up working under someone who has a leadership style that just doesn’t work.
As adults, we realize that it’s impossible to get along with every single person we cross paths with – and that’s okay. But when it’s your boss it’s a different story because you obviously want to be on their good side.
Maybe your boss is giving you a hard time because there are things about your performance that they’d like you to improve on. Or perhaps, your boss has been under a lot of stress lately (in their personal or professional life) – not that this is a valid excuse to take it out on you. Or, maybe their leadership style is not one that you work well with. There can be a variety of different circumstances. Regardless, dealing with a bad boss is inarguably one of the most stressful situations you can encounter in the workplace.
Here are a couple of steps you can take to handle the situation in a professional manner:
1. Don’t take things personally
A bad boss is just that – a bad boss.
What’s the best piece of advice you could ever receive? Don’t take anything too personally. This sentiment applies to both your professional and personal life.
Remember, your boss is only human. Like the rest of us, they have their good days and their bad days. And you can’t even begin to imagine how long their to-do list must be compared to yours!
Following an unpleasant encounter with your boss, don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Always keep your cool. Give yourself enough time to overcome your emotions and then reflect on the situation with a rational mind. When we take things too personally, we tend to get caught up in our emotions, which can cloud our judgment and trigger a response that’s far from ideal.
The main takeaway here is that you need to reframe your mindset to look at the situation differently. Understand that there are various factors that could be contributing to your boss’s behaviour, and you might not even be one of them!
2. Reflect on the situation
If it feels like your boss is treating you differently than the rest of your coworkers, then the first thing you need to do is to reflect on the situation. There’s really no way you can come up with a solution to a problem without getting to the root of it. Ultimately, you want to figure out whether your boss’s attitude towards you is actually reasonable or it’s entirely unwarranted.
Think about your last few encounters with your boss. Was there some truth to the conversation? For instance, did they provide you with feedback related to your work ethic – and was it something that you could actually improve on?
If the underlying issue is your work ethic, then, of course, the simple solution is to step up your game. But if there’s really no logic behind your boss’s behaviour, then you’ve got a much different problem to address.
In essence, a great leader is someone who genuinely cares about the people on their team, and they will recognize the value in fostering a positive work atmosphere to support their growth and development. If your boss is someone who brings negativity into the workplace, then you might actually want to rethink your current situation, in terms of whether or not it’s the right cultural fit for you.
3. Don’t indulge in gossip
This one might seem obvious, but it still needs to be said. Avoid drama at all costs. Steer clear of all the gossip sessions that go on around the office.
Engaging in a bit of small talk might seem harmless, but there’s always the possibility that something you say gets taken completely out of context and blown out of proportion. Or worse, something that’s said to a close work colleague in strict confidence might somehow make its way back to your boss.
Following an unpleasant encounter with your boss, you’re likely going to want to vent about it – just don’t do it. When you’re dealing with a bad boss, the last thing you want is for them to hear that you’ve said something negative about them.
4. Moving on
At the end of the day, your mental health comes first! Working with a bad boss can bring you a lot of unnecessary stress, which can take a huge toll on you. If it’s come to a point where you absolutely dread the thought of interacting with your boss, or you even feel uncomfortable speaking up about work-related matters, then it might be time to look elsewhere. Many employees don’t leave jobs, they leave bad leadership. Whether you look to join a new team within the same organization or looking for a new role altogether, sometimes it’s better to move on.
Now don’t get us wrong – in life, there are certain instances where we should face adverse conditions head-on… but a bad boss isn’t one of them. It’s important though to understand that your boss’s behaviour isn’t any sort of indication of your worth and that you’re bound to find an organization with a much better cultural fit! And at the end of the day, you’re learning valuable skills in dealing with difficult people, communicating professionally and looking out for yourself and your own well-being.