bad boss with subordinate

How to Deal with a Bad Boss

In my professional experience, it is always beneficial to get employee feedback on company initiatives. It never occurred to me that there might be leaders who don’t see things the same way. A recent article from  proved me wrong. 

I was surprised by the readers’ response. Many people indicated that they have a boss who’s not interested in their opinion, on any matter. 

Reading through the comments, it occurred to me that there are two elements people focus on with feedback: The day-to-day interactions between an individual and their manager that impact performance, and personal traits of leadership that drive the individual crazy.

The latter feedback is much harder to give because it can be personal, but it is necessary. 

A study by Life Meets Work found that 56% of American workers find their boss mildly or highly toxic. While that number may be exaggerated, it considers different types of bad bosses that create a poor working environment – often because of their personal habits. Some examples? The bully, the micromanager, the workaholic, the by-the-numbers boss, and the divisive boss, just to name just a few.

Here are some tips that will help you navigate many of those manager relationships:

  • Regardless of your circumstances, perform at the highest level possible. In the end, your relationship with your boss doesn’t matter very much – job performance is your number one priority.   
  • Work on your social intelligence skills. In business, soft skills such as social intelligence help individuals at all levels communicate more effectively. Several areas fall under this umbrella, but I want to focus on just two:
  • Social Styles: I have found that identifying the best way to communicate with someone reduces conflict and increases productivity. 
  • Emotional Intelligence: The ability to recognize, understand, and manage our own emotions makes it easier to recognize, understand, and influence the emotions of others.

Of course, other techniques can be used to make your communication skills more effective. I recently picked up the book Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss, a former hostage negotiator, and it discussed some interesting methods. Some of my favorites: 

  • You don’t need to win every engagement, just more than everyone else.  
  • Have an exit strategy – No one wants to work in an organization where they are being mistreated.
  • Even if you’re currently employed, continue to work on your network. Tools like LinkedIn can be highly valuable: keep your profile updated, whether you’re a total newbie, just started a new job, or are exploring new opportunities.

Even during COVID-19, you can schedule 15-minute virtual coffee meetings with people you know or new connections to continue building your relationships. Many networking groups are still meeting virtually; if you don’t already belong to one, now is the time to join! 

Bottom line? Don’t stay in a toxic environment. Work on your communication skills and talk to your boss about why you’re unhappy. If you don’t think that’s possible, explore your options. Even during a pandemic, there are ways out.

Not sure where to start? Check out my fully-virtual Social Styles course. Learn about social style and versatility at your own pace, and come out a better communicator at the end. Reach out to learn more: (484) 272-5138.