Bad Bosses (Part 1)


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I know that not all of us have to opportunity to work for great people at every position that we hold over our careers. In fact, about half of Americans have quit a job to get away from a bad manager according to a study by Gallup.  Half of Americans have quit, how many more do we think are out there who would quit if it wasn’t for the stability, the pay, the necessity to have a job, the fear of leaving and so many other variables?  With statistics like that, some may argue that it is just a way of life and we should learn to put up with it, but I disagree.

This topic gets me a little fired up because I absolutely cannot stand a bad managers and even more invigorating is the people who know they have terrible managers and choose to do nothing about it.  I would consider myself extremely lucky to have the position that I do at work and be a part of a team that I highly value – bosses included.  However, I have seen it time and time again with my peers in other companies or close friends at their place of employment and it just has to stop.  When I talk about being a bad manager, I’m not talking about the person who is trying really hard to do right by everyone and is coming up short.  I’m not talking about the manager that comes in early and leaves late to try and help their team get ahead when everyone is drowning.  And I am definitely not talking about the leader who wants to help their employees grow, but can’t do so due to restrictions the company has placed on them.  I am talking about the really bad ones that exhibit some or all of these attributes:

  • Self-Oriented
  • Stubborn
  • Overly Demanding
  • Impulsive
  • Interruptive

Expert Lynn Taylor talks about these and other attributes in one of her books dedicated to comparing bad managers to toddlers. Furthermore, Time even posted an article about signs you have a bad managers with a few more characteristics.

So where do we go from here?

My biggest goal when I meet people who I know are in bad situations, is to help them identify that they are in fact working for a terrible boss.  Some people seems to avert their eyes or just blindly accept their fate, but there is so much more out there.  Identifying that you have a terrible boss is step one, step two is to do something about it.  Ultimately, I know that leaving is the best way to get out and find yourself a better opportunity – trust me, they are out there! But when that is not an option, figure out ways to confront the issue.  Use the HR recommended strategy of documenting issues and talking to your boss about it. Keep records of your conversations and action items – and then follow up with how they went.  Even if this does absolutely nothing to change the behavior of your manager, it may show you a pattern of issues that you were not aware of before.

I don’t want to sit here and encourage everyone hyper analyze their supervisors and look for reasons to quit their jobs, I just want us all to be able to evaluate the situation we are in and make a plan accordingly.  There is absolutely no reason we should compromise and stick around in a bad situation. Remember, there is more to life then just your job, so find a career that allows you to be happier and live the life you deserve.

Do you have a bad boss experience? Leave a comment about it.


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