Google the phrase “My boss is an idiot” and 853,000 results come up. Think they’re all working for the same guy?
These days there are websites where you can post horror stories about your boss, commiserate with other long-suffering subordinates or even e-mail your boss an anonymous letter telling him or her just how ineffectual he or she is.
Seems there’s an epidemic of bad bosses out there.
And whether you have one, have to interact with one in another department or even possibly are seen as one, some key coping strategies are a must.
Check out the various types of bad bosses out there and your best survival skills for each:
1. A credit-hogging boss
Everything you do well somehow gets credited to the boss. That thorough monthly report, that big past due account brought current … it’s all thanks to him or her!
Survival skill: A tactical move may be your best one here. Every time someone compliments a contribution of yours, try to get your boss copied on it, as well as HR or someone in charge of your personnel file, and keep a copy for yourself. A little self-preservation may go a long way to seeing you get credit for your efforts.
2. An incompetent boss
Ever wonder how it’s even possible that your boss even got to be the boss? You may get the feeling this person is doing little more than faking it – and hoping he or she doesn’t get discovered.
Survival skill: It’s not your job to cover for an incompetent boss or supplement the skills he or she lacks (but is being compensated for). Your best bet is to expand your own network within the company, not only so you have trusted sounding boards but so that your own competence gets more widely known throughout the company. You don’t want your own performance to get lumped in with your sub-par boss’s.
3. A favorite-playing boss
It’s very obvious who this boss likes best … to everyone in the department. That’s a killer to morale.
Survival skill: Unless you’re the favorite, you probably feel resentful of the staffer or staffers who are. Remember, that’s no prime place to be either. And bosses rarely acknowledge or even see that they’re favoring some over others. So you’re better off working more directly on your own career path. Sit down with him or her to find out what you need to advance your career and how you can go about achieving those goals. It might also help to ask your boss: “What do you consider to be a good employee or what do you value in an employee?” Could give you some valuable insights.
4. A power-hungry boss
You just can’t get out from underneath this boss’s thumb. He or she wants to micromanage at every turn, flexing his or her muscles to remind everyone who’s in charge.
Survival skill: Most often this behavior comes out of insecurity. Ideally, ignoring this behavior is the best route here. Not always easy to do, though. Another idea? Ask plenty of questions, but not in a challenging way. “Deferring” to the boss’s authority now and then boosts the self-confidence a bit and at the same time sends the subtle message that no one knows everything.
Is there any type of bad boss we missed? Tell us about it here.