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When Your Boss Is Terrible


Do you have a boss that perpetually blames you for his shortcomings, blowing up at you any chance he gets? If so, then you’re in good company. A Gallup poll found that bad bosses are the No. 1 reason people quit their jobs.

when your boss is a yeller

(Photo Credit: mi-Brooke/Flickr)

According to Gallup’s study of over 25 million employees, “52 percent of workers are not engaged, and worse, another 18 percent are actively disengaged in their work.” What’s more, the top two reasons for employee disengagement, according to Gallup’s research, are supervisors who focus on their employees’ weaknesses, and supervisors who completely ignore their employees altogether.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Here are a few more ways to determine whether you’ve fallen victim to a terrible boss:

Blame game. Have you ever been caught completely off-guard by your boss blaming you for something that went awry at work and you had little or nothing to do with? And does this happen quite often? If so, then you can safely diagnose yourself with “bad-boss-atosis,” and, unfortunately, the prognosis looks pretty dismal. Good, supportive bosses tend not to point the finger at their employees because they know it does more harm than good in the long run. If you’re constantly feeling like a punching bag day-in and day-out, then it may be time to have a quick chat with your manager or Human Resources to rectify the situation before it gets any more hostile.

Little to no praise. Terrible bosses rarely ever give anyone else praise but themselves, therefore, no matter how invaluable you are to the company or how awesome your work might be, it will never be good enough for your boss (who is just as miserable as he is selfish). Your superiors are there to give credit where credit is due and also provide constructive criticism when necessary; however, that is rarely the case in the American workplace. You don’t want to feel used or that your work is unnoticed, so address the issue with your boss the next time he decides to steal your spotlight. 

Short fuse. It’s never fun when your boss blows up on you in front of the entire company, making you feel like an even bigger idiot than before. Effectively managing conflict and mistakes is what “separates the men from the boys” in the leadership world. Good leaders (or bosses) are able to put out “fires” with little to no hurt feelings and still manage to produce constructive outcomes.  Robert Sutton, author of The No A**hole Rule, states that, “A series of controlled experiments and field studies in organizations shows that when teams engage in conflict over ideas in an atmosphere of mutual respect, they develop better ideas and perform better.” Furthermore, “these same studies show, however, that when team members engage in personal conflict — when they fight out of spite and anger — their creativity, performance, and job satisfaction plummet.”

Kathi Elster and Katherine Crowley, authors of Working With You Is Killing Me, provide four steps to establishing and maintaining boundaries professionally:

1. Identify exactly who or what is encroaching on your terrain.

2. Assess the options available to you.

3. Communicate what you want in clear, concrete terms.

4. Follow-up with a business tool.

For more tips on dealing with difficult work situations and co-workers, check out K Squared Enterprises‘ website.

Establishing boundaries and clearly communicating your expectations with others you work with, including your boss, is an effective way to encourage a healthy and productive workplace. Holding your tongue when things go wrong in the office will only lead to more dissatisfaction, so bring up such issues with people in authority at your work before the conditions worsen to the point of complete disengagement.

Hopefully, with the information provided above, you can better identify if and when your boss is not respecting your professional boundaries and how to effectively deal with the situation. Just be thankful your boss isn’t Bill Lumbergh from Office Space:

(Video Source: ResoluteProductions/YouTube)

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Have you ever dealt with a terrible boss? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Leah Arnold-Smeets
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