Well i must admit that I had my fair share of bad bosses. What was my bad boss doing ? Well basically he lied, exaggerated, never gave me credit (or always thought of finding bad things in good outcomes) etc.
I was lucky that I was working in a matrix management system (in that, my day-to-day tasks were handled by this “bad boss”, but I also had a “good boss” that did not have a say in the overall situation – he handled mostly holidays etc).
Since some of you, reading this, are not lucky enough to have the good boss to help you out, here is what I have learned from this good boss (I will pass the b*llshit found on Google in that “you need to make sure he is bad…” – for me he was clearly a bad boss)
1. Always have a paper trail
This is basically always making sure that any conversation you have with a bad boss (that also lies) is to have everything on email! There are no ways of him to say “i did not say that”, “you did not understand what i was saying” etc.
After a meeting where you agreed on something or he has told you something, always send an email where you say “As we discussed, we agreed on the following: …“. Of course this situation will make him more cautious when he is telling you stuff, because he now knows you are “prepared” and it will appear on email.
2. Do an excellent job
Even if you know that he will try to find mistakes in what you did, his bosses (if you do a great job) will see what you do (or make them notice if they do not know) so that he cannot just throw lies around.
3. Don’t let it affect you – always think of the end goal
I know this is hard, as this is why you were searching for “bad boss” on google. I know of a situation, when a colleague had the same experience, but it got to him (he was stressed, anxious etc). How do you do that ? Well basically always think of your end goal.
4. Thinking of your end goal
If you do not have a goal, i have a great article on setting goals on this blog.
Keep in mind that you are not working for a company to just have a job, you must have a career goal. Mine, was to become after my current position, a manager. I was just moved from engineering to a team leader position and was managing 20+ people.
When I had to deal with the bad boss, this thought was always in my head “I have to work with this a**hole for 2 years to get the experience I need to further advance in my career. I am NOT letting this guy (yes it was a guy) to interfere in my career goals (keep in mind it was not easy for me to find another leadership position after you have been in a leadership position for only 6 months – so quitting was not an option in my head).
5. Search for the great things in your job
As i mentioned earlier I was a team leader of 20+ people. What I loved in that position is that I had built a good team that was growing and performing. I always loved the moment when one of them managed to fix a situation that they couldn’t a few months back.
I also enjoyed all our one-to-ones when we could talk about what they did good, what they can improve on and how is their life in general.
I created professional and personal connection with them. Helping them and seeing them grow, helped me deal with this bad boss.
Also the thought of me leaving and them being left alone with this “bad boss” was not a thing that i letting to happen soon (most of them were juniors).
When I left the position (I left because a big opportunity and not because of the “bad boss”) is when almost all of them were skilled enough so that the “bad boss” was not in a position to intimidate them (they could have easily found another job now, as their skills grew and recruiters were always contacting them on Linkedin)
6. Leave the company
If the boss you have is really stressing you out, then by all means, just leave. If all the above 5 points above do NOT help you, then I recommend leaving (but always find a job first).
For me, this was always easy to do. I was a good engineer, that could always find another job with the same pay, but I was not letting this “bad boss” stand in my way (see point 4)
As a remark, if you leave, leave it with style and grace – leave your department and office in better shape than you received it.
What are you thoughts ? How did you handle your “bad boss” experience?
P.S.: You learn 2 things from dealing with a bad boss: 1. How NOT to be a boss; 2. You learn how to deal with this situation if it ever arrives again.