The 1-Minute Therapist: How to Deal with a Bad Boss
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I onced worked at an agency where the owner (we'll call him "Miller" to protect the not-so-innocent) Miller had such crazy mood swings, we jokingly referred to our agency as The Miller and Miller and Miller Agency.
Miller drove everyone nutso. Although the creative work we did was great, morale was low, and thereby exits out were rampant.
Miller is a perfect example of the famous axiom: "People take a job because of the company -- but leave because of bad bosses."
According to management researcher Chandra Louise, 80 percent of the employees who quit their jobs do so because of problems with their bosses.
If you have a bad boss, before you pack up and leave, consider these "Bad Boss Improvement Strategies."
1. Have an honest, brave talk -- with yourself -- not your boss! Fearlessly look at your behavior. Are you inspiring wrath or disrespect? If not, proceed onward.
2. Book your boss for their bad behavior. Get a journal and write a cathartic list of all the bad things your boss did/does -- and how each misdeed impacted your performance -- and others.
3. Rank your list from top outright evil to lesser plain ol' annoying. Pick the top three misdeeds and develop positive, helpful solutions. Edit out sarcasm.
4. Bring your "Problems/Solutions List" to trusted friends and colleagues. Discuss. Edit.
5. Find a "Mentor Boss" to help problem-solve your "Tormentor Boss." In every company there's at least one wise and non-gossip-oriented supervisor who understands company's needs and culture. Revaluate your "P/S List" with them. Edit again.
6. Schedule a meeting with your boss. Consider how there's "SAFETY IN NUMBERS" -- as long as added people you bring with you are "safe" (ie: able to discuss problems in a warm spirit -- not as a "group lynching.") By uniting with trusted, emotionally-balanced colleagues, your presented "P/S list" will have more impact on your boss.
7. Begin your talk by acknowledging how you're sure your boss is completely unaware of his/her actions -- and how you hope this meeting will be positive for all involved. Give your boss a typed-up copy of your "P/S List." Your boss will pay more attention knowing your talk is on documented official record.
8. Don't leave until everyone has appropriate expectations -- and a measurable way to gauge change.
9. Only as an extreme last resort should you report your boss to his/her supervisor or HR. Recognize if you do, you'll run the risk of being pegged a trouble-maker -- attracting new stresses.
Karen Salmansohn is an ex Senior VP ad creative director (at age 27) who left her job to pursue her passion of writing -- and is now a best selling author with over 1 million books sold, with titles like How to Be Happy Dammit ; Enough Dammit; How to Succeed in Business Without a Penis ; Gut: How to Think from the Middle to Get to the Top .