Having a great boss is a blessing one can only fully appreciate after experiencing what the opposite is like. It’s an unusual person who won’t admit that there is a trait or two – or a hundred, in some cases – that frustrates, annoys or distresses them about their direct supervisor. While some of it is just simple misunderstanding of the boss’s directives and constructive feedback or, maybe, an exaggerated reaction to his or her quirks, in other cases a boss may actually be a difficult person to work under, and a poor leader. When the boss is “bad” it is an extremely stressful task to operate effectively, since one can only say so much to someone who has ascendancy over his or her rank. Yet taking no action is not an option either; bad or incompetent leaders can seriously impede or even damage their employees’ careers, not to mention that they make people just plain miserable.
Inadequate, incompetent, unpleasant, unfair, a bully, a control freak, a bumbling fool (and the list goes on) – these are only a few types of bosses who can make the lives of their subjects unbearable. How do they do it? In a million different ways, and sometimes with gusto. They tend to display the following behaviors and qualities:
Dealing with an inadequate supervisor can be trying, to say the least. It has been previously estimated that employees spend on average 19.2 hours during the week worrying about “what a boss says or does”. According to psychologist Robert Hogan, 75% of adult employees credit their boss for work-related stress. In fact, many find the stress to be too much to handle: results of a Gallup poll which encompassed more than a million U.S. workers identify “having a bad boss” as a number one reason employees quit their jobs.
That said, in a good number of cases the situation is not as desperate as it may seem. Many employees don’t realize that they do have a certain degree of influence and control in order to better cope with a difficult boss. It is possible to exercise that power by developing a set of “managing-up” skills. So, before jumping the gun and looking for a new place of employment, try testing the following strategies on your boss: