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Nine Ways to Handle a Bad Boss


Some people don't quit their job, they quit their boss.

I once worked at an advertising agency where the owner (we'll call him Miller) had such drastic crazy mood swings, we jokingly referred to our agency as The Miller and Miller and Miller Agency.

Miller drove everyone crazy. Although the creative work we did was great, morale was low, so 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% 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 you can honestly say: "It's not me, it's them," 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 3 misdeeds and develop positive, helpful solutions. Edit 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." Every company has at least one wise and non-gossip-oriented supervisor who understands the company's needs and culture. Re-evaluate 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 the added people you bring in to the meeting with you are "safe" That means they should be able to discuss problems in a warm, open 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 the 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 a supervisor or HR. Recognize if you do, you'll run the risk of being pegged a trouble-maker – attracting new stresses.

How have you handled isses with problem bosses? Weigh in on The Exchange
No positions in stocks mentioned.

© Karen Salmansohn

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