We have all been there: just as when you are about to sleep, your boss calls you asking you to go to your laptop to send an important email. We are constantly bombarded with orders from every angle, and when the situation gets overwhelming, you begin to question your boss leadership skills.
Although we are well aware that our bosses are not present to enable our bad habits and be our new friends for life, we also must recognise that they did not come into our lives as villains.
Bad bosses can come in many kinds – you have those who micromanage you; those who are obtuse; and those who undervalue your contribution to the team. Every single one of them defines their own misery in the workplace. However, each one can also have severe consequences on your self-confidence and eventually your morale at work.
Stories of bad bosses having a lasting effect on employees’ careers have become all too common. What can we say about twentysomethings in this context except their tendency to please as many people as possible to avoid interpersonal conflicts? We push ourselves, but at times, it is inadequate, and we will then have to salvage what is left of our egos from a crippling blow.
It makes you wonder whether these bosses are still working on perfecting their leadership style or born not to lead in the first place. Then you would ask yourself whether or not they are bad at managing people. Instances of unfair treatment and even verbal bullying within the workplace have become all too common within the workplace, and the emerging influence of a big bad boss is anything but fizzled out.
I once had a boss who I had found challenging to work with. She would hand me an assignment, and as I am tinkering with ideas on how to complete it, she would swoop right in and inform me that I was taking too much time. Over time, she would micromanage my workflow to suit her needs rather than allowing me to learn on my own. It did not take long for my self-confidence to crumble and my work morale to drop like a stone. I felt incompetent, and I felt stupid. It came to a point where I am terrified of what she has to say about me and my working style every time we meet.
That experience has led me to a revelation – I want a boss that would inspire the best in me, and I can look up to. Sadly, I have yet to work with a leader of that character. The last thing I want is to work with someone who behaves like Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Panda. We know we are bound to encounter several bad bosses in our career paths, and there is no avoiding them.
So, how to cope with a bad boss?
1. Evaluate your own work and behaviour.
Have a hard, honest look at yourself and do not expect compliments for doing something good at work. This can be challenging to accomplish and harder for your friends to do because of the close relationship they have with you. However, you need to identify where or not there is a problem and if there is, you can begin work on resolving it. Suppose you are pouring out your all, and you believe there may be discrimination or unfair treatment in the workplace. In that case, the next step is to read up on the company’s policies, your employment contract and reporting unfair incidences to the relevant parties.
2. Take the high road.
If you do not like everyone, then not everyone is going to like you. That is a harsh statement to make, but it is true. However, that does not mean you should put yourself in agony just because the person has a set of personality traits that differs significantly from yours. We have no choice but to work with people that we just cannot get along with. If you think gossiping about them makes you feel better, you are wrong; it stains your reputation and your image as a person.
3. Remember your worth and pamper yourself for a job well done.
Just because your boss undervalues or fails to appreciate your work does not mean that nobody else does either. You are full of skills and talents that are waiting to be unleashed. When your boss constantly overlooks your work, it is easy to forget how talented you are. You are on this rock for a reason. Hence, do not punish yourself harshly. Your time to shine will come.
4. The laws of karma are real.
Have you heard of the saying, “What goes around, comes around?” For some, karma is just a life gimmick, but the truth is that karma is a feisty little thing. There are times when I wish it would come into effect quicker, but eventually, we all get what we deserve. Remember where you came from and always be kind to others. That means treating those at the bottom of the corporate ladder with dignity and respect – when you are the boss, failing to do so will lead you to your demise.