Let me be blunt this bullshit of dealing with a horrible Boss using specific skills such as “I” messages, or taking deep breaths, or putting yourself in his shoes, or speaking positive affirmations are useless 90 percent of the time, and at this point, you will do nothing of the sort.

                                                      Why?  

Because when you are working for a horrible Boss, sorry to say he doesn’t care about your career ambitions, if your family has food on the table, if your kids’ college tuition is paid, or if you are losing sleep. Call this article deception, persuasive, ill-advised, insensitive, but make sure you give it its proper function, and that is stop caring for your horrible Boss’ needs.

There should be a measure of sanity for organizations to thrive, and the most significant factor that threatens your high performance is a problematic Boss.  Your chances of having a heart attack increase by a whopping 50 percent.  And for those of you who say you haven’t had a lousy Boss, bravo!  But trust me, at some point, you will.

However, let me define what a crappy Boss is.  I am not talking about the Boss who has a total of 20 shitty days; It’s the self-centered, rude, and disrespectful Boss who mistreats you 365 days.  You might say, who works 365 days? When you work for a horrible Boss, you work more than that because there’s a good chance that your inept Boss will make your life crazy during your off days.   

You might find yourself complaining to friends and family, you might struggle to fight off anxiety at the thought of dealing with him again, or worse, you might turn inward doing destructive behaviors which not only hurt yourself but those who care about you. 

“After studying Idiot Bosses for nearly two decades, I finally understand why females in certain species eat their young,” wrote author John Hoover in his book How to Work for an Idiot: Survive  & thrive…without killing your Boss.”  

Author Beverly D. Flaxington wrote, “Depending on what research you review, the numbers could be as low as 50% to as high as 75% on the number of employees who quit their jobs not because of the job itself, or the company or a lack of opportunity, but because of their Boss. Dealing with a difficult boss is demanding at best and emotionally stressful at worst.”

Maybe you feel exhausted and the only option is to commit career suicide by telling your Boss how he fits the perfect description of a jerk, or worse, you throw in the towel and leave the company failing to recognize the financial impact on your family or pension when you retire.

Well, don’t fret; I got your back.  The fact is, your boss’ micromanagement, anger-ridden, and outright bully behaviors can be somewhat tamed, and you can thrive in a toxic workspace while maintaining your self-worth, integrity, and competency. Above all getting the job done is essential.   And the following tips will keep you on track…

 1. Be Observant, But Never Outshine Your Boss

If you want to get harassed to the point of being fired, demoted, or passed over for a promotion, a solid game plan to achieve this is to outshine your Boss and prove him what he is—incompetent.  A high percentage of nasty Bosses are inherently egotistical, insecure, and psychologically messed up. 

While we all have doubts and are less confident in certain areas, bad Bosses are riddled with low self-esteem.  So, as irritating as it is, you must always make them feel superior. If they come up with a dumb suggestion (which most often times they do), praise their so-called cleverness and a higher level of intelligence.    

Pay attention to your Boss’s modus operandi.  Suppose they work too hard at a particular skill such as fake charm.  In that case, play to his vanity by tweaking your behavior just a bit, and this can make the difference between a hellish experience rather than a mild irritation in the workplace.

2. Be Thorough In Your Job But Not Too Much Where Your Boss Sees You As Flawless

Play down your talents somewhat, especially if your Boss lacks the same skills.  Those who worked for a psychologically healthy Boss who appreciated you and found ways to capitalize on your talents know how motivated you felt.  

Yet, when the horrible Boss took over, you somehow found yourself in danger of being fired for the same work in which you were praised in the past. 

I admit this step is challenging; you want to be thorough in your work, and you can’t afford to show a lack of knowledge. Reducing the quality of your work will cause unwanted friction between you and your Boss, especially if you are not ready to leave the job.  

It’s a lose-lose situation. But the best advice is: get the job done with speed and accuracy.  You’re better off avoiding unnecessary excuses in falling behind so your Boss doesn’t have ammunition to build a case against you.  Remember, you don’t want the lingering image that you were so incompetent that your Boss had to teach you how to tie your shoelaces.   

3. Take Note Of Your Triggers

To your horrible Boss’ credit, a universal factor we all face is triggers that can show up in unhealthy ways. By refusing to acknowledge your blind spots, this can play against you on the job.  It’s your responsibility to arm yourself with a clear understanding of what you bring to the situation.  So, when your Boss is behaving unstable, you will avoid the bait of counter-attack.  This will also help you to give your Boss credit if he’s truly trying to change his behavior for the better. 

4. Avoid Going To Your Boss’ Boss It’s A Waste Of Time

First and foremost, if you don’t take a damn thing from this article, hammer this step into your toolbox: be careful of going to your Boss’ Boss.  98 percent of the time, your Boss’s Boss will take his side.   A significant issue with horrible Bosses is that many of them are under-qualified for the job; they probably got the position because their Boss was physically attracted to them or doing them a favor because of race or gender.

Regardless, your Boss’ Boss is to blame, at times, because they were too lazy to do the difficult work to find a qualified person who brought the intangibles that were complimentary of what a good leader exemplified. 

Your Boss and his Boss talk in private behind your back; there’s a good chance that your Boss knows his Boss’ family well and other intimate details about him.  The bottom line: Your Boss’s Boss hired him, so why would he admit he made a mistake?

5. Keep This In Mind

If possible, have a part-time job, even if it’s one day a week. And when possible, go on interviews if for nothing else to keep your skills up. And your resume is your good friend so keep it nice and polished even if you don’t have a lot of work experience, you can still jazz it up  with lots of active verbs that highlight what you bring to the table.     

6. Take Advantage Of Your Coworkers’ Lack Of Performances

That’s right, you heard what I said.  You will work with coworkers who are sloppy at their jobs and perform far less than you.  And while you don’t want to rat that person out, take note of their work (mainly if they performed the same job that you are now) because if you need to take serious action against your Boss, you have documentation of other workers who were performing less effective than you.

 Again, the primary purpose of this step isn’t for you to call out your coworkers’ names who are doing poorly; but instead, you can point out facts in general terms by allowing your horrible Boss to fall into your trap by arguing otherwise; your job is to sit back and gather your data—again, most often they are not as skilled as you are in doing the job.

If your Boss is the type that likes team meetings, pay close attention because there will come a time when your coworkers will talk about different issues that they struggle with. Or they might share how historically they have fallen behind on specific tasks.   

But in your case, keep quiet, nod, take notes for yourself, and be ready for war against your Boss if the time comes.

7. Time Is Up

Having said all of this, now it’s time to strike—not physically or verbally. Write an e-mail and call HR. If you have a union chat with them.

 Keep critical dates and times of your nasty Boss’s abusive behaviors, so when it’s time to speak with a lawyer, you’re ready to penetrate by offering as much information as possible without guilt, shame, or mercy toward your Boss.     

 While it’s not easy to flip the switch and handle your demanding Boss with respect, your job is to defeat him at his game (if he’s showing no signs of trying to make things better).  After all, you will have to go on the offense at some point, so you might as well have a solid playbook with defined rules set by you and only you.   

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