There are good bosses – the ones who recognize our efforts, respect our worth, hone our potential, and help us with our career growth. On the other side of the spectrum, there are bad bosses who just keep on making our difficult jobs even harder. If you’re currently dealing with the latter (and finding a new job isn’t an option), you’ve landed on the right article.
Just because your boss gets on your nerves every time doesn’t mean quitting is the answer. If you love what you’re doing and you’re being compensated well by the company for your efforts, then there’s no way you’ll exit your job for a less-than-stellar supervisor or manager.
Below are 10 things bad bosses do, and some winning strategies to handle them for a better supervisor-employee relationship.
1. Your boss is insulting
Getting feedback, whether it’s a good or a bad one, is necessary for the workplace. A great boss commends you for your effort, highlights the areas where you fell short and suggests changes they’d like to see next time.
A bad boss, on the other hand, puts down your work without explaining why you failed to meet his/her expectations and supplying constructive criticism.
- Professional strategy: Prevent being berated by making sure you’re clear on instructions before you begin. Ask the specific areas you should improve on and let him/her explain.
2. Failing to make you feel valued
You’ve been working hard day and night for a project. Good superiors recognize your efforts, no matter how big or small, and make you feel appreciated. Bad bosses tend to starve their underlings of the compliment they deserve.
- Professional strategy: Don’t fish for compliments. Instead, ask how well you’re doing and how you could do your job better.
3. Taking full credit for what you’ve done
Though everything you’ve built individually or as a team should be for the company, you expect to receive some commendation for your work. Unfortunately, there are supervisors who, not only fail to credit you but also claim that your accomplishments are their own.
- Professional strategy: If you can’t let it pass, send a quick e-mail to your boss. State that you know the team put a lot of work into it and were a bit disappointed not to see their names recognized publicly. The boss may apologize, the boss may not. The important thing is you advocated for them.
4. Being unorganized
A good manager is organized; they give out tasks with a realistic timeline, reminds about meetings ahead of time, and help you prioritize your tasks. A bad one, however, is the one needs constant reminders from their employees about overdue projects.
- Professional strategy: Don’t underestimate their time demands and know what makes him/her tick. If your boss tends to miss e-mails, perhaps he/she would respond better to Post-Its. You may also request a weekly meeting to keep everything on track.
5. Constantly creating unnecessary stress
Do you feel like your boss always makes everything a fire drill? Does he like assigning hard tasks that are due tomorrow, exerting constant stress on everyone? Chances are, he could no longer tell what’s truly urgent and what’s not.
- Professional strategy: If possible, ask your boss to rank the priorities he/she needs from you and get it in writing, preferably e-mail
6. Possessing superiority complex
It’s common for a superior to be intimidating and unapproachable. But there are some bosses who choose tyranny and love to draw a thick line between them and their subordinates. They talk down to their underlings and make everyone feel small and unimportant.
- Professional strategy: Try to understand where this behavior is coming from. Be polite, direct, and host with him/her. If the situation doesn’t improve and something needs to be addressed, try to consult another manager or HR solutions.
7. Being a control freak
Does your boss tend to proofread every e-mail you send? Does he/she ask for frequent updates and the smallest of details to feel satisfied? Does he/she take pride in making corrections?
Paying attention to details is important, but applying the scrutinizing, “in-your-face” approach all the time isn’t. The right term is “micromanagement”, and a boss that’s a micromanager tends to suffocate, demoralize, and kill everyone’s creativity and productivity.
- Professional strategy: Communicate more than you think you need until you earn his/her trust. Give detailed progress reports.
8. Changing his/her mind every time
Some bad bosses give you the “green light” to do a specific task without even thinking. They’d say “yes” and then quickly change their mind in the process, causing your hard work to go down the drain. Some may even forget all about approving the project in the first place.
- Professional strategy: If your boss has this tendency and you know what’s causing the “stop and go,” make sure you get everything in writing. Build a project timeline or outline first and circle back with your supervisor to confirm the plans.
9. Treating their “favorite employees” differently
It’s just human nature to like some people more than others – and that might be the same case for your manager. Your superior may favor some of your colleagues and give them more responsibilities (which translates to increased opportunities for promotions and raises).
- Professional strategy: Resist the urge to whine to co-workers about the situation. Instead, pay attention to your own progress.
10. Crossing the line
An unprofessional superior often forgets their place when faced with a stressful or even a fun situation. They joke about your personal matter. They share a lot of personal details. They make inappropriate comments. If you’re close to your boss and you fight over something outside of work, they’re likely to bring the heat up inside the workplace.
- Professional strategy: Be the professional your boss fails to be. If your boss does these, be very brief in your responses and always change the subject back to business. If your boss makes any comment that makes you squirm, like an implication of romantic or sexual interest, reach out for your HR or HR services for guidance and know your rights.
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