Generally a bad Boss is described as a bully, picky, petty, intrusive and controlling individual. They often make employees weary and frustrated; interactions with them usually reach dead ends; they take credit for employees’ work and never provide positive feedback or support; they tend not to keep their schedules with the employees and they usually fail to support their staff under pressure.

A bad Boss can be found in every organisation; however, the definition of “BAD” could depend on the employee’s requirements or needs, and whether the Boss has the essential managerial skills to satisfy those needs. Therefore, “Bad Boss” can be situational! In one of my recent coaching sessions with a senior officer at a major Bank, I sought the reason behind his reluctance in giving directions and feedback to his team. He said that he assumed by not providing directions, he was ‘empowering’ his team!

In another department a manager who was micromanaging every aspect of the tasks at hand was not realizing that he was insulting the intelligence of his competent staff and that he was doing it actually due to his own insecurity. So, sometimes they don’t know that they are bad! Perhaps they lack training or they are overwhelmed with their own job requirements so much so that it prevents them to support their staff. Or maybe they are promoted quickly and their experience and reporting responsibilities don’t match up.

For whatever reason, the bottom line is: bad Bosses don’t share employees’ values and that is the problem. How to tackle?

Well, start by talking with them. Tell them what you need in terms of feedback, directions, support etc. Do not tell them they are bad bosses because this is counterproductive and raises tension. Ask them how you can contribute to help them to reach their goals and provide the needed assistance.

If these two did not help you, go to your Human Resources and share your experience and feeling with them. If that didn’t work either ask for an appointment with your Boss’s manager and seek their advice. Since your current Boss may get offended, make sure you have done what you can between you before taking your issues up the line.

If you believe the problem is that your Boss can’t OR won’t change, ask for a transfer to another department, which would suggest that you surely like your organisation, employer and your work. If a transfer is unavailable, begin your search for a new job but plan and conduct  this carefully.

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