Tips for dealing with ‘Horrible Bosses’

July 11, 2011

You’ve likely seen the trailers for the new movie that came out this weekend, “Horrible Bosses.” Starring Jason Bateman, it chronicles three working guys who have three over-the-top, downright despicable superiors.

In the movie, the characters hate their bosses so much that they contemplate murder. But that’s Hollywood. What do you do when the man or woman at the helm is truly intolerable?

According to an OfficeTeam survey in the Kansas City Star, 46 percent of people indicated that they’ve worked for an unreasonable manager at one point in their lives. Unreasonable can be defined in many ways: “Micromanagers. Incompetents.” Spotlight grabbers. Bullies. Lousy communicators. Saboteurs. Lazy bones.”

And the reality in today’s job market, according to the article, is that people aren’t as willing to jump ship as they were in the past. Greater competition and less jobs means workers are often forced to make do in a less-than-ideal environment. In fact, the survey found that 59 percent of those who have felt tormented at work have stayed.

Peter Handal of Dale Carnegie Training had this to say:

“The boss may not realize what he or she is doing,” Handal said. “He or she may not understand the ‘employee engagement’ and teamwork environment in today’s workplaces.”

Handal agreed that the onus was on the employee to bring problem boss behaviors to the attention of the organization or the boss individually.

“But be careful. Don’t be a volcano exploding,” Handal said. “It’s important to begin in a friendly way. Talk about the weekend first. If you start out with a complaint or accusation, the boss will get very defensive.”

So what are some ways to deal with ‘Horrible Bosses’? TechRepublic offers a few tips:

Don’t play the “eye for an eye” game. If your boss lashes out or becomes abusive, it may be your first extinct to give him or her a taste of their own medicine. Don’t — it only makes the situation more volatile. Maintaining your level of professionalism sends a strong signal to your co-workers and possibly even those above your boss.

Document your work. Were you recently complimented by a client? Rewarded for an accomplishment? Record the date of these incidents as well as the context. If there was a problem at the time or if you had an effect on the entire company, make note of it. Keep this information somewhere that’s accessible to you even if you get laid off or terminated.

Don’t burn bridges. It can be therapeutic to think about unloading all of your pent up anger on your superior when you finally part ways. Take the higher road. Did you learn anything new or valuable from this person? Let them know that — it’s hard to be spiteful when you offer them positive feedback, and you never know when you might run into them down the road.

This post is brought to you by Dale Carnegie Training of Maryland and the DC Metro Area. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter.

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