10 Ways to Survive a 'Toxic Boss'
You know how the world's most successful people always say, "do what you love and you'll be a success?" Well, what happens when you're doing what you love, but you're working for someone you hate?
Sometimes you just can't avoid those "toxic bosses." You know the ones I'm talking about: the constant criticizer, the yeller, that power-hungry jerk, or the backstabber, or how about that boss who just comes in counting the days to retirement.
For millions of Americans going to work is a nightmare but they're stuck because, let's face it, in this economic environment - quitting is not an option. Being in the office makes them sick - physically and mentally.
Your well being could rest upon your boss.
Two authors, Katherine Crowley (a psychotherapist) and Kathi Elster (a business strategist) say that the single greatest determinant of happiness at work, is the quality of your relationship with your boss. Today in this guest author blog, they offer up ten ways to turn a toxic situation into a healthier one.
Is Bad Boss Behavior a Side Effect of the Recession?
Guest Blog by Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster are the authors of Working for You Isn’t Working for Me – The Ultimate Guide to Managing Your Boss.
In these times of economic uncertainty, the business environment is plagued with stressed out bosses.
People in management positions are under immense pressure.
They must produce more results with fewer resources.
At the same time, they may have to justify their own value as well as the value of their staff. All of these factors increase the chances that your boss engages in one of the following:
- Saying one thing and doing another
- Finding fault with everything you do
- Insisting that he or she is ALWAYS right.
- Micromanaging your work
- Checking out or hiding out
The normal response to a boss’s problematic conduct is to engage in certain coping tactics. You may obsess about your inconsistent boss’s mixed messages. Perhaps you avoid all contact with a faultfinding boss. It’s tempting to badmouth an egomaniac boss. Or, you might confront a micromanager.
While these tactics are understandable, they rarely improve your situation. Instead of reacting negatively to a toxic boss, we suggest that you take control.
Here are ten tips for navigating this important relationship:
1) Identify the problem. What does your boss do that drives you crazy? Is she a yeller? Does he refuse to take a stand? Is your boss chained to the desk, or never around? Make a list (for your eyes only) of the specific behaviors that really get under your skin.
2) Notice your reaction to the boss’s behavior. Do you cower in your boss’s presence? Do you bristle when she calls your name? Have you stopped listening or talking to your boss? Document your response to the toxic boss’s antics.
3) Decide to take back your power. It’s important to realize that while the boss may have power over your paycheck, he or she doesn’t control your life. Decide that the person who oversees your work won’t hold you hostage.
4) Restore your energy. Toxic bosses are energy drainers. Before you can manage your boss well, you must take steps to re-charge and release negative emotions. Run, walk, play sports, ride a bike. Do something to put your mind and body on a better track.
5) Rebuild your confidence. If you don’t feel good around the boss, take steps to feel better about yourself. Write down your successes every day, and participate in activities that showcase your talents.
6) Seek professional/mentoring help. A good counselor or mentor can shed valuable light on managing any difficult boss relationship.
7) Get out and socialize. Attend cultural events, social events, or community activities. Circulate among your peers to improve your outlook and expand your network.
8) Don’t isolate. It’s tempting to hide out when you’re stressed out, but isolation is dangerous and tends to exacerbate any negative feelings you’re having.
9) Stay connected to your professional network. Continue to build professional relationships by keeping up with social networking, attending industry conferences, and participating in professional associations.
10) Be kind to your body. Avoid energy spikes from consuming too much sugar, caffeine or alcohol. Get plenty of rest. A healthy body will help you feel better about yourself.
Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster are the authors of Working for You Isn’t Working for Me – The Ultimate Guide to Managing Your Boss.
Their company, K Squared Enterprises, provides consulting and public speaking on workplace relationships.