Employees dread working for a difficult boss. But what if it's actually a blessing in disguise?
Management experts say that working for a bad boss isn't always the worst thing, and may even push you to perform at a higher level.
Here are three reasons why a difficult manager could benefit your career in the long run.
There is a major "silver lining" to having a horrible boss, says Chris Haroun, the founder and CEO of Haroun Education Ventures and a careers instructor for online learning platform Udemy: It can push you to be a great boss.
"Your career frustration can have an incredibly positive impact," Haroun says, "which is you starting your own company one day and not managing people the way your boss did. Your boss actually taught you what not to do."
"So, when you quit and then take your company public 10 years from today, you will be glad" that you had a bad boss, he says.
Lawrence Miller, a consultant and author on business organization and culture, says working for a challenging boss presents the chance to learn something every day.
"We all grow by responding constructively to challenges, by strengthening the muscle as it strains to overcome a resisting force," he says. "If you have an attitude of seeking out challenges to exercise your mental muscle, you can turn any challenge into a growth opportunity."
It's all about reframing your outlook. "Your boss is making you uncomfortable? Great. An opportunity for learning and growth," says Miller.
Perhaps the biggest benefit a bad boss can have is challenging you to be more creative and a better communicator.
"One antidote is for you to intentionally adopt contrary behavior," says Miller. "When the boss presents you with a challenge, respond with an assertive positive response, 'Oh, that's a fantastic opportunity to find a creative solution to that problem. I would love to work on that!'"
These sorts of responses "are contagious," he says. And, as a result, the manager "might not be immune from catching the positive contagion."
Of course, if your boss is truly toxic — prone to verbal abuse or fits of rage, for instance — you may want to consider speaking with HR or hightailing it out of there.