Last week we looked at three characteristics of a lousy boss and how to handle them. As a quick reminder, there are varying degrees to which someone fits the category, as well as many people who could be in multiple categories. While last week’s examples are more passive and often subconscious behaviors, this week we look at three that are more active and aggressive (although perhaps not entirely conscious).
- Volatile. Have you ever worked for a volatile boss? Ugh, this type of boss is quite a treat. Often he seems perfectly fine and then BOOM!, he just goes off. It’s like being with an enraged father all over again. And we, as the recipients of the anger, often feel confused and abused as well.
- I have to say that my best advice is to find another job. However, I acknowledge that sometimes you are stuck in a bad situation and can’t leave. If you are in that situation, you truly have only one choice. You have to stand up to the person. Get outside support, rehearse your responses and then set clear boundaries that you will not tolerate being yelled at.
- Demeaning. About the only difference between a demeaning boss and a volatile boss is the method of delivery. Volatile bosses get angry. Demeaning bosses get sarcastic, cutting and downright nasty. And the ones who are the best at it do it in such a way that you don’t always realize what is happening until it is too late. You simply find yourself emotionally down for the count, knowing you’ve been beat up, but not sure how to respond.
- The best advice here is much the same as the volatile boss. Try to get out of the situation as soon as you can. There are jobs and bosses that won’t treat you this way and you deserve better. Until you can make that happen, however, boundaries are the key (and possibly some conversations with your HR department, if possible).
- Driven. The overly driven boss is a special challenge. This individual knows what she wants and is sure how to get there. She is very results oriented and her manager is usually pleased with her because she meets or exceeds her goals and targets. In fact, if you are highly driven too, you might do very well with this kind of boss. The challenge comes when results constantly trump relationships.
- Unlike the previous to examples, this is not the worst problem to have. A partial solution is to be very clear with your boss on her expectations for you, what your goals are and how they fit in her plan. Then, of course, strive to achieve those goals. If, however, the goals are unrealistic, the driven boss may be open to feedback and modification. As to the relationship side, that may take outside help. Talk with your boss about executive coaching or phrase it in other ways that could bring someone from the outside to help your boss see her over driven style of management.
These are only a few of the ways our bosses can lousy. I am sure you have many more examples you can share, so feel free to comment below.
Next time, we’ll look at why lousy bosses are a gift (in disguise).