If you have a really bad boss it can make your entire life miserable. It’s tough to leave bad energy at the office let alone be successful on the job if you work for a neanderthal. Fortunately there a few ways to turn this situation around.
The key to is to understand that you and your boss see things very differently. And if you really want to tame your manager, know that she probably sees herself as Sister Teresa even though you might think of her as Joseph Stalin in heels.
Should you enlighten your boss and show her how truly terrible she is? Eh…no…probably not. I tried that once when I was very young and very stupid. I still have the scars.
Your boss may indeed be unkind and unprofessional but chances are they don’t see it and they probably never will. But that doesn’t mean you are powerless. Here’s my 3-step method to turning your boss back into a human being:
1. Take her out for a cup of coffee.
Buy your boss a cup of coffee outside the office – very important. If she’s really the ogre you think she is, nobody else ever offered to buy her anything other than a one-way ticket out of town. This step alone will make her reconsider how she’s treating you.
While you are out, show some interest in her. Ask questions and get to know what makes her tick. Then, ask for help. Tell her about the top three things you are working on and ask for her feedback. Hopefully, she’ll provide some productive feedback. If she does, you’re home free. Why? Because once she gives you her seal of approval, she will have a vested interest in your success. This will not only turn her around, it could also be the first step in your next promotion. Sweeeeeet.
2. Focus on goals and priorities rather than getting bogged down over the details.
While you are together find out more about her values. What’s important to her? Crawl inside her mind and try to understand how she thinks and evaluates situations. Don’t do this to manipulate her. Do this so she invites you onto her team. Do this so you can become more valuable to her and the company as a whole.
3. Ask your boss what her top three keys to success are.
I’ve had my own business for 25 years, and no employee has ever asked me what I think the key ingredients are for success. If you want to turn someone around, this is the way to do it. Find out what she wants to see happen – and then help her make it happen.
If you take this step and ask these questions, you’ll be boldly going where no employee has ever gone before. Your boss will be grateful that you treated her like a human. As a result, she might even start acting like one again.
What you probably shouldn’t do if you have a bad boss is tune her out. That will probably make her angry and make the problem worse. Think of your boss as a customer because, in many ways, she is. Listen to her needs. Empathize with her. Find out what she is afraid of and what motivates her.
Keep track of what your boss tells you – especially if it’s negative. This will help you see a pattern over time. Be proactive in looking for ways to be of service that are above and beyond the call of duty. Even though you probably don’t see it, your boss does have human DNA. Eventually, he or she will reciprocate the kindness you show them. Basically, I suggest that you give your boss the opportunity to re-enter the human race. They’ll probably jump at the chance.
Disclosure: I haven’t had a boss for a long time. But when I implement these ideas with the people on my team, they work pretty well.
What If This Doesn’t Work
If you take these measures and your boss still treats you like she’s missed a few thousand years on the evolution train, it’s time to pack your bags Pilgrim. Life is too short to suffer. Start looking for a new job. Your only hope at that point is for her to get fired and unless that seems eminent there is no point in waiting around.
What have you found to be the best tactics in dealing with a tough boss? Have you ever tried techniques like these? Did they work?