As an employee, you are not always in control of your success.
Of course, you can control your behavior and performance, but there are other factors outside of your control that can either ruin your career or make you thrive. And one of these factors is your boss.
Nobody is choosing his boss. It’s all a matter of luck. Sometimes you are lucky enough to find a boss who can be a coach, a mentor, a friend and can help you flourish, but most of the time you can work under the supervision of a boss that makes you hate your life and don’t even want to wake up in the morning to go to work.
So, what should you do if you were unlucky and had a bad boss or a boss that you are not having a good relationship with?
First, there are some things that you need to discover to gain more clarity before moving into action. For example:
1- Why are you angry with him or think that he is bad? Do not give a general answer and say answers like ‘’His behavior’’ or he is ‘’Micromanaging me’’. Be specific and recall some specific examples.
2- If the answer is ‘’His character or behavior’’. Ask yourself: Is this his general behavior with everyone or only with me?
3- Is this your true opinion about him even if you isolated the social influence? Sometimes we tend to judge people wrong or even dislike them because some of our nearest colleagues are having problems with them and are saying negative things about them.
Like the media, if you kept getting exposed to a specific message repeatedly, you tend to believe it and repeat it. And the funny thing is that, if you focus a little you may discover that this boss that you hate had never done anything bad to you. So, make sure to isolate the social influence from your judgment and give an objective, honest answer.
4- Is it a problem of pressure? Or in other words, is he usually acting in a good manner until he is under pressure?
After honestly answering these questions, it’s time to act. Here is the game plan:
1- Be a grown up. Grown ups do not avoid problems or wish that something changes alone. Go and fix it by yourself. And in this situation, you have two ways to fix this conflict between you and your boss: A) Either the situation changes between you and him B) or leave.
And if you saw here, I did not say if he/she changes, I mentioned the word ‘’situation’’ because to make a relationship work it's about both of you and not only about trying to change him.
2- Take the initiative and be pro-active. If it’s a character or behavior problem, then make a meeting with him and tell him that you do not like the way you work together and that you are here in this meeting to find a solution to satisfy both parties.
Remember, your boss didn’t select you to join his team, and the company is paying you money because you look cute. They pay you for your effort and services. So, it is supposed to be a win-win situation. If it is not the case, then you must reconsider.
3- If it is a pressure problem -which means that his behavior changes when he is under pressure only- acknowledge it and ask him if you can help him with anything.
Trust me, offering your help to someone in need, even if this person is your boss, will not be forgotten and will strengthen your relationship with him.
4- If in this meeting you reached an agreement that some things should change (by both of you or any of you), then give yourself time until a specific deadline to see if your relationship will improve after this agreement or not.
5- If in this meeting you did not reach an agreement, then shut up and start searching for another job inside or outside the company. Do not reveal your intentions or be rude. Just be quiet.
That’s all. No chemistry or rocket science involved. Do not keep running in circles and thinking oh I have a bad boss what can I do for the next 10 years. You sit, you try to reach an agreement, or you leave. As simple as that.
And as rules, here are 5 things that you always should keep in your mind:
1- Do not try to embarrass him in front of others. This should be your attitude towards your boss or anyone else in life. Because let’s be honest, what do you think a person that you embarrass in public will do? He will try to save his face and can attack you or say any irresponsible words.
2- Do not try to look smarter than your boss. If you showed that you are smarter than your boss and everyone felt it, he would perceive you as a threat and he will limit your progress.
3- Try to show him that you care about helping him in achieving the team goals.
4- Under any circumstances, do not accept any threats or disrespect. No matter if it is from your boss or even the CEO. If someone deals with you in an inappropriate way, then show that you do not like this way and don’t accept it in a respectful manner.
There is nothing in the world, no matter if it is money, title or anything else, that can be compared or as valuable as your self-worth or your self-image and respect in front of yourself.
And if you accept threat or humiliation in order not to lose your job or to earn more money or a promotion, it will harm your image in front of yourself and others. And sooner or later you will lose this job or change it, and you will feel that you have lost everything. It will also give the message to everyone else that dealing with you in this way is normal.
Remember, people are remembered after they die for how they faced challenges and how they acted in hard life situations, not because of their titles or money.
5- Finally, always keep your intentions to yourself. Sharing your intentions can harm you in the corporate world.
And no matter what happens, and no matter what you will reach with your boss, do not be afraid to take corrective actions and to stand for what you believe is right and should be done. Even if this requires you to take some risky actions. And do not worry, life will not stop.
These were my tips and opinion but what is more important is yours. Share your opinion with me in the comments section below.