Should you tolerate working for a terrible boss?
Few people set out to be terrible bosses. They may have been promoted as a reward for long service and don’t enjoy their new position but found it hard to turn down the status and dollars associated with a promotion. Others just don’t have the self-awareness or the people skills to lead a team. It’s hard to be a great boss without a good role model or mentor to guide you and many of the old management models just don’t cut it in today’s dynamic world.
The traditional view of what made a good boss was often someone who was “kick-ass” and used the command and control approach to managing people and projects. This can be especially true in highly analytical fields such as information technology, science, engineering and finance. The problem with bosses like this is that their whole demeanor and management style comes from a place of negativity and that’s demotivating for most people.
Have you worked for a boss who exudes negativity?
Many of us have experienced working under someone who demonstrated negative traits such as being moody, a bully, resistant to change, self-serving, closed minded, egocentric, narcissistic, selfish or who was a micro-manager.
Did they motivate you to show up and do your best work?
Did you feel 100% engaged when working for a boss who exhibited these traits?
Of course not!
They stifle creativity and create an atmosphere of fear and distrust. Who can possibly do their best work and feel motivated and engaged to give their best under those conditions?
A 2018 Gallup Survey revealed that two thirds of people in full-time work in the US are either not engaged or are actively disengaged from their workplace and this means they probably aren’t fully leveraging their talents and it’s unlikely that they’re doing their best work. Bosses who lead from a place of negativity are a key contributor to this lack of engagement and that can have a very negative impact on morale and the bottom line.
What makes a great boss?
The bosses who bring out the best in us, understand that excellent leaders have a respectful and resonant relationship with their teams. They ask and inspire rather than command and control.
A great boss is encouraging, asks for input from the team, makes team members feel valued, gives you creative space, is an active listener, is empathetic, is compassionate, inspires hope and vision, is mindful and authentic.
When you work for someone who exhibits these traits, you’re naturally motivated to give your best.
What if you’re working for a bad boss?
Sadly, few people have the good fortune to work with really great bosses all the time. Some never experience the joy of working for someone who really appreciates you and encourages you to grow. Those who tolerate working for a bad boss often suffer from low self-esteem and live their entire working life in a place of negativity where they simply show up and do their best to “get through the day”. What a terrible waste if untapped talent and energy!
If you realise that you’re working for a boss who leads from a place of negativity, I encourage you to consider other options. Maybe you can get a transfer to another division or department, or you may have to consider leaving the company for your own mental health.
What if you realize you are a bad boss?
If you’re a boss who’s reading this and you realise you’re leading from a place of negativity, CONGRATULATIONS – awareness is the first step towards making positive change. Consider getting professional help to transition to a new more positive place. Coaching is a great way to get the support you need to change long established negative habits.
Life is too short and we spend too many hours at work to tolerate working for a bad boss. You CAN do something about it – you deserve to find a place to work where you can show up as your best self and know that your contribution is valued and appreciated.
If you know you’re a bad boss, you CAN learn a new and more positive way of being a leader. You’ll be much happier and so will everyone you interact with on a daily basis.
Sue Maitland PCC is a professional life & career transitions coach. She was once a “kick ass” IT Project Manager and has since learned the error of her ways.
Contact Sue to test-drive working with a professional coach at SueMaitland@shaw.ca or 778-265-6880