They say that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger but we can, at times, just want to throw in the towel. What do you do if you have the worst boss in the world?
Analyse the Problem:
What makes them the worst boss? Are they domineering and boorish? Do they constantly belittle you in front of others? Or, worse still, are they all peaches and cream in front of others and nasty when you are alone? Whatever it is, identify the behaviour that makes them awful.
Am I Faultless?
Chances are good that this person’s behaviour has very little to do with you personally. They probably act this way towards everyone. If, however, you seem to be the one that is picked on constantly, try to figure out if there is any legitimate reason. Are you constantly late for work, off ill or always behind in your work?
If so, making a complaint against your boss is going to bear little fruit. Do you goad the person on? Sometimes we do things just to annoy people because they are unbearable towards us. This behaviour leads to even more destructive behaviour from them. Whatever the answer to these questions are, make sure that you keep your end clean. Ensure that you are always on time and that you do your job properly. Do not give the boss any cause to complain at you.
It’s not me, it’s them:
As I mentioned above, chances are, that nothing you can do is going to alter this person’s behaviour. They may be a nasty person by nature. In order to deal with that, you need to control your own reaction within yourself so that their behaviour no longer bothers you. This may be easier said than done though. Truth be told, people who abuse underlings when they are in a position of power are generally people that are deeply unhappy and frustrated and have poor self-esteem. They may even feel powerless in their own lives. They then use their position over you to exert some control and make themselves feel important.
If you understand why they act the way they do, it will help you to cope with their treatment of you. If your company offers a wellness program, find out if they can offer some form of counselling to you to help you understand and deal with this behaviour.
I’ve tried but Cannot Cope:
You have a few options:
Confront the problem head on. You could try to speak to them in a non-confrontational way. Try using language like, “I feel as though …… when you speak to me in this manner.” If you are going to try this approach, do so when you are both calm and only do so if you can remain unemotional and non-accusatory. Keep in mind that this may end up in the boss getting defensive and yelling at you so you have to remain calm.
You could approach someone to mediate for you. This can be a good way to go as long as the party mediating is an uninterested third party. Keep in mind that here again; you must be as unemotional as possible. You could lodge an official grievance. Keep a list of the offences. Consider – is this going to boil down to your word against theirs? Is anyone willing to back you up? Have you tried to resolve this face to face first? This should be an absolute last resort as it will cause a lot of resentment and may not change a thing. A reprimand may be issued against your boss but he/ she may not be removed.
You could quit. This is the option most people automatically gravitate towards but it never helps to run away from your problems. If the person is going to cause you to have a nervous breakdown and you have exhausted all other avenues of dealing with the problem, then you could consider resigning. Just remember that there is usually a colleague like this in each workplace. Rather learn to deal with it than just run away from it.
Dealing with an awful boss can be difficult but it is possible. Just maintain your own integrity throughout and do not run at the first opportunity.