Life is short but apparently it can become a lot shorter if you spend your days dealing with a bad boss. In a recent study performed by Keas.com they found that 77% of employees experienced physical symptoms of stress from bad bosses and workers who had inconsiderate or uncommunicative managers were 60% more likely to suffer heart trauma. An Inc. study cited that workers who have poor relationships with their bosses are 30% more likely to suffer coronary heart disease. That’s right people, your bad boss could quite literally be making you sick!
It is estimated that three out of every four employees reports that their boss is the worst and most stressful part of their job and 65% of employees said they would take a new boss over a pay raise (Inc.). Could the statistics scream any louder that we have far too many bad bosses out there?
And one has to ask the question, “Do these bosses set out to be bad, and are they even aware that they are bad?” I would guess that most bosses don’t set out to be bad. I would also guess that most of them may be completely unaware of just how bad they are. You see the difficulty is that most of us judge ourselves by our intentions, while others judge us based on our behavior. So the fact is that most bosses may feel they have perfectly good intentions and therefore they justify or disregard their own bad behavior and as a result employees are left to suffer the effects of dealing with a bad boss.
We Judge Ourselves by our Intentions. Others Judge us based on our Behavior.
So what makes a boss a bad boss? Here are a few thoughts on how to tell if your manager falls into the “bad” category of bosses:
- They don’t communicate a clear vision for the future
- They selectively communicate with only a few people, leaving all others to feel devalued and left out
- They lack enthusiasm and passion for the work the company is doing
- They fail to inspire their employees
- They accept mediocrity rather than motivating excellence
- They pick and choose who they will value rather than valuing the team as a whole
- They fail to communicate clear expectations
- They reward based on brownnosing rather than performance and impact
- They withhold compliments, even when a compliment has been earned
- They attack people rather than attacking performance
- They make decisions off rumors rather than taking time to gather appropriate facts
- They don’t follow through on their commitments to employees
- They fail to communicate…period
- They fail to recognize and give credit to employees for efforts and accomplishments
- They place blame on others rather than owning mistakes themselves
- They are insecure with themselves which often leads to behaving mean, paranoid, and vindictive, amongst other damaging behaviors
- They avoid difficult situations rather than handling them head on
- They lack the courage to do the right thing
If reading that list caused you to feel heart pain, you may very well be risking your health! So what can you do about it? The obvious answer is to quit and go work for a good boss, but not everyone is in a position where they can afford to walk out on their job until they find a new one. So what do you do in the meantime? Here are four ideas that might help:
- Try to focus on their good qualities. Everyone has at least one, so find it and be appreciative of it.
- Set an example of how a great leader behaves in the hopes that your bad boss will take note and learn from you. The most powerful teaching mechanism is to lead by example, even if this case where you are leading from behind. Remember that your bad boss may be the bi-product of their own bad boss and you may be the first to set the example of how a great leader should behave.
- Don’t ever let your bad boss become an excuse for you to behave badly. Despite your bad boss, the right thing for you to do is to continue to be the very best you can be at your job. Your reputation and integrity will follow you for years to come so never do anything that would mar that. Chances are that other employers will hear of your bad boss’ reputation and the fact that you still put your best effort into the job will speak volumes about what an amazing employee you will be when they hire you.
- Try to learn the “what not to do’s” from your bad boss until you can work for a good one. Chances are that one day you will be a boss too and any lessons you learn now will help you to behave better when the mantel of leadership is placed on your shoulders.
“It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that determines how your life story will develop.” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf.
Remember that you can’t control other people, you can only control your reaction to them, so always do your best to react in a way that you can look back on and feel proud. Your heart will thank you later.