Bad Boss Readiness

Prevention Is The Best Cure

In the realm of the omniscient Google, “good boss” returns way more results than “bad boss”. Yet, when I talk to people about their work, it’s usually the other way around. Even when giving their boss an overall OK, people still tend to bring up some feature they find annoying or disruptive. The majority of corporate management are good leaders, yet it’s the “bad apples” that seem to draw our attention most.

And, good or bad, people spend inordinate amount of time worrying about their bosses’ behavior. Basically, in an employee’s mind the manager is always teetering on the verge of becoming a bad boss – not in the absolute sense, but within that specific work dynamic. The nasty specter of the Terrible Office Tyrant always looms in our collective psyche.

It’s understandable. One’s work situation – good or bad – affects everything else in one’s life; this “spillover effect”, as it is sometimes called, is well-researched and documented. Good bosses are not really on our mind unless we are purposely asked to evaluate them. Bad bosses, on the other hand, barge into our consciousness uninvited and settle there comfortably with their feet on the table – because it’s in their power to directly degrade the quality of our life even outside of work.

The only way to cope with that is to stay ready and be proactive. If you have a (potentially) bad boss, the onus is on you to learn what’s going on inside his head, as I mention in this interview. My book offers techniques to cope with most “dangers” one can encounter in the workplace, whether from a superior or a co-worker. And if you not sure whether your boss is a ‘ticking bomb’, check out this list, by Business Insider’s Jacquelyn Smith.

As for managers themselves – I recommend the same readiness. Be aware of your inner “bad boss” – of possible slip-ups under pressure, of any potential weak points, and be ready to take corrective action. A good manager should always be aware of their impact on any particular employee at any particular moment. Be a positive factor in someone’s life – it’ll definitely pay off.