A Survival Guide for Working with a Not-so-good Boss

What makes a boss ‘not-so-good’ is subjective but generally speaking, a ‘not-so-good boss’ refers to someone who is not a leader- someone who doesn’t function as a change agent or as a co-operative, motivational entity within a group.

In this context, your boss may be a little bit harsh, too demanding in regards to deadlines, giving you too many tasks and so on. So how do you survive working with a not-so-good boss?

First thing on the list: do not take things personally. Be mindful of the context- you are in a workplace. After office hours, observe if your boss still treats you like that. By not taking things personally, you also keep yourself from overthinking and becoming anxious. Remember to be professional- work is work.

A popular phrase: keep your eyes on the prize. Know why you started in the company and why you keep on striving. With your goal in mind, you probably do not have time to be anxious about your not-so-good boss. Remember, you can’t have precious things easily- they are hard-earned. Knowing the prize or your goal helps you put things into perspective.

No matter how tough the circumstances get, make sure you don’t start an argument with your boss. If you find your boss’ demands are unreasonable, try negotiating with them or learn how to politely say no. Do not cross the line. Always remember your limitations so your actions won’t be taken against you. In this context, you should know where you stand in terms of getting along with your boss.

In case you are not sure if your boss treats you the same way as others, try observing the workplace dynamics. If your boss does indeed treat others the same way, do not let yourself be stressed and know that you are in good company. Remember, your boss is human too and hence not perfect. Though people in the office sees them as superior, they often dismiss the fact that their boss may also need support at times. Just like you, he or she can feel burnout.

When it gets too tough dealing with your boss, reach out and seek support. Be it your colleagues, friends or family, or even professional support such as a counsellor, human resources etc. Seeking help from others won’t make you any less- after all, we are all human.

Last on the list: be the boss that you need. Experiencing being under a not-so-good boss should be motivation for you to strive harder and not imitate his ways. This is a proactive move; don’t imitate something you don’t like. If there’s someone displaying bad deeds or practices, try to lead by example and you could see a positive ripple effect in the workplace.

It may be challenging at first, but you have to work your way out of the stress a not-so-good-boss can cause. You cannot pick your colleagues and especially not your boss. Always remember, no matter how not-so-good you think your boss is, it will should never affect your performance. Not being able to pick your workmates is a challenge, as it requires a lot of patience. Look at the brighter side of the picture…the people you encounter have purpose in your life. Most likely, the not-so-good ones test your patience and your kindness. Surely, you are growing with them despite the not-so-good experiences!

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