People abandon their bosses not their company. Scarcely will there be anyone who would disagree with this; especially if they had the misfortune of reporting to a toxic employer. Regardless of their individual profile and level of toxicity, bad bosses suck the life out of their employees, annihilate their drive and thus may cause long-term harm to the company.
However, there is still hope. Research has shown that gifted employees have managed to deal with a bad boss by employing a great deal of self-restraint and emotional intelligence; qualities that their bosses apparently lacked. What follows are the specific methods they used according to bad boss type:
The Overly Friendly Boss
This type is easy to recognize as they spend way too much time socializing, gossiping and inviting people out for drinks in less than appropriate ways. The best way to deal with them is to set clear boundaries without feeling threatened. After all, employees can stay polite and friendly with such bosses while staying in their lane.
This boss cannot help but micromanage the living breath out of their employees. Their almost compulsive attention to minute details is frustrating. Successful people handle this human surveillance system by being organized, efficient and by checking in regularly in order to figure out next steps. The truth is, however, that this will not always be enough. So, the answer is for the employee to know their own worth without needing the boss’s approval.
This autocratic type will resort to intimidation and power games to feed their ego. Sycophants are their favorite type of people, while those who question them can really suffer. Unfortunately there is not much you can do with this type unless you are willing not to fight all the battles and allow them to take –at least some- credit for your own ideas and contributions. People who have not polished their emotional management skills are unlikely to co-exist with this type.
The Unqualified One
An incompetent boss can really frustrate their employees; especially if they possess the skills and qualities their boss lacks. The only way to handle the frustration is to become the boss’s guide and confidant by sharing the information they may need to meet the requirements of their role.
This boss is an automaton which only thinks and speaks in numbers and figures. No people skills or emotional intelligence are involved and thus they are completely incapable of connecting. There are two things to do with this boss. Firstly, employees need to be fluent in numbers and figures too. Every new idea should be backed by data. Secondly, employees should find ways to connect with the robot. This could be achieved in subtle ways; e.g. by arranging face-to-face meetings and responding to emails with a knock on their door.
The Impractical Innovator
This boss’s brain is an inexhaustible source of ground-breaking ideas. Yet, there is, unfortunately, an unbridgeable gap between idea generation and implementation. This big-picture visionary is unable to devise the strategies necessary to bring any idea to fruition. The best way to help this boss –and yourself- is to provide focused perspective by asking specific questions on how an idea can be practically and realistically executed.
Barely short of being considered suicide bombers, these bosses may wreak havoc on the workplace with a not-so-well-considered idea and then suddenly depart leaving their staff to sort out the mess. Their management style is abrupt and harebrained. When dealing with this boss, strength is in unity. So, the whole group should work in tandem to show this employer the error of their ways in a constructive, non-threatening way.