Dealing with a bad boss

It is common that when a boss cracks a poor joke, we all laugh our hearts out.  

One day, a boss was doing the same at a gathering, where everyone in the team laughed except one guy who used to laugh the most in the past. The boss got confused and asked the guy: "Didn't you understand my joke? Are you ok?"

The guy confidently responded: "Sir, I resigned yesterday."

Bosses are of different breeds. Hence, don't follow them blindly.

Once a crow sat on a tree doing nothing and watching him, and a rabbit thought to do the same and sat on the ground. A fox came and ate him. The moral of the story is, in order to replicate the boss, you need to be on the top of the organisation pyramid.

According to the most recent Gallup "State of the Global Workplace" study, half of all employees in the US have quit jobs at some point in their careers in order to get away from their bosses. And the figure is expected to be higher in our part of the world.

What are the common traits of bad bosses? These traits include micromanagement, skipping performance reviews, providing no guidance, getting involved in office politics, stealing credit of the team, blaming others, not sharing information, being defensive to feedback, considering debate an offence, rarely appreciating team members, being busy managing his own boss and so on.

One's work and performance can be heavily impacted if the relationship with the boss is strained. Boss issues arise from multiple factors. It may be so that the boss has all or some of the above-mentioned traits.

Sometimes it could be because you lost their trust or you failed to put enough effort to mend the relationship.

Whatever the reason is, it is always the subordinates who bear the brunt of the stress, anxiety and mental agony. What is common in such a situation is that the stressed subordinate goes around spreading negativity across the organisation.

Hence, the onus of managing the situation is often with the employee, as the boss usually does not care, and the HR plays safe!

Having an effective relationship, personal engagement and proactive approach with your superior is critical to your career progression and business performance. Since the onus is with the employee, it is important to take charge of the situation, assess the problem, look for areas of alignment or commonality including (like hobby, workstyle etc), focus more on your boss's strengths than shortcomings, take initiative to engage both at professional and personal levels, and seek boss's guidance.

There are also the common cheap but effective tactics like complimenting your boss, laughing at his flat jokes and figuring out what pleases him no matter how silly it may seem.

But if you don't see any improvement in the relationship after all such efforts, it is better to look for a job instead of prolonging the mental agony.

The boss-subordinate relationship is one of the key factors that can help an organisation reach new heights. Many studies have proven that a good working environment and people's motivation have a direct contribution to business performance.

If all employees work towards the same goal, then why not the boss, employees, boards and HR work together to drive a conducive working environment. Always remember: "The boss is as good as his team. if your team looks good, you (the boss) look good too."

The author is a telecom and management expert.

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