Don’t Like Your Boss? Work Harder

By Cindy Gustafson, Chief Strategy Officer, Mindshare NA

There are Very Bad Bosses, the ones you march straight to HR about because they’re abusive. There are Stupid Bad Bosses, so incompetent that they’ll be found out soon enough and shown the door.

Then there are Bad Bosses. This is corporate America’s community of remarkably employed jerks. Spotlight stealers. Slackers. Extremists. Ghosts. If you haven’t had one yet, you will. And if you have one now, there’s hope. Here’s how to deal with them without letting it stall or derail your career.

First, stop complaining. It’s not going to make bad bosses go away any faster and it sucks out your energy and focus. Instead, use their faults to your advantage.

The ‘Me’ In Team Boss

While we’re taught that there’s no ‘I’ in team, there are plenty of bosses who think that the acronym for ‘team’ should be look ‘at me.’ They are notorious for taking gross amounts of credit for whatever you and your colleagues accomplish. That new project idea that everyone loves? All him. That last minute save to a big problem? Came up with it all herself.

Often, to fill the void, a translator emerges – someone one rung below Mr. Me – who wipes away tears and tries to make the team feel better (and the boss look like less of a jerk). They begin many conversations whispering: “What he meant to say was…” Frankly, this is exhausting and unproductive for everyone. It throws the whole team’s ecosystem out of whack.

If you’d like to be less miserable in the short term, try some straight talk. Often these types of bosses aren’t self-aware and don’t understand how the language they use and actions they take demotivate the team. Tell them. If he or she listens, they’ll adjust and begin to understand the power of their words.

If not, know that clients or high-level colleagues will figure out who’s really doing the work. And while biding your time, watch how Mr. Me acts in high-pressure situations where he’s charged with selling a complex idea. How does he quickly digest a briefing? What questions does he ask? Then, on game day, see how he gains attention and respect. And wins. Someday, that will be you.


You can read the full article (and get advice on two other types of bosses) on Forbes