Apparently, there are a lot of bad bosses out there. I've run into a few in my own career, and I'm sure you have too. It's probably no surprise, then, that researchers have found that 3 out of 4 employees report that dealing with their boss is the worst part of their job. In fact, most employees say that they would prefer a new boss over more money.
In her book, Overcoming an Imperfect Boss, Karin Hurt explains that your relationship with your boss is like any relationship and that you have to work at it to get through the day. Long story short, it takes work.
So, what can you do if you have a bad boss? Don't quit your job just yet. You can actually help improve your boss's leadership and help yourself along the way too. Here are five proven approaches to turn a bad boss situation into a positive one.
1. Pay attention to what your boss does right -- and wrong.
Instead of just showing up for work and slogging through your workday, take some time to take note of what your boss is doing right and what he or she is doing wrong. Figure out what triggers each type of behavior, and then do more of the kinds of things that tend to make your boss do the right thing. Avoid doing things that trigger bad behavior on the part of your boss.
2. Stay true to yourself.
If you've found yourself in a bad situation with a boss who you just can't get along with, no matter how hard you try, then don't force yourself to suffer in silence. Take action by speaking with your boss to be sure he or she is aware of the bad behavior that is causing problems with you and other employees. It's possible your boss isn't even aware of the bad behavior.
3. Keep it real.
Make sure that you don't end up getting stressed out while working for a bad boss. Take care of yourself: eat well, exercise, meditate, and pray. Keep in mind that this too shall one day pass, and things will get better if you are willing to let them.
4. Stay on top of your job.
Speaking of stress, make sure that you're staying on top of your work -- that assignments are completed on time and that they are done well. This will help your boss dial down his or her own stress -- creating a much better working environment for you, your coworkers, and your boss.
5. Really get to know your boss.
While some people say that you should separate your work from your personal life, most people in business today realize that it's better to get to know the people we work with and for. As former Ford CEO Alan Mulally explains, "The purpose of our success is to serve others because that's the ultimate reward. The purpose of life is to love and be loved." The benefits of getting to know your boss better can be tremendous, and long lasting.