What I’ve Learnt From A Bad Boss

There is nothing worse than having a bad boss. I’ve dealt with all types and learnt how to deal with it.

As a Gen Y marketer, I have pretty much had every marketing role you can think of. I’ve also had the ‘joy’ (term used lightly) of working with a wide variety of managers, from the bully (my first ever boss), the micromanager, the laissez faire (or I don’t care boss), the delegator and the ideal boss. My ideal boss encompassed everything you would want in a manager – freedom, trust and respect. Sadly this manager went on maternity leave about six months after I started working with her. Instead I got stuck with a boss who was almost as bad as the bully – the micromanager.

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The great thing about having a bad boss, is that you learn a lot about yourself and in particular how you want to treat people. Through my experiences with the bully and micromanager, I learnt the importance of documenting evidence. I found out pretty early on in my career, that most people look after themselves and if that means having to blame others for their mistakes, they will. So my advice to anyone who has experienced something similar is to do the following:

Whenever anything has been discussed verbally regarding action items, agreement to costs and so forth, make sure you document it. It can be as simply as an email saying something along the lines of ‘to confirm what was discussed today, please see below the agreed costs/action items that need to be completed by XX date’.

Trust me! This simple strategy will save you a lot of stress in the long run!

The laissez faire and the delegator bosses taught me a lot about self control and the ability to stand up for myself and believe in my skill set.At one time or another, you are likely to experience a lazy boss. The best thing to do, is not to be lazy, but instead put in as much hard work as you can. Although, the laissez faire and the delegator will most likely take the credit for your work. In time, you will be surprised by  how much people start to realise who is actually doing the work. Again document everything. Laissez faire and delegators tend to be caught out when their staff go on holidays or leave the organisation all together. So although you may not receive instant gratification, I can tell you that the recognition will come and it feels fantastic! Also by doing the work of your boss, you come out of the role with a great portfolio of examples of how you stepped up to the challenge and succeeded.

The important thing to note about having a bad boss, is that it has nothing to do with you. They are the way they are. You shouldn’t think for one second that it is because of you. Bullying in the workplace is horrible and the best way to deal with it is to move on. Find a company that respects you and makes you feel worthy. I’ve been bullied in my career a few times. I can tell you from personal experience that although there are avenues for support within the organisation, you often find these are so full of red tape that it is best to move on. Nothing is worse than the feeling of dread when you wake up in the morning knowing you have to go to work.

Woman.com.au - what I've learnt from a bad boss

My belief is, we spend enough time at work, so it should be as rewarding and enjoyable as possible. So when I was told by a recent bad boss  that ‘we are at work to work and not to socialise’, I kindly gave this particular boss my notice. And there’s a way to leave your job gracefully even if it’s the worst job or boss ever.

I’d love to know, have you have experienced a bad boss? What did you learn from the situation?


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