You feel that nobody stands up for the rights of the underpaid, overworked, white-collar office worker anymore. Great things have been done by great people to free the world out of their greatest burdens: racism, sexism, poverty, and just about every other cause of misery. Everything… except for low-paying eight-hour jobs for five days a week, under the watchful eye of the greatest oppressor of corporate America: everyone’s Evil Boss.
The word “boss” was once referred to corrupt politicians, leaders of crime syndicates, or the brutal warden in charge of making sure that chain-gang prisoners kept working on the railroad. Chances are that your boss behaves in the same way. He or she may deny every request you have for a raise, a leave, or added incentives for hard work. He or she may demand that you work long hours, and do things that you’re not paid to do. Maybe your boss doesn’t show up at all, and still expect results even if you have no idea about what to do with a project.
You don’t have to put up with the tyranny of your bad boss anymore. Cast away your chains, workers of the world; here are some ways to rid yourself of a cruel boss.
Kinds of Bad Bosses
How you deal with a bad boss depends on what kind of boss he or she is. When you work in the corporate world, you’ll encounter many types of bad bosses. Here are some of the many types of bad bosses that lurk around offices:
- The Taskmaster. The Taskmaster, also known has a “Neanderthal boss,” is too authoritarian for the good of his or her employees. The Taskmaster sees himself or herself as the dictator, fearless leader, and supreme ruler of the office space. He or she demands that you follow every command, treats you like slaves, and puts his or her own welfare above everyone else’s.
- The Micro-Manager. Micromanagement can be very detrimental to the growth of your company, and is extremely annoying for workers. The Micro-Manager is too detail-oriented, and misses out on the goals for the task at hand. He or she makes irrelevant and trivial rules, makes up scenarios, and uses too much irritating jargon.
- The Credit-Grabber. Credit-grabbing bosses are the bane of every hard-working employee. While you work long hours filing reports, making presentations, and create sound plans for the company, your boss does nothing. When the time comes that the big boss congratulates people for a job well done, the Credit-Grabber is the first to take the limelight.
- The Egoist. There are bosses who just won’t listen. Not because they don’t want to listen, but because they think they have better ideas than their employees. They think that just because they’re the boss, they are far better and more intelligent than their employees. If an employee thinks of a better idea, he or she will do everything to prove you wrong.
- The Non-Boss. Some bosses don’t act like bosses at all. They’re too approachable, don’t command respect, and can’t get anything done. Some of them can be so incompetent that you wonder how they ever got promoted to a leadership role. Non-bosses cannot lead, and would rather focus on how their employees perceive them than perceive their roles.
Now that you know some of the many kinds of bosses that make office life miserable, here are some ways that you can deal with and get rid of them, and make your office life more bearable.
File a Complaint
Some bosses may not be afraid of their employees, but they’re definitely afraid of the higher-ups. A supervisor wants to be a manager, and the manager wants to make it to the CEO post. A formal written complaint about their behavior can put things into perspective for even the worst bosses. The more employees complain about their behavior, the lesser chances they have of making it up the corporate ladder.
Complaints are usually addressed to the human resources department, although you need to check your employee manual and company policies to make sure that your complaint goes through the proper channels. As much as possible, don’t bypass the proper venues to file a complaint. You don’t want to barge into an important board meeting just to complain about the floor supervisor.
Be Direct, but Polite
When you do talk to your boss, don’t waste any time beating around the bush. Tell your boss that his or her behavior reduces productivity and employee morale. It helps if you gather up the opinions of your workmates; chances are they feel the same way about your boss. If it’s a particularly busy day at the office, you may want to postpone your bull-session with the boss until such time that things calm down.
If you have to talk to your boss right away, wait for a break. The least you want to do is to push all the right buttons to tick your boss off during working hours. When talking to your boss, be polite; as much as you hate him or her, he or she is still the boss.
Don’t Make It Personal
Many people find themselves out of work simply because of an argument with the boss. Some may take a business situation like a bad boss, and turn it completely and totally personal. Unless you’ve spent enough time with your boss to know that he or she is the absolute biggest jerk that walked the face of the Earth, then separate business matters from personal matters.
As much of a jerk your boss may be, he or she may have had some personal experiences that led him or her to be a bad boss. It’s OK to ruffle a few professional feathers because of a bad boss, but it doesn’t have to be personal. If you speak calmly and professionally to your boss, he or she will probably not hold it against you for pointing out his or her mistakes.
Assume a Leadership Role
You must really have a bad boss if you still need to be a good example of what it’s like to be an effective leader. Bosses were employees themselves, and maybe they did not experience what it’s like to have an effective boss. Set an example to your boss that he or she can emulate:
- Delegate tasks. Don’t throw tasks around like you’re the Master and the Ruler of the World. Give tasks to people depending on their capabilities to contribute to a given project.
- Focus on goals. While the ends do justify the means, the means also justify the ends. Set a track for what you want to do with a task, and how you and your team are going to go about it.
- Give everyone their due. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it also means that you value teamwork. All people who had a hand in reaching a goal should be congratulated.
- Have initiative. Don’t think that you’re assuming a leadership role just so that you can take over the boss’ office, or that you’re going to get a hefty pay raise. Initiative means getting the task done, and accomplishing the best possible goals at the shortest amount of time.
- Lead. Don’t push people around. Even if you’re not the designated leader of a task, do your part to keep the company rolling along.
Take This Job, and Shove It!
Sometimes you have no other choice but to turn in your resignation letter. Your boss can be so troublesome that your productivity and effectiveness as an employee can be impaired. Resignation can also be helpful if you think the friction between you and your boss is getting in the way of your company’s goals. Maybe your other officemates get along fine with your boss, but it’s only you that’s having a problem with him or her.
The important thing to remember is that you should patch things up with your boss. Make sure you didn’t leave your job because of personal differences, but professional differences. It will help you very much by the time you get a new job, and also so that you won’t end up leaving your company on a sour note.
The Evil Boss will often get in the way of everything that makes work worthwhile. Not everything in your career has to be defined by how much you don’t get along with a bad boss. With some tweaks in the office environment and a bit of effort, even the worst bosses running the rat race don’t have to turn you into a rat.
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