We all know the saying – that people leave their boss rather than the company.
In fact a staggering 50% of people that leave their employment do so because of their boss.
I clearly remember my first boss. I must have been fifteen and I was so excited to be working in a hotel.
I survived two weeks. He was a bully. Completely charming to everyone else but a bully to me.
Luckily I was able to leave and soon got another job waitressing in a restaurant and, in the end,I had a great summer in that job.
As adults though it isn’t so easy to leave a job. You may have financial commitments or worry about how it will look on your CV if you move after only six months in a role.
So, what do you do if you find yourself with the boss from hell? Or simply one that doesn’t inspire you!
1. Personal circumstances
It might be that they’re having a difficult time for personal reasons having an adverse effect on them.
So before you decide your boss is a miserable old so-and-so and act accordingly how about suggesting lunch or a post work drink?
They may not open up to you but the gesture will be appreciated. And an opportunity to converse away from the work environment will do you both good.
Does your company support psychometric profiling such as DISC or Myers Briggs?
If so then suggest as a team that you all complete it. As a result you’ll be able to understand each other’s strengths and be more effective as a team. This will allow you to get to know your boss better and there may be suggestions in the report on how to best communicate with your boss.
If your company doesn’t offer profiling then sit down with your boss and ask them how they would like you to communicate with them.
If they’re the type of boss that likes to micro manage then a suggestion from you that you copy them in on all communications will smooth the path no end.
Alternatively you might suggest a weekly, pre-arranged update.
3. Practical steps
If you reach the point where you feel that you’ve tried everything to bring about a better working relationship with your boss but they aren’t reciprocating consider these possibilities:
- Working from home one day a week. this will allow you some space.
- See if you can move to a different team, project or secondment with a different boss. Any of these would give you some breathing space without having to leave the company altogether.
Ultimately think about what effect this boss is having on you and your career.
If you think they may damage your career then consider leaving the company. But make sure you take the time to choose the right boss next time so you aren’t in the same situation again!
If you jump from the frying pan into the fire you’ll be no better of and will have wasted a lot of time and effort.
4. Learn from this
Take all the lessons that you can from this experience. Hopefully you won’t get get an awful boss again. But moreover when you’re a boss yourself, you’ll have awareness of the perils and pitfalls to avoid!