13 Easy Ways to Feel More in Control with a Bad Boss

Bad BossThere’s no such thing as a perfect job. Although if our super awesome boss here at AudioTranscription.Org is reading this, we obviously found the exception. 🙂 [CEO’s sarcastic note: Thanks, Andrew!]

A lot of people, however, are not so lucky and they’re far from happy in their jobs. We don’t just mean low pay, poor benefits or a painful commute; it seems that some bosses are just, well, bad. Be it poor communication skills, belligerent behavior or complete cluelessness, a bad boss can easily drive a good employee off the deep end. Since we devote a portion of our blog posts to topics that help people create better working environments, we’d like to argue it doesn’t have to be that way; you may not be able to change your boss, but there are things you can do to reduce your overall frustration at work. Here’s a list of 13 easy and proactive ways you can feel more in control with a bad boss!

  1. Get clear objectives right from the start. Take really good notes and write up exactly what it is that’s expected from you on a specific project. Make sure to type it up and email it to your team and boss, so everyone knows the full expectations right from the start.
  2. Have regular status meetings. Whether it’s weekly or monthly (depending on the scope of the project), have a regular status meeting with all involved to make sure nothing slips through the cracks. If you’re waiting on your boss for certain information, these meetings will act as a solid reminder to him or her.
  3. Stick to deadlines. Be sure to ask for clear deadlines when you begin your project. If your project is long-reaching, you may want to set up multiple deadlines and adjust as you move along. Just be sure, again, to get it all in writing and continue to mention deadlines via email and at status meetings.
  4. Work from home occasionally. If your boss has undeservedly been breathing down your neck repeatedly of late, take a breather. Ask if you can work from home for the day or even half a day. You won’t feel the pressure and you’ll be able to focus on the tasks at hand. Plus, distance makes the heart grow fonder. Or in this case, lets it grow less angry.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your boss may be juggling 15 major projects right now, so you’re barely on his or her radar. That means you certainly won’t get your boss’ full attention or even help on things. So be sure to ask as many detailed questions as you can at the start of the project, and continue to ask as things pop up.
  6. Make it as easy as possible for your boss. Need an email sent out from your boss? Or maybe nothing more than a signature? Do yourself a favor and do as much work as you possibly can before you pester him. Write up a sample email. Print out that document to be signed, and bring a pen with you. Basically, make it so your boss can spend the least amount of time on whatever you’re waiting on.
  7. Don’t lose your cool. Even if your boss starts screaming so loudly you barely have time to dodge the spit flying out of his mouth, don’t lose your cool. Stay calm and collected. Otherwise, you’ve lost immediately and your boss will just get louder and angrier. Trust me, nobody wants the Hulk as their boss.
  8. Talk to your boss. If you’re generally at odds with your boss, it’s probably a good idea to sit down early on and have an honest discussion with him or her. Don’t attack, but instead speak very candidly and mention that you don’t always see eye to eye, but you’d like to be able to work efficiently together. Ask what you can do to make sure things go smoothly.
  9. Communicate with your boss. You may be super stressed out because your boss is completely clueless. But your boss might not even realize that his attitude or lack of support is causing such feelings. So be sure to let him know if you’re waiting on something or if there’s a way he could make your job easier.
  10. Ask someone for help. If you’re having issues with your boss, chances are at least one other person in your company has been in your shoes. Gently poke around and see if a coworker can offer some advice on how to best handle your situation.
  11. Keep written records. Every time your boss has a huge blowout with you, be sure to write it down. Capture the date and time, what was said, how it was said and how you reacted. Over time, these notes may become extremely useful.
  12. Consider going over his head. If nothing else is working and you just can’t seem to get through to your boss, it’s probably time to speak to your boss’ boss. Going over his head is a very big deal but if you have no other choice, it might be time to go that route. Just tread lightly and see if there’s a way to have a positive sit-down meeting with the three of you to smoothly talk things over.
  13. Speak to the HR department. If nothing else works and things are too unbearable, then approach your Human Resources team to ask about being transferred to a different department in the company.

What other tips do you have for working with a bad boss?

2 Comments to 13 Easy Ways to Feel More in Control with a Bad Boss

  1. Michael Brockey's Gravatar Michael Brockey
    May 30, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    Nice post. Thanks for this information. I really appreciate your work, keep it up.

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