The Truth About Bad Bosses

How's your boss today?

LaSalle Network conducted a survey on bad bosses leading up to National Boss Day (yes, that actually exists...and it's today!) and found that 87% of respondents felt they had a bad boss at some point in their careers. Of the 1,100 people surveyed, 51% have quit their jobs over a bad boss.

There are all different kinds of bosses out there…the narcissistic boss, the boss who is more concerned with being your friend, the insensitive boss, the boss who doesn’t communicate…the list goes on and on. I get it, not every boss is right for every person. And not every boss is a great one. But as an employee, it’s about identifying what kind of boss you work for and finding ways to make it work.

Here are ways to deal with a few different types of bosses:

The narcissistic boss.

If you have a boss who wants to be the star, let them have at it. Don’t sit around and complain. When your boss gets promoted, chances are they’re going to take you along for the ride. Know what your boss is looking for and manage up.

Twenty-seven percent of respondents said their bosses never take the blame, but are the first to take the credit…another 16% said their bosses don’t appreciate their hard work. But a lot of times when a narcissistic boss presents your work, they don't know the details of what all went into it. They have no other choice but to bring you into the conversation. Sometimes it's just waiting your turn to get exposure to the right people.

The insensitive boss.

Eighteen percent of respondents said their boss was insensitive or not empathetic…But it’s important to realize that sometimes what comes out of someone's mouth and what they actually mean aren't the same thing.

Don't take everything so literally...Your boss may be working on a big project or have a deadline coming up. If something they said really bothered you, talk to them about it. Once you both know where the other is coming from, there’s a good chance you’ll feel a lot better about the situation. Eighty-three percent of respondents said they would have stayed with their company if they could have transferred internally…but maybe that number would be lower if they had talked through their concerns with the boss they had.

The "I'm your friend" boss.

These are usually the people who are promoted from within. They don't want to lose the relationships they had with their peer groups...they still want to get invited to lunch and go for beers after work. They're more worried about being liked than driving results and helping their staff grow (15% associated that with a bad boss).

As an employee, it’s important to have empathy. Realize it’s not easy going from being someone’s peer to being their manager. I’m a firm believer that when a peer gets promoted into management, they should take their peers out for drinks, address the situation and the fact that it may be slightly uncomfortable, and talk about it openly. However, if your manager doesn’t do this, take the initiative and address it yourself. Have a conversation and open up the dialogue.

The boss who doesn’t communicate.

This type of boss isn’t connected personally or professionally with their team. They're so removed from the day-to-day responsibilities that they don't know what each person is working on. They don't take the time to get to know their staff. These also tend to be the bosses who notice the negatives, but don’t acknowledge the positives. Twenty-six of respondents listed this as a reason they didn’t like their boss.

If this happens, it’s on you to over-communicate. Tell your manager everything you’re working on and let them know what you need help with. Rather than looking at this as a negative situation, realize it gives you more autonomy and independence to do what you think is right.

Also, ask your manager how they prefer to communicate and receive feedback and updates. Some managers don’t know how to communicate this effectively with their staff, and all they need is a little prompting to tell you that they prefer in person communication, or an email recap at the end of every day.

As an employee, take accountability for yourself. It's National Boss Day...try to focus on the positives, even if you think your boss doesn’t execute the way you’d like them to. Your boss became the boss for a reason. Try to tap into that. Find out what you can take from their management style in order to grow.