But defusing a difficult boss requires delicacy, diplomacy, and determination. And if you don’t, your career path can be redirected – for bad or good – quite easily. According to the catalogue firm Kleeneze, over one in 10 employees actually quit their job primarily because of a bad boss.
Jamie Stewart, managing director of Kleeneze said, “We’re seeing more and more people saying that becoming their own boss was a major factor in their decision. Obviously problem bosses play a significant role in millions of people each year changing jobs or even deciding to start their own business.”
So how do you handle a problem boss – and avoid having to change jobs and alter your career plans? Evelyn Williams, a professor and associate vice president of leadership development at Wake Forest University Schools of Business, has some answers – and some advice on how managing your boss can lead to your being happier and more successful at work.
1. Understand stress levels. Williams says that most bosses aren’t “psychopaths” (although she notes a study that says one in 25 managers could be a psychopath, so let’s hope you don’t win that lottery). Consequently, the odds are that you work for someone who is clearly stressed out, and not the second coming of the Marquis de Sade. “If your boss is under enormous stress, they may make decisions due to the circumstances. That doesn’t mean they have a personality disorder,” Williams noted in a statement. “But they might be making decisions without considering the full impact on employees.”
2. You need each other, so act like it. Even though your boss may sign your paycheck, your work helps him or her advance, too. And that needs to be recognized. “It behooves you to figure out how to make your relationship work,” Williams says. “If you give it your best effort to turn your boss into your ally, you will enjoy your relationship more.”