Last week, we began looking at ways to survive a bad boss.  The response to the post was amazing.  It appears there are many of us who can relate.  So here are 5 more tools for your tool box:

1.  A rock and a hard place. While you might take your share of punishment from your supervisor, rest assured, he/she feels the pressure from both directions.  It’s no picnic for them either.  Ideally managers would be able to spend their time developing leadership skills and providing a vision, but in reality, they are stuck in operations, trying to please their employees and the manager they report to.   Is it an excuse for poor behavior?  Of course not, but they are often stuck between a rock and a hard place.  Front line supervisors and mid-level managers have some of the toughest jobs around.

2.  Get it right. I know I talk about this one all the time, but it is THAT IMPORTANT.  Most of us are so focused on being right and having things be “fair” that we lose sight of the goal.  Rather than getting frustrated that you are the one that has to modify your style or approach, remember the goal is to get it right, not be right.  When ever I’m in a tough conversation, I ask myself, “What’s the goal?  And is what I’m doing going to get me closer to reaching it?”

3.  Talk to your boss. Half the time, we don’t even realize that what we’re doing is bothering someone else.  It is called unconscious incompetence.  It means we don’t know what we don’t know.  Rather than building frustration and resentment, talk to your supervisor.  In a non-whining, assertive manner, share your concerns.  Most people fear having the conversation.  I’d rather have one uncomfortable conversation than be miserable every day.  If you choose to have the conversation, make sure you are solution oriented and positive.

4.   Modify your style. Regardless of who you are speaking with, modifying your communication style is the number one way to increase receptivity and decrease defensiveness.  Is your boss fast paced and impatient?  If so, standing in their door and telling them all about your weekend and your dog fluffy probably isn’t the best idea.  Get to the point and move on.  However, if they are big on relationship building, and you are always strictly about business, try to socialize a bit more.

5.  Help your supervisor leverage your strengths. I had a participant in a training session a few months ago who said he would much rather be doing my job.  I asked if he had ever talked with his supervisor about volunteering to do some training in the department, and he looked at me like I had two heads.  After simply talking with his supervisor, he began training new employees, then started training more throughout the department, and eventually became a trainer for the organization.  Don’t be afraid to know what you like, know what you’re good at, and share your desire to do that!

Bottom line…if you don’t like your supervisor, you have a few options:

1.  Stay where you are and be miserable

2.  Stay where you are and find ways to modify your behavior, your approach, or the situation

3.  Leave

Whether or not you are part of the problem, it’s up to you to be part of the solution.

What other strategies have you tried to survive a bad boss?  Leave a comment!


  1. Regarding: “In a non-whining, assertive manner, share your concerns. Most people fear having the conversation. I’d rather have one uncomfortable conversation than be miserable every day. If you choose to have the conversation, make sure you are solution oriented and positive.”
    It works, but have a written/typed outline of what you are going to say. You don’t want to forget what you are going to say, or miss your point, because of the nervousness… cause you’ll be nervous. Cite very recent examples if possible.

  2. Great advice! Definitely a good point. Writing a bulleted list or outline not only helps you keep focused, it also helps you go through the mental exercise of having the conversation. You’re also right on target about citing recent examples. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  3. These last three weeks of “Weekly Motivation” have been so appropriate and timely for me it’s a bit scary. Did you know you were psychic, Anne? Every point made offers tools of empowerment and growth. The foundational shift I have experienced by being mindful of and adjusting my expectations continues to be life-changing. My new mantra is, “Be mindful of your expectations!” Thanks a bunch, Anne! It is my wish the inspiration you give returns to you one-hundred fold.

    • You bet, Anne! I am so glad I could send some positive energy your way. Please feel free to use my posts as testimonials if you so desire. I am truly blessed by you.

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