Okay, remember that survey we started a few weeks ago dealing with bad bosses? Well, after weeding through hundreds of responses, we narrowed down a disturbing trend.
Here are the results:
I have (or had) a bad boss . . .
44% said Right now <~~~ Not too shocking.
31% said At my last job
25 % said A while ago
0% said Never
The problem with this supervisor is (or was) his (or her) . . .
31% said Incompetence <~~~ An expected response.
25% said Mean or thoughtless comments
19% said Lack of professionalism
13% said Other
6% said Absence (never around when needed)
6% had No response
What I did (or will do) about it . . .
38% said Talk to my Supervisor’s boss <~~~ Completely normal action to take.
19% said Talk to my Supervisor
13% said Talk to my co-workers
13% said Look for another job
13% said Quit
4% said Nothing
Did your actions solve the problem?
99.35% said No <~~~ Wait. What? Now this is DISTURBING!
Less than 1% said Yes
Nearly no one felt like their actions solved the problem. That’s just discouraging and . . . um . . . depressing.
When I realized where the results were going, I started to scour the web looking for experts who gave “the best advice” for handling a bad boss.
I found experts who said, “just quit.” But how does that solve the problem? It just leaves the bad boss in place to torment others.
I found experts who said, “You must go to HR.” Really? And that solves what?
I looked in our own book and found the section titled When It’s Not You It’s Your Supervisor, which I posted along with the survey. It’s good advice, but I kept looking.
“. . . there is a freedom in having poor leadership. It means we either learn how to become leaders ourselves or we let the system beat us down. We learn to not just survive in these impossible situations, but thrive. We excel, when they treat us as disposable, we rise above the sniping and backbiting and keep moving forward.”
“If enough of us do this, consistently and not just when it’s easy, we will become an asset that anyone with any sense will be loath to lose. And we will be doing this on our own terms for our own reasons. We will lead by example. If we do that, eventually we will have a voice that people will not be able to ignore.”
I love Alice’s advice because it reminds us that the only thing we are REALLY in charge of is ourselves. It’s probably safe to assume that NOTHING is going to change your bad boss until he or she is ready to change. But you can change the way you deal with the crappy situation!