In my many years in the corporate world, I was blessed to work for excellent managers. I also worked for some really terrible bosses. One blatantly refused to treat me like a member of the (otherwise male) team, ignoring my requests for an annual review until I threatened to take the issue up with his boss. Another was talented with numbers but not people, and he made little effort to build relationships in or out of the office.
Bad bosses can sneak into any business. You may encounter them in corporate sales, the nonprofit sector, or even in a local church. And when you have a bad boss, even a job you love can become hard to bear.
Working for a bad boss feels personal, but most bad bosses are not like that because they are cruel or careless people but because managing people is very difficult. It’s a skill for which few people have a natural aptitude and even fewer companies or schools offer quality training.
In my experience, most managers want to do well. They use a certain management style because it comes naturally to them or it’s what was modeled for them. So before you throw your hands up and walk away, consider whether there’s more you can do to meet your boss halfway. He or she may never change, but you may improve your situation if you learn how to work with rather than against your boss.
Check Your Perspective
The way you treat your boss—especially a bad one—communicates a lot about your character and your faith to the people around you. Is this simply a clash of personalities? Are you expecting your boss to accommodate your working style without reciprocating? Are you letting anger over past wrongs poison your attitude? Do you complain about your boss to coworkers?1