There is nothing worse than a bad boss. According to some statistics, over 85% of employees are in an unhappy employment environment, often due to having to work with a terrible boss.
Bad bosses are everywhere – in small companies, large corporations, franchises, public employment, and government jobs.
Worse still, research suggests that bad behavior is present in higher frequencies among bosses than other coworkers, colleagues, or subordinates.
What are the signs of a bad boss and how do you deal with one? Here are some classic signs of a bad boss:
- Fails to take responsibility when things go wrong and throws lower-ranking employees under the bus, deflecting blame onto others
- Fails to raise feelings/concerns about projects when in progress, then if things do not go well, will declare that he/she was right and predicted problems all along the way but no one listened
- Shows up late to work, leaves early, then complains about laziness of other employees, including employees under his/her hierarchy
- Anger management issues, reacts inappropriately to situations, often wielding power arbitrarily
- No feelings or empathy about circumstances that would normally justify compassion
- Demonstrates “hot/cold” behavior – unpredictable, no normalized emotional baseline
- Manipulation or bullying of people and situations for his/her own purposes
- Consistent patterns of sabotaging those around them with no remorse
- Hypocrisy in demands or standards required from other staff
- Bullies, threatens, and intimidates others to get his/her way
If you have a bad boss, take a deep breath – the good news is, you are not alone. Bad bosses have to be dealt with in a special way, but it does not necessarily mean that you are doomed at work. Here’s what to do to protect yourself:
- Keep written records. If you are being bullied or harassed by a bad boss, it is important to keep records of the events that take place. Your notes should be written (preferably typed), and should log the inappropriate circumstances or events involving the bad boss. Your notes should have dates, descriptions of what occurred, and preferably, a time-stamp. An easy way to keep records is to send emails to yourself, from your home email account. You records should not be stored on company computers, and should not be sent using your work email.
- Stand up for yourself. Sometimes, a bad boss needs to know when he or she crosses the line. Although there is a difference between a pushy boss and actual harassment or discrimination, your boss is definitely crossing the line if he or she uses physical contact or force in any way, behaves violently, aggressively, or makes threats of any kind or nature. This would include invading “personal space,” throwing things, pointing aggressively, slamming doors, pounding on desks, or other bad behavior. When your boss crosses the line, there is a way to be polite but firm in standing up for yourself. Never yell, get angry, raise your voice, or be aggressive — but sometimes bad bosses need to know that they have gone too far. Being cool, calm, collected, and voicing your concerns politely but firmly can help a bad boss know they can’t run you over.
- Notify HR in Writing. If the bad boss’s behavior is bad enough, you should make a report to your company’s HR department. Employees generally make the mistake of making the report verbally, in order to make it seem as though they are just voicing a concern rather than making a report, in fear of having the boss’s bad behavior get worse or retaliation. Employees also generally make the mistake of thinking that they should be able to handle situations with a bad boss “like grown-ups” and hope that the boss will come to realize that his/her behavior is not acceptable and will not happen again. Not true! Verbal reports are problematic because the HR representative rarely documents the file properly to reflect the true facts of the circumstances – and in some cases, the victim’s complaints are whitewashed to protect the bad boss. Whenever dealing with HR, always ensure your complaints and concerns are in writing – with a copy of your email printed out and brought with you home. If you do not protect yourself, no one will.
Dealing with a bad boss can result in a big headache and a lot of unnecessary stress. If the behavior crosses the line, give us a call and we will be glad to talk to you about whether your bad boss’s behavior is illegal.
AXIS Legal Counsel is an employment law firm representing clients in numerous kinds of lawsuits and disputes involving some of the nation’s largest employers. Whether it is sexual harassment, other kinds of harassment, discrimination, medical/disability discrimination, retaliation, hostile work environment, wage/hour, workplace bullying, or other claims, AXIS Legal Counsel is experienced in the field of employment and labor law and focused on providing high-quality legal service. AXIS’s managing attorney, Rabeh M. A. Soofi, is recognized as one of the “Top Women Lawyers in Southern California” by SuperLawyers Rising Stars, and is a Los Angeles Employment Attorney with experience representing numerous employees with a wide variety of employment claims.
For information on retaining AXIS Legal Counsel for any employment matter, contact email@example.com or call (213) 403-0130 for a confidential consultation, or visit our Employee’ Rights Practice Area, or Individual Rights Portal. AXIS is a Los Angeles, California employment law firm serving employees all over Los Angeles and California.
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