You could have the most perfect job in the world with the dream salary, but if your boss is making your work life a living hell, you’ll soon find yourself wanting to look for a new job.
In a recent survey, 4 in 10 workers said their manager's behaviour increases their stress levels, with over a third claiming they don’t enjoy their job because of their boss. So what can you do about bad bosses?
Here are the top five horrible bosses and how to deal with them.
The manipulative boss
Turning all the staff against each other and making sure there’s no idle chit- chat, the manipulative boss spreads rumours and speaks badly of your co-workers to create some awkward office politics. Not only that, but they also have a way of making you do work you don’t need to do, and you find yourself staying late with no idea why or how it happened.
The best way to deal with this type of boss is to simply not get involved. If they want to moan about your colleagues that’s fine, but don’t join in.
Standing up for yourself can also do wonders, and by being assertive (in a professional manner of course), you’ll be showing your boss you aren’t a doormat and won’t be pushed around.
The perfectionist boss
There’s nothing wrong with wanting things done right, but the perfectionist boss takes it to ludicrous extremes.
They’ll ask you to re-do things a million times even though the finished product always looks the same, they constantly belittle your work and will make everyone stay late until it’s perfect…until they realise they may as well do it themselves. They’re the most demanding of the horrible bosses, and they don’t always appreciate the hard work you put in. So how can you keep your cool and reach their dizzying heights of expectation?
Answer: You don’t. Ignoring your bosses’ demands may sound like a sure-fire way to get your P45, but hear us out. Unlike some of the horrible bosses on this list, the perfectionist might not know what they’re doing, so a quick meeting could soon iron all the problems out.
If you don’t think that will work, next time they set you a task, be sure to ask lots of questions, the more detail you have about the what they want, the less likely you are to re-do it again later.
Being told that your work isn’t good enough is sure to affect your morale though, so make a note of all your accomplishments and what you do every day. You’ll soon see you’re a hard worker, and if the boss says otherwise, just show them your list.
The harassing boss
This boss in particular raises a very serious issue, and some people may find it hard to talk about or report.
But it’s important to remember that you’ve got a legal right under the Sex Discrimination Act not to be sexually harassed by your boss or colleagues. This covers things like comments about the way you look that you find demeaning, indecent remarks and sexual discrimination.
If you’re currently experiencing unwanted advances at work, then you can try and deal with the problem directly by going to your HR department. Alternatively, you can get free advice from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).
The angry boss
You know the type, domineering control freaks that lord it over their employees. They shout at you when you’re 30 seconds late, shout again whenever you dare to leave on time and will never show they’re grateful for anything you do.
Being micro-managed can be really damaging to your self-esteem and, if it’s uncalled for, it can really undermine you in the workplace.
But what can you do when your boss claims they’re just a 'strong manager'. Well the important thing is you are protected by law from "offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient."
This covers everything from constant criticism despite good performances, being shouted at, forced to do mundane tasks and being persistently picked on, through to having promotions blocked and being overloaded by work. If this sounds like it applies to you then make sure you speak in confidence to your HR department to try and find a resolution, and if you’re not comfortable doing this then contact ACAS for free legal advice.
The lazy and unfocused boss
They stroll in three hours late, take long lunches, play Candy Crush on their phone whenever you’re trying to talk to them and then announce they’re going home at 3pm…it’s the lazy boss, not that you notice them, they aren’t really ever there.
The key with this boss is to stay calm and be patient. Lazy managers are very common because lots of companies promote people for the wrong reasons. You need to focus on your own performance and ensure you do the best job you can – and try to let your boss’s boss see that. If the incompetence moves into bullying then you have grounds to address it, but if not you may just have to wait it out.
See if your colleagues feel the same way and, if it’s causing serious problems with your workloads, you can all get together and ask for an informal chat with someone higher up in the company or in HR to address your concerns.
Just be sure that you have logged all the incidents and it doesn’t descend into a bitching session as that will only make you look like you’re all ganging up on the boss.
If all else fails…
The main thing to remember is you’re not powerless in these situations and you do have the right to a harassment-free workplace.
In all these cases of bad bosses (and the other types that exist), it’s important to remember just because they’re your boss doesn’t mean you can’t stand up for yourself. If your boss is treating you badly, then calmly and professionally say something. If that doesn’t work, it’s worth going to someone higher up in the company or heading to HR to see what your next move should be.
If your boss’s inappropriate behaviour makes you have no other option but to leave the company, you can lodge an official complaint and file for unfair constructive dismissal at an employment tribunal.