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Bad Bosses: A Sad Reality

We all have them and sometimes don’t want them. What’s that you say? BOSSES. They can make or break your day. They have the power to help move you forward or hold you back. Just like in the new movie Horrible Bosses, stories that seem comical can really be scary and close to the truth.

Lots of publications lately have come out lately describing how having a bad boss can be bad for your health. People who have bad bosses take more sick time and have more stress related illnesses. They usually don’t have the job satisfaction that is imperative to succeed these days. How do bad bosses get into place? Most often, according to to Annie McKee of the Harvard Business Review, companies are promoting for the wrong reasons. They might be reaching great at reaching a sales quota but mostly likely don’t have the personnel development to lead a group.

So what can you do to work through these situations:

  • Check yourself: Amy Gallo at Harvard Business Review suggest to look internally before critisizing your boss. Are you using rose coloured glasses when looking at your boss? Do you know the pressures they face from their boss? Do you think you could do a better job? Have a realistic view of what being a manager in your company is really all about. While you might have the skills, the extra pressure might not be worth it.
  • Document everything: Email recap your one on ones, bring agenda to your monthly meetings. If things were to go sour, you should make sure that you have a handle on what is the truth versus what the boss says.
  • Make a move: It makes no sense to stick around in a situation where you aren’t getting what you need. Realise that bad bosses are everywhere but that your doesn’t have to be.


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  1. Iolanda Birmingham | Aug 12, 2011 | Reply

    I empathise completely with everything you say in your article. Bosses have the power of the organisation behind them. Truth can become the version paying wages, and securing opportunities. Even when employees have factual evidence to support their position they then have to use scarce financial resources to pursue fairness and justice.

  2. jacqui cole | Aug 15, 2011 | Reply

    I worked for an employer for 4 years obtaining and funding my own N.V.Q 3,in health and social care when i was offered a new position of more money, better hours and near to where i lived, i was to start the new job after my pre booked 2 week holiday but upon my return i had been told by new employer that the position was now retracted due to the reference they had recived for my previous employer, i obtained the reference sent to my new employer by asking the I.C.O.the information commissioner’s office,in the reference it said that i was in need of suppervision, despite of the fact that i was regularly in charge of my place of work when the manager was not there,administering medication morning afternoon and night, supervising staff members throughout the days,i can only assume my manager held umbridge of my leaving for a better paid position and was also aware of the fact i have a missdermeaner of 22 years ago that would prevent me from easily finding future employment,THATS WHAT I CALL A “BAD BOSS” and somone who’s got away with ruining my future that i’ve worked so hard to put right.

  3. Rammo | Oct 29, 2011 | Reply

    I have just left a job where the boss was an absolute nightmare. This boss has very, very strange ideas about how employees should behave (e.g. slaves back in the middle age). He once held a grudge against an employee for over 30 years and deliberately ruined his career over an argument. He wrote in his annual appraisal “This man needs professional mental care for his extreme violent outbursts”. The man only asked for training, was refused and he walked out upset.

    He is quite prepared to destroy the companies capabilities to destroy a department he does not like in his sphere of responsibility. He once famously verbally abused me for having a mobile phone (it was off and battery was flat) in a meeting by saying “What the F*** have you brought that into a meeting? Are you an idiot?” During the same meeting his phone went off and he said “Got to take this a real emergency, not like this meeting” It was the local BMW dealer phoning about his company car. Our meeting was about how we were going to keep the customer supplied with goods after we defaulted on a major contract.

    This boss has driven out several employees from the company because he did not like “the look of them”.

  4. Trace | Nov 12, 2011 | Reply

    I think I know this boss, at the moment he has deliberately ruined somebodies promotion prospects to cover for a mistake he has made in regard to project priority. Person asked boss for priority of two conflicting projects and boss said “Do this one first”. Other project played dirty tricks to get prioority and boss accused person of being out of control and cried like a baby to head office, bosse stitched up person to carry the can.

    The bloke is now off on sick leave, boss now talking to HR to get them bury the fact that it is the second person to walk out of role because of him and his dirty tricks.

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