Do you hate your boss? I’ve certainly been there—I suspect most of us have!
And just to warn you, I have a lot to say here, so this will be a 4-part series. Be sure to check Thursday and next week for all my tips on surviving a bad boss.
Work is hard enough as it is. Adding insult to injury, so often we find ourselves at the mercy of someone we just don’t like. Bad bosses range from people who are likeable outside of work to those who are just miserable people all the time. My worst boss was extremely passive-aggressive and gaslit me so I started wondering if I were going crazy. If you’re unfamiliar with gaslighting, it’s the psychological manipulation technique that uses persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the victim and delegitimize the target’s beliefs. It is seriously not fun to be the target of, I can tell you.)
Fortunately for me, a good friend who worked at the same organization but for a different supervisor was able to see what was going on, and gave me some excellent advice that I will pass on to you on Thursday. Today, though, I want to spend a little time reassuring you that it’s these experiences are normal. Check out any career blog or podcast and you’ll find pages and pages dedicated to the topic. I’m pretty convinced that this is for a number of reasons, the first of which is that, in most organizations, longevity is rewarded. Long-termers, in other words, fall up. And let’s be honest: being good at what you do and being good at managing what you do are enormously different skill sets.
Another reason I think so many people are struggling with such bad bosses is that manager training is seriously lacking in most organizations. I’ve sat through way more hours than I care to remember in trainings of this sort, and I’ve learned sadly little. I didn’t even get a run-through of basic legal issues around supervision, let alone anything about fostering growth in employees. In the worst of the trainings I attended, several people, including the trainer, were all members of some religious sect, and spent their lunches together talking very loudly and passionately about that. Talk about off-putting! By the end, the other attendees and I were afraid that if we asked questions, we’d either become the butt of some obscure joke only those guys were party to or that we’d get proselytized at. Way to teach, dude!