4 Tips to deal with “Horrible Bosses”

July 8, 2011

This is a guest post on best practices around social networking from Nicole Williams. For similar posts check out our series on networking tips and tricks here. - Ed.

Does the new movie Horrible Bosses ring familiar?  If you are coping with a less-than stellar boss, it may be time to take action. Rather than simply hoping for things to improve, why not try to change the situation with some of the following tactics.

  • Keep an Open Mind – Don't assume your boss has nefarious intentions. It’s possible your manager is simply unaware of the effect of his or her actions.  Go into each encounter with the assumption that they mean well, but are clumsyabout interpersonal relations.
  • Connection Campaign – If you can’t connect with a "bad boss", be sure you have a strong network ofconnections with co-workers. They can help provide direction, feedback and support on work projects when you aren’t getting that constructive support from your boss.  Be sure your connections stretch across different departments and that way, if things get really bad (your boss can’t – or won’t – change), you'll have contacts that can help you transition to another department.
  • Have "The Talk" – Surprising, as it seems, most managers appreciate honest feedback. So give yours the opportunity to address your concerns about problem behaviors sooner rather than later (when you are so frustrated that you are ready to leave the company). For the best result, choose the right time and setting for this discussion. Don't try to tackle "the talk" as your boss is dashing to a meeting or heading out the door to their kid's soccer match, or in a meeting or hallway in front of co-workers. Instead, schedule time on their calendar and pick a neutral location like a quiet conference room away from teammates and higher ups.
  • Be Prepared – If things don’t change, it may be time to move on. In fact, in the current economy, whether you work with a stellar boss or a horrible one, you shouldalways be preparing for your next career move.  Don’t wait until you are out the door to lay the groundwork for your next job.  Now is the time to make sure that your LinkedIn profile showcases your latest accomplishments,that you are actively growing your network of connections, and that you are up to date on industry news.

And, feel free to share your experience of dealing with a bad boss in the comments section. Or, talk to us @linkedin.