So, you have a bad boss within your organization, or have identified some of the behaviors in yourself as detailed in Horrible Bosses – The Bad, The Ugly, The Terrible. Now what? How do you change a bad boss? Are bad bosses “fixable”? In this post, we discuss how to work through bad managerial habits to create respected and approachable managers.

“People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers.” Low office morale is more often contributed to bad bosses, than to workload. Let’s rewire how we manage our managers. View a bad boss as a difficult client, one that you must understand and work with, even when you’d rather not. Here are some strategies to help you navigate managing a horrible boss:

Identify Prime Motivations 

By learning what motivates a bad manager, you can better formulate questions and conversations with them by speaking to their values and understanding their concerns. By getting to know their preferences, you will start to gain their trust and may be sought out for advice when it comes to navigating conversations and working on projects according to their needs.

  • What are they passionate about?
  • What drives them?
  • What concerns them?

Support Their Success

It may seem counter intuitive for you to support a bad manager, but there is nothing to be gained by making them look bad. Instead, reap the benefits of being someone they can rely on for support. By helping them, you lay a good foundation towards gaining their trust. You may not see immediate results, but you cannot lose by helping others.

  • Help them focus on their natural strengths
  • Proactively work around their weaknesses (if your boss is disorganized, help them stay on top of things; if your boss is forgetful, help them keep up to date records)

Take the High Road

Just because someone has poor behavior does not give you the excuse to do the same.  Vent about work to your friends and family as much as you need, but when you’re at work, stay positive and engaged. You never know who may be taking note of your professionalism.

  • Stay upbeat and involved while on the clock (don’t get discouraged or slack off)
  • Be the bigger person (if someone has a poor attitude towards you, refrain from getting defensive and reflecting their mannerism, be professional and calm at all times)
  • Act like the leader you wish the bad boss was

Whether you’re personally dealing with a horrible boss at work, or if you’ve identified some bad boss behaviors in yourself, consider the aforementioned strategies to help dig deeper into why this person may behave so poorly, and, in turn, acting upon their behavior in a healthy manner that supports both their goals and yours.