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How to tame a bad boss: 8 practical techniques

Meridith Levinson | Dec. 8, 2011
Management experts say employees possess the power to soften a bad boss's sharp edges. Here are eight tactics for making a bad boss more bearable.

6. Find one thing-anything-you can appreciate about your boss. Your boss might be a swine, but she might also possess a keen ability to foresee risks and challenges. Finding some quality you genuinely appreciate in your boss "helps you stay in the game longer," says Hewes, even if you're simply biding your time until you land a better job.

Complimenting your boss on this quality you appreciate might help to soften her exoskeleton. Just make sure the compliment is sincere, as tough bosses aren't usually receptive to flattery, according to Hewes.

Showing your boss some appreciation may be a welcome change for her, especially if she experiences little appreciation from her boss or at home. It also reinforces positive behavior.

7. Enlist help from your peers. If your coworkers feel the same way as you about your boss, you can work collectively to change his behavior, says Daniels, the psychologist. Before a meeting in which the boss might debut a new tasteless joke, you and your coworkers might agree not to acknowledge his jocularity. If no one responds to his antics, his behavior is likely to change a lot quicker than if just one person is unresponsive, notes Daniels. "It's amazing how quickly this [tactic] works," he says.

8. Take advantage of formal HR feedback mechanisms. Many organizations routinely conduct employee engagement surveys and 360 reviews of managers, says Finkelstein. If you work in such an organization, he says, "you have the perfect opportunity to express yourself. If an organization has been proactive enough to seek input, give it. That's your power."

 

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