Dealing with a Bad Boss

Is your boss the bane of your existence? You're not alone if you answered with an emphatic yes. According to a Monster.com poll, 70 percent of workers say they have a "toxic manager." And now a recent Florida State University study proves what experts have been saying for years: Employees don't quit their company — they leave their boss. So before you let a less-than-stellar supervisor drive you away from your dream job or delay your climb up the corporate ladder, consider this tip: "The key to getting on with a boss is learning how to manage him by understanding the underlying motivations for his behavior," says career management expert Barbara Moses, PhD, author of Women Confidential: Midlife Women Explode the Myths of Having It All. To stop a bad boss from holding you back, simply find your supervisor's management style among the descriptions below, then read on for ways to cool the conflict and get your career back on track.

The Taskmaster

He expects you to burn the midnight oil on a regular basis, and his deadlines are impossible to meet. According to Moses, sometimes extremely task-focused managers are so set on achieving results that they're not aware of how their behavior impacts those around them. The solution: Set boundaries. For instance, Moses suggests, say, "You've asked me to do A, B, C. I won't have time to complete everything by your deadline. What is the priority?" If you're having trouble putting your foot down, "Remind yourself work-life balance is your right, not a privilege."

The Absentee
He provides little direction and doesn't seem to know (or care) what you've accomplished or how busy you are. An "invisible" management style is typical of a supervisor who's preoccupied with his own affairs, like a problem at home, or maybe he's close to retiring and his mind's not on the job anymore, says Larina Kase, PsyD, author of The Successful Therapist: Your Guide to Building the Career You've Always Wanted. Your boss is probably unaware of how his lack of guidance is impacting you, so tell him, Kase suggests. Ask him to sit down to a weekly or monthly meeting so that you can start getting more regular direction, Moses adds.

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