Dealing with a Bad Boss

The Devil
He seems to take pleasure in making your life a living hell, by reprimanding you in public, for example. A nasty boss may feel threatened by you, or he may just be mean, Kase says. Either way, you need to communicate that he can't continue to treat you poorly. Kase recommends confronting him by saying something like, "What you said in that meeting about my performance really undermined my confidence. I'd appreciate it if you could give me that sort of feedback in private in the future." Moses agrees, but she suggests prefacing your words with "You probably didn't realize it…" to avoid putting him on the defensive.

The Micromanager
He nitpicks constantly or redoes everything you do because nothing is ever good enough. This boss is a control freak, and his obsessive ways are often driven by insecurity about his own position, Kase explains. To build his trust in your competence, make a point of updating him on all your accomplishments before he has a chance to check up on you, Kase recommends. "If you continually go to him first with progress reports that show you've covered all the bases, he'll gradually start to loosen he reins."

The Jellyfish
He never gives feedback, stands up for you or takes risks. The result: You're underutilized. Anxiety is often at the root of spineless, weak behavior, Kase says. "To make him more comfortable with confrontation, regularly request feedback. Ease him into it by asking multiple-choice questions, which guarantee a definite response." For example, try, "X says I should have started my presentation with the quote I ended it with, but Y says it worked best as I had it. What do you think?" That's better than an open-ended "How was my presentation?"

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