I read a couple of great posts over at BrainBasedBusiness about dealing with bad bosses. They are The Worst Bosses get Promoted, not Punished and 5 Reasons Bad Bosses Get Their Way. The timing was good because I was also reading the book When Smart People Work for Dumb Bosses. It's not because I am currently working for a bad boss, though I have had a few in my career. It's actually research I am doing for my newest emotional intelligence workshop for IT professionals.
In those posts from BrainbasedBusiness, Dr. Ellen Weber discussed some of the physical and chemical responses in the brain that escalate or de-escalate stress and conflict. Weber goes on to provide some tips for staying calm and dealing with bad bosses.
Unfortunately, we don't often get to choose who are bosses are and we could end up dealing with one at some point. Here are a few additional thoughts on working with problem people and bosses that I am working on for my emotional intelligence workshops:
Stick to business & avoid confrontation - Sometimes you may want to simply focus on getting the job done and not on confronting or "fixing" others.
Document everything - Though it takes more work, it is sometimes necessary to create a paper trail so that you have records of what has transpired.
Seek help - Don't suffer alone. Reach out to other managers, peers, or the HR department when you are struggling with a bad boss. Our relationships with others can strengthen us during tough times. I would caution against sharing your problems with peers who only inflame you or the situation.
Refocus your energies - If you find yourself under pressure from a difficult boss, it may be a good time to put your energies into other pursuits outside work. Seek out hobbies or other activities that energize and rejuvenate you.
Consider a move - You are gifted and valuable! Don't throw away your talents to those who don't appreciate them. Go to another department within the same company or leave the company if necessary. Better to leave the bad boss in the rear view mirror then continue to be under the gun.
Don’t take it personally - Generally bad bosses are that way because of themselves, not because of you. After evaluating any areas where you may have contributed to the situation, and taking appropriate action, don't take anything else personally. Don't see the situation as something you have caused.
Like Dr. Weber, I would encourage you to provide your tips and feedback.