Here’s how the story usually goes:
“I HAD to leave. My boss was determined to make my life miserable.”
In my experience, both personal and secondary, I have discovered that in the majority of cases, the failure of the relationship lies on the employee, not the boss or the organization.
People who tend to get ‘unlucky’ and experience this misfortune over and over again, usually can use a little self-reflection. Start with these questions:
– Have you had more than one ‘horrific’ boss who ‘drove you crazy?’
– Do you find yourself thinking very bad thoughts (not in a good way) about a current or former boss?
– Do you feel these ‘evil’ bosses not only held you back but went out of their way to keep you down or make you miserable?
– Were you or are you so desperate to find a new job that you’re willing to work anywhere, earning just about anything?
If you answer ‘yes’ to most of these questions for more than one job, there is a good chance that you will need to adjust your mindset in order to achieve career success. As someone who once suffered from this dreadful illness, I’ll let you know what worked for me.
BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF. Like any addiction, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.
THEY ARE HUMAN. It’s important to remember that your boss does not transcend humanity. They breathe the same air and have plenty of their own problems to deal with. So don’t be sensitive.
YOU’RE NOT A VICTIM. When you feel yourself falling into a ‘Negative Boss Pattern’ (NBP) remind yourself that you’ve had this problem before and that the issue might be with you.
ARE YOU SURE? I keep these three words taped on my computer monitor. Every time I feel myself reacting strongly towards a boss’s action, I ask myself, ‘Am I sure?’ More often than not, I am NOT sure. So I take a deep breath, regain my clarity and try to take things in stride.
I’M IN CONTROL. You might feel overwhelmed with a feeling or a sentiment towards your boss – but you have the power to change. It’ll be difficult at first because there’s a good chance you’ve been repeating this thought over and over in your head. But with enough practice, you can stop that negative thought and replace it with something positive – or at least neutral. You can’t control your boss, but you can control your thoughts and the way you react.
The boss from hell DOES exist. I’m not implying that the onus for a sour work experience is all on you. I’m merely suggesting you look inward and identify a pattern before you find yourself making the same work mistake again and again.
It’s also important to spot subordinates and colleagues who suffer from NBP. It’ll help you carve out an approach to deal with them, keeping in mind, of course, that they probably don’t know they have a problem. Unless they read this blog.
Take out that mirror, take a good hard look and share the blame – I’m willing to bet there’s enough to go around.