Monday, August 18, 2014

Why a bad boss may be good for your career

There are a lot of things I have read and disputed. Some I felt were just the writer's opinion and others I actually agreed with. One of the most recent ones that got me sitting on the fence for a while before I chose a place to fall under after due consideration is this. How bad bosses can actually be good for your career.

I read that piece on Forbes website and decided not to take the writer's word for it. I went on to do my own serious thinking, dissecting every boss I had ever worked with over the past few years. You know what I discovered? I found that in one way or the other, they had played a major part in putting me where I am career wise and in the way I behave to my subordinates plus in where I aim to be at. The good ones, I emulated and the bad ones, they unconsiously taught me what NOT to do.

I once worked with a direct boss who literally frustrated me. I cringed at the thought of coming to work because of him. I did my work well and often times wondered why he always picked on me. He would laugh and tell me how it was his job to frustrate me and mine to do all the task and make him look good. I remember telling him once that because of him, I would work my a** off to get to the top and never have a boss like him again. Somewhere along the line, his cunning and bad ways were noticed and he got fired but, I am living up to that promise I made to him years ago. I am doing all I can to ensure his jaws drop when next he gets to meet me and see how well I have done for myself.

You see, when you work with a bad boss two things are involved. They can break you or spur you. Am I confusing you now? Well, let me explain.

You Vs The Boss

If a boss is never around, you either learn to work hard under no supervision or play like the mice when the cat is away. It's really your choice. If you choose the latter, think about the kind of boss you'd be when you eventually get up the ladder. That is if you do.

If your boss is inefficient, you can either do your job excellently in spite of his incompetence or renege on your duties just to make him look bad. It's also your choice but in truth, you'd hurt your career more than you actually set out to by doing that.

If your boss is unappreciative of efforts put into tasks, you can choose to work anyway expecting no praises and when one comes, you enjoy it; or choose to not put in any more effort. After all, no praises are forthcoming so why sweat it right? Well, that will only bruise your career journey even more.

Again, if you have a boss that puts you down verbally in front of your peers; you can take their words to heart or if it makes you feel really bad, you can put that in your check list of things not to do when you are in a senior management position. Why do to others what you cannot take? If you eventually choose to act like they did to you to your subordinates, bear in mind that the feelings you harbored toward that boss will be poured upon you by your subordinates like wine.

Many bad bosses have forced people out of their jobs because being there only zaps what is left of your self-worth but what of those who don't have the courage to walk away into uncertainty? Those who have a truckload of responsibilities on their shoulders and can't afford to leave a paying job for nothing? Well, luckily for that lot research has shown that bosses who fail to improve the productivity of their people have a very high exit rate compared to that of average-quality bosses. This means, that bad boss is on on his way out of the door sooner than you think just like my boss that I spoke of earlier. 

For those who have an option and cannot wait for the bad boss to take a hike, you may want to explore those options but never ever forget your experience with your bad boss, that could be you in a few years on the other end of the table or their bad traits can fall under the things you choose to learn from and be a better person and leader.

Are there advantages to having bad bosses? Yes, there are. This quote from Forbes states it simply.

" Having a bad boss does make you accountable for your own work. It increases your awareness of what it takes to be a good leader. It creates empathy in you for others on your team. It helps you develop character and personal strength. It helps you draw distinctions between the issues and the drama. And, it teaches you to bite your tongue - a skill many of us are still trying to master."

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