Five Ways Bad Bosses Make You Look Bad

Negative responses to a bad boss hurt you more than it hurts them.

The person you consistently complain about brands you. If you let them, bad bosses control your:

  1. Speech.
  2. Attitude.
  3. Behavior.
  4. Contribution.
  5. Future.

Do you really want to give your power to someone you don’t like?

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Reacting-against makes you look vindictive. You keep talking about:

  1. What you don’t like.
  2. What you don’t want.
  3. What they do wrong.
  4. What you won’t do.

Best self:

I recently had a coaching session with a successful manager who has a lousy boss. Toward the end of our conversation I gave them this feedback.

Your best self comes out when you talk about work, projects, and vision. But, when you talk about your bad boss, your worst self comes out.

Which self do you want others to see?


Solving a bad boss situation may result in you leaving your company. But, in the process, don’t let a bad boss make you look bad.

10 strategies for dealing with a bad boss:

  1. Your boss’s boss probably won’t solve this issue for you.
  2. Spend more time seeking solutions than pointing out troubles.
  3. Figure out what your bad boss wants and bury them with it. Do they want information? Give it.
  4. Focus on things you love about work.
  5. For every complaint give three expressions of gratitude.
  6. Take a lateral move within your organization.
  7. Vent to someone you can trust.
  8. Keep asking yourself, “What positive thing do I want?” (Beyond a piano falling on your bad boss.)
  9. Forgive.
  10. Focus on things you can control.

Bonus: Let a bad boss bring out your best.


Sympathy destroys you. Sympathy validates self-destructive attitudes and justifies negative behaviors. You don’t need sympathy. You need a kick in the pants. Stop letting someone you don’t like limit your career.

I asked Facebook fans to fill in: “Bad bosses _______.” Check it out and contribute here.

What are some suggestions for dealing with a bad boss?