Option #1: Do Excellent Work
Although you will certaintly be distracted by a toxic boss, it is criticially important that you continue to focus on doing your job to the best of your abilities. Don’t let a bad boss bring down your standards. Continue to meet deadlines, document ideas, and maintain good relationships with coworkers and clients.
If someone thanks you for your work, ask if they’d be willing to document their satisfaction. Look for other ways to get positive feedback since you won’t be getting it from your manager. The idea is to let everyone in and out of the company see what excellent work you do so the negativity of your boss will have little effect when stacked up against the positive experience of everyone else.
In essence, the advice is to ignore the boss and march on with integrity and competence. If you wait long enough, you might get lucky and your toxic boss gets the boot!
Option #2: Find Another Job
However, if you have waited as long as you can and you are not able to manage the stress of your hostile work environment, it may be time to move on. If you dread going into work each day, it may be time to try something new.
Studies have shown that working for a bad boss can double your risk of having a heart attack. I know it takes quite a bit of effort to mount an effective job search – especially if you are working for a toxic boss – but keep in mind how much better you will be once you are settled into a new position.
If you’re at the end of your tether, recommend you activate your network right away. At a mimimum, make it known that you are open to new opportunities both internally and externally. Just be careful not to mention that the reason you want to leave is your toxic boss. You should be diplomatic and not burn any bridges. Simply say that you are ready for new challenges.
Option #3: Talk to Your Boss
What if you can’t tolerate your toxic boss, but moving to a new job isn’t an option? Say you have a job you really love except for the issues with your boss, for example.
If you want to save your current job, then you may want to take a risk and talk to your manager. Let him or her know that their behavior is hurtful and demeaning and cite specific examples. Try to be as neutral as possible when describing the situation. The idea is not to accuse your boss, but simply to bring the behaviors and their possible unintened consequences to his or her attention. You never know, they may simply be unaware of the behavior and the effect it is having on you.
If your manager reacts badly to the confrontation, or if the behavior continues or gets worse, schedule a meeting with the manager above them or with human resources. But keep in mind you may not get the support you need and you should be ready to leave if necessary. It is unfortunate, but it may be the only option left.
And no matter which option you choose for your particular situation, be sure to…
Document All Conversations
Whenever, you have a difficult conversation at work, it’s a good idea to document what happened.
After any meeting with your manager, send a follow up email to recap the discussion. Keep it professional. You may want to run it by a trusted neutral colleague outside of your company for feedback before you send.
Second, for your own records, document any discussions you have with your manager, good or bad. Document the language used. Document dates, times, and who else was present during the interaction. You may eventually need to show this documentation to someone higher up, should that become necessary.
Don’t let a toxic boss sideline you! If you can find a better situation, move on. If you choose to stay, do your best work and stand up for yourself. You can have a successful career despite working for a toxic boss.
This is Lisa B. Marshall, Helping you maximize sales, manage perceptions, and enhance leadership through keynotes, workshops, books, and online courses. Passionate about communication; your success is my business.