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How To Survive Working For A Bad Boss

How To Survive Working For A Bad Boss

It can be a bit of a Goldilocks-style journey to find a great manager at work. Along the way, you’ll sample some who are just too remote, some who are micro-managers, and some who are downright impossible to please, no matter what you do.

Finding a boss that’s just right for you can take time. And it really matters because how leadership behaves has a huge impact on your enjoyment of your work. A Horrible Bosses survey of 3,000 workers discovered that what people most want is managers who are honest and authentic.

Despite that, only 39% said their manager is in fact open and honest about promotion opportunities, and when it comes to money conversations, just 44% said their manager is open and honest.


Bosses have such an impact on us that 82% of the survey’s respondents said they may leave their job because of a bad manager. Gallup data backs this up, with 50% of employees saying they have left a company because of their manager––showing that people leave bosses, not jobs.

But what exactly makes for a poor manager? There are a number of factors that can add up to a bad workplace experience.

One aspect is a lack of communication. One study found that 69% of managers are uncomfortable communicating with their teams, and 37% said they’re uncomfortable having to give direct feedback. But workers need regular feedback in order to progress and develop their abilities, so this can have serious consequences for employees.

Other factors that add up to a poor experience include a lack of recognition for work done, and micro-managing tasks. A lack of guidance and mentoring is another reason why Deloitte reports that 75% of companies struggle with overwhelmed employees.

The effects

The effect of a bad boss can’t be underestimated. It can result in employee stress and burnout. Workers detach themselves from their roles, often “quietly quitting”, and doing the bare minimum. The knock-on effects are taken home, bleeding into their out-of-office hours too.

Studies have shown that overall feelings of happiness, a sense of security and perception of self can decrease anywhere from 10% to 86% depending on the level of daily interaction with a bad boss. Another study found that 88% of workers are happier and less stressed when their boss either called in sick or was on holidays.

It is clear that a bad relationship between employees and leadership has impacts beyond the professional, affecting physical and mental health, as well as damaging career prospects by muting your creativity, motivation and productivity.

What to do

So what should you do if you’re suffering under a leader who can’t communicate, offers you no career development opportunities and exists in a cloud of negativity? For starters, try not to let their behaviour affect your work output, as this could further damage your prospects.

Secondly, if it is at all possible, try to set yourself some boundaries so that you can minimise your stress. If your manager routinely contacts you out of hours on unimportant matters, try not to respond until the next morning. If micromanagement is an issue, staying engaged and on top of your workload is one way to train your boss into realising you’ve got this––and will hopefully help to stop their helicopter oversight.

See Also

There will always be situations where you just can’t take it anymore. Whether your manager is truly toxic, or you are being left behind because of a lack of trust and belief in your abilities, you could be better off looking for a new job, where you can start afresh.

If things have gotten to that stage, the Alt A Review Job Board is a great place to begin your job search. It is packed with opportunities, like the three below.

HR Business Partner, ITV Jobs, Leeds

ITV’s Content Supply & Distribution division is looking for a HR Business Partner for a six month fixed-term contract in Leeds. You’ll provide comprehensive, efficient and effective business partnering support to each of the teams through coaching, problem resolution and case management. Alongside this, you’ll also support and promote wider initiatives to make ITV a great place to work. To be considered, you will need a strong, working knowledge of HR operational processes, excellent knowledge of current employment law with a proven ability to run employee relations/change management processes. Apply for this role now.

Business Development Manager, RAMP, London

Fast growing UK SaaS startup Ramp is looking for a Business Development Manager. You will assist in the development and growth of the business by implementing new and effective strategies and will seek new opportunities, network, develop and implement marketing ideas and satisfy customers’ needs. You will need a BA/BS in business, marketing or a related field and a minimum of three years’ sales experience with an excellent business development track record selling SaaS solutions and associated services to apply. Find out more here.

Customer Marketing Manager (CRM), Propel Together, London

Propel Together is working with a VC-backed software business which is looking for a CRM Marketing Manager to drive customer marketing strategy, from planning through to execution, including Account-Based Marketing. You will be responsible for expanding awareness, engagement, product usage, and revenue growth within the existing customer base. You’ll need prior experience working in a CRM marketing role, ideally having experience within the B2B/SaaS industry and you will be proficient in HubSpot or other marketing automation platforms. Get more information on the role here.

Browse the Alt A Review Job Board to discover amazing companies that are currently hiring   By Kirstie McDermott