Protect yourself when working for a 'bad' boss

Expert offers advice for employees who work under a so-called 'bad' boss

Published On: Jul 08 2013 03:26:34 AM EDT   Updated On: Jul 08 2013 07:24:48 AM EDT
DETROIT -

There is a good chance many people will come across a bad boss at some point in their career, so what is the best way to handle the situation?

Management experts suggest being arrogant, demanding, and hypercritical can be some of the worst traits of a bad boss. If you're an employee working under them, a boss like that can make for a miserable working experience. But there are certain strategies that experts recommend for surviving, and even thriving in this type of situation.

Executive Coach Janice Sabatine tells her clients to think of interactions with unpleasant supervisors as an opportunity to improve your business survival skills.

The first thing to do is to protect yourself. Sabatine recommends that you document every interaction with your boss. Also, summarize and write down important conversations, and send your boss written memos to confirm projects and deadlines.

Local 4 talked to some Metro Detroiters who told us what they think makes a good or bad boss.

"I think that a good boss should be able to do anything that the employees around them can do," said Eryn Rice of Oakland County. "A bad boss on the other hand, doesn't show up or shows up late, doesn't really care about the people that they're with."

"Got to have that positive feedback," said Jessica Hunter of Royal Oak. "Otherwise your employees don't work as hard for you."

Another tip that Sabatine offers is to build and maintain your network in the office. Develop relationships with everyone from assistants to top managers to top managers in other departments. By doing this, you'll establish yourself as a team player.

Sabatine says to think of your unpleasant boss as the spark that ignites your next career move, but some others suggest otherwise.

Derrick Munson of Detroit said, "If you have a bad boss, stick your job out because your bad boss may get fired soon also. So just hang in there and keep on working, and avoid the boss as much as possible"

Trevor of Royal Oak offered some advice for coping in a job you don't love: "Find your outlet while you can, take breaks... take a breather, that's about it."

The most important thing to do is to take everything as a learning opportunity.

"Just like you learn more from mistakes sometimes than from what you do well, you can really learn from a bad boss," said Sabatine.

Before labeling your boss as bad, reflect on your experience and ask yourself if your boss is making you better at your job, and perfecting your weakest skills.

Also remember, management experts say it's unlikely a bad boss is going to change his or her behavior, so if you can't work with them, it may be time to move on.

"You're always gonna have bad bosses," said Jessica Hunter. "They're gonna be out there, just be the bigger person, work hard until you find something that you really love."