According to mental strength trainer, Amy Morin, a toxic boss is one which engages in harming others. If you’re unfortunate enough to have to deal with such a leader at work every day, don’t worry. Here are 6 tips on how to deal with a toxic boss.
1. Understand How Your Boss Operates
To be able to work effectively with your toxic boss, you have to know what work and methods they like and which things upset them. This is a good practice for working with any boss, but it is more important to do so with a toxic one.
You want to reduce the chances of them throwing a tantrum or becoming upset on a miniscule issue. Toxic bosses tend to focus more on putting blame than offering solutions according to entrepreneur, Brandon Stapper. Don’t give them the chance to ridicule you for failure.
Do this by making careful observations of your boss’s behavioral patterns. Make a note of the things that upset them so that you can try and avoid doing those things. You are going to be feeling a lot more comfortable going in meetings knowing that there is a lower possibility of them losing their heads over something you may have overlooked.
2. Keep Your Interactions with Your Boss Brief and Diplomatic
The best way to deal with a toxic person is to avoid them unless you need to interact with them. Say what you have to during your meetings, and finish up the conversation and leave. Don’t spend any more time than you need to during each engagement.
Caroline Castrillon, a seasoned business and life coach recommends ending conversations with your boss on a confident note. You need to be able to effectively communicate with your boss in times of conflict. It’s best to negotiate and present alternatives instead of explicitly saying you can’t do something or that you have other commitments. Be diplomatic and confident.
3. Give Your Boss Fewer Opportunities to Feel More Powerful than You
Be well-prepared for your meetings with your boss. Bring them results, and don’t rely too much on their input on achieving those results. This will allow them to feel like you are dependent on them for getting your work done. Discuss your work and input in a project in a positive manner. Mention the shortcomings or failures, but focus the conversation on what you achieve and highlight the positives.
Maintain confident body language through posture and eye-contact when they get aggressive. Giving your boss any indication that you’re intimated by their behavior can help them feel comfortable with their power. The way you carry yourself around your boss can subtly send signals on how you react to their behavior.
4. Be the Intelligence Behind an Incompetent Boss
You may come across a rather incompetent boss who often reverts to aggressive behavior when their competence is under fire. Research shows that a boss’s competence has a significant impact on the well-being of an employee. An incompetent and aggressive boss can be damaging to an employee’s mental health. However, to be successful at a workplace, you have to learn to work with them.
Learn to work with an incompetent bully by helping them achieve results for the company. Lend your intelligence to them to make up for theirs. This will help in your bully being more open to what you have to say, and you’ll be helping the company overall.
However, don’t let them take the credit. Be sure to let your involvement be known and apparent to other colleagues. This will increase your opportunities for growth and increase the possibility for your incompetent manager to be replaced – perhaps, by you someday.
5. Note Every Toxic Act of Your Boss
You need evidence to make any case have a chance of winning. Build your case before you report your boss’s behavior to the HR department. Document each toxic act your boss does or any verbal abuses they may hurl at you. Lisa Roepe writes that HR protects the company and is not your ally, which is why you must make your case on how their behavior is damaging your productivity.
Note it down in a notebook along with the time and date and meeting in which the act occurred. Be thorough and leave nothing to chance or hearsay. You want to make your claims credible by proving as many facts as you can.
Chances are that other colleagues may also have observed your boss’s behavior during a specific encounter that you’ve quoted from your notebook. Make your case strong through documented detailed evidence, and leave nothing to memory. You are less likely to be doubted if you do so.
6. Reach Out to Colleagues Who Deal with the Same Situation
The chances of your boss being toxic and aggressive to you and polite and friendly to others in the office are slim. It is good for you to reach out to colleagues who also have to deal with your boss’s behavior. It will help create some solidarity amongst your colleagues, which can help you feel less alone at work.
Research shows that loneliness at the workplace can lead to greater job dissatisfaction and withdrawal behaviors. You can communicate with each other to cope with the damaging effects on your mental health because of your boss.
This will also help strengthen your case when reporting your boss to HR because you won’t be alone in presenting your case. More accounts of your boss’s behavior from different people will improve the chances of corrective action being taken in your favor.
Office gossip is bad, yes, but dealing with a toxic boss everyday is so much worse. Talk and communicate with others and work together in building a case against your boss. Be sure of their involvement when it comes to the time of giving in the case. You don’t want your colleagues to flake out at the last moment.
Last Few Words
Engaging with a toxic boss can be damaging to your mental health. However, if you’re unable to leave that work environment any time soon, you can still learn how to handle a toxic boss and work towards success.