Is your bad boss your problem?  Is it up to you to fix it?

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” ~Leo Tolstoy

Bad bosses.  They are everywhere.  Did you know that companies fail to choose the right candidate for managerial positions 82% of the time? (James Harter, Gallup’s chief scientist for workplace management.)  Even more surprising is that more than ONE-FOURTH of managers said they weren’t ready to lead when they began managing others, according to a 2011 CareerBuilder survey.  HR Magazine published an article stating there are 5 types of the absolute worse bosses: The bully, the micromanager, the workaholic, the by-the-numbers boss, and the divisive boss. Click [here] to read on and find out more on these types of managers and how you might attempt to “fix” them before jumping ship.

Have you experienced a work environment with a horrible boss?  Take a look at the 5 below and see if he or she falls into one or more of these categories:

The Bully: Bullies desire power, and they have no moral scruple about behaving aggressively to get it.  In their drive to the top, they don’t care who they run over.  They can be verbally abusive and ruin your day in a matter of minutes.

The Micromanager: Their desire for perfection and control creates a bottleneck in getting your work done in a timely manner.  Insisting on being cc’d on every email and wanting to add their touches on client proposals are just a few of the examples that slow work down.

The Workaholic: HR software company BambooHR says 39% of employees work more than 40 hours a week, and that we’re working an average of 11 hours a week more than we did back in the 1970s.  A study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine last summer found that people who work demanding jobs with 60-plus hour workweeks are a whopping 15 times more likely to show signs of depression up to three years later.  These bosses are the kind that send emails out at all hours of the night and expect an immediate response.  They give out assignments and expect everyone to drop everything to complete them instantly.

The By-The-Numbers Boss:  This type of toxic boss sits in their office diving into reports and analytics while his or her staff drifts without direction. This boss doesn’t have the leadership skills to motivate and guide the team.

The Divisive Boss:  “Divide and conquer” describes this type of boss that plays favorites, too.  He or she doesn’t change their behavior when they become a manager and insists on socializing with others from the team while excluding others.  Playing favorites is a top employee complaint about bosses, according to a 2011 survey conducted for

What are the underlying effects from the behavior of these poor performing managers?  There are many. The emotions that bad managers create can take a significant toll on their employees.  Stress, low morale, anger management troubles and long-term health issues are just a few examples of what can occur among employees.  These examples in turn can lead to higher absences, decreased productivity and turnover.

When we are working with future leaders in our LEAP® program we hear a lot about the challenges at work.  Many of these challenges can be linked to poor management.  So what can you do if you have one of these types of “bad bosses”?  Is it your job to fix it?  Start by recognizing that you have the right to a healthy, professional environment in your workplace. You have a poor manager, it’s not you. The only way is to accept that you have to try to help make some changes.  Here are a few options to try and help these types of managers.

Talk to your boss.  Tell him or her what you need from them in terms of direction, feedback and support. Be courteous and focus on your needs.

Document everything. Document each incident of the boss’s bad behavior with the dates and the names of witnesses.

Seek a mentor from among other managers that have full knowledge of your current manager and try to increase your opportunity for experience.

If the behavior does not change, appeal to the boss’ supervisor and to Human Resources.  Describe exactly what he or she does and the impact the behavior is having on you and your work.  A reminder though, you may never hear what the boss’s boss or the HR team did to help solve your bad manager’s behavior.  This information is confidential.  But, do allow some time to pass for the actions to have their desired impact.

Help your managers help themselves by using HR professionals or an outside consulting firm that can communicate the impact they have on others and help them to change their behavior with coaching and training (we can help, click here!)

Having a lousy boss can really siphon any enjoyment from your job.  It can leave you feeling undervalued and make you wonder if you should begin your search for something different.  But bosses are people, too. Most likely he/she has good intentions or at a minimum has never received any feedback about how their behavior affects those around them. Before you decide to make your plans to leave, try to find more creative ways to better manage the boss you have with the suggestions above.  And know that if you do move on; be sure to research your new company well.  Invest some time in getting to know the culture and management style.  This could save you some disappointment in the years ahead.