DEALING WITH A BAD B… THE B IS FOR BOSS.
A bad leader can take good staff and destroy it, causing the best employees to flee and the remainder to lose motivation…
When Dineo started her corporate career, she could not have been more excited about the future. Everything was going just as she had imagined it would. Her stellar academic record had landed her a job in a top performing multinational corporate company and she was raring to go, but there was just one problem; she would have the dreaded toxic boss.
Landing your dream job and then having a toxic boss has to be one of the greatest ironies of life., you know, like a free ride when you are already late. A toxic boss will adversely impact your physical and mental health and will jeopardise your career by dampening your motivation. If your work week runs from Monday to Friday, you can be sure you will have palpitations on Sunday. You are left in a conundrum between choosing to leave a job and company you love or staying in a toxic work environment. So what can you do about a toxic boss? I would love to tell you that you can just quit and look for another job but this may not be practical for several reasons. Maybe the company is great for your career, may the job market is not doing great. It is not a rush decision to be made on emotion alone. Below are some of the considerations we think you have to make before taking the leap.
“It is not you, it is me”
the first thing you want to establish is that the problem is in fact your boss and not you. You want to be sure that he/she is in fact is toxic, as opposed to just tough. There is a difference. It is important to get feedback from your peers to determine the actual problem. It is also important to make an honest self-assessment to ensure that you are not slacking or falling short. Often times we can become emotional about treatment we get from leadership when normal dynamics between boss and subordinate are just playing out. You must also be willing to make the distinction between being pushed to be your best and being pushed around. If and when you establish that you are certainly being abused and your boss is toxic, then it is time to think about next steps.
As safely as you can, explore all options you can use to remedy the situation
Believe it or not, sometimes your boss does not know that they are being toxic. They could actually be of the view that they have a great leadership style. In as far as you can, without jeopardising the relationship, try to speak up for yourself. Obviously this will not always be possible. Establish whether there is any recourse within the organisation that you can take to correct the situation. Is your human resources department willing to listen to you in an impartial manner? Is there another senior member of staff who can talk to the boss to make them aware of their shortcomings? Is it possible to move to another department if you do not want to leave the company altogether? All these are options that could be available to you which are definitely worth exploring. Securing another job in a good company is no walk in the park. You owe it to yourself to exhaust the tools made available to you before you jump ship.
Always better to put one foot down before lifting the other
We know how it feels to have a toxic boss. You want to leave and you want to leave yesterday. Unfortunately, you have your whole life ahead of you and you want your career transitions to be as smooth as possible. It is better to secure another job and move than to leave without Plan B. Network network network. Find out where it is you can go next. Throw your CV around and try to make sure you do not disturb your income. Chances are you will have financial obligations to meet. The last thing you want is to leave a well paying job only to be pursued relentlessly by debt collectors. Have a plan, be patient with yourself and make a clean execution.
Make sure the grass really will be greener on the other side
This follows from the point above. Try to make sure you will be better off where you go and this has to be a holistic approach. It cannot just be about the money. Get your facts right about the company you intend to move to. Find out what the work culture will be like. Get information on the nuances. Culture on working hours, leave days, whether or not there is any kind of harassment that prevails at the next company. You may even have to go as far as what the environment is like regarding sexual harassment in the company you will go to. You do not want to jump from the pot into the fire. If you are going to be started afresh, make sure you cover as many bases as you can.
Finally, your well-being is most important
We admit that sometimes all the above options may not be available to you despite your best efforts. You have to draw the line somewhere. A toxic work environment is one of the major contributors to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, and we do not want you to experience those. Where your well-being is in absolute jeopardy, you owe it to yourself to leave that environment. You will need your best health to sustain you through the rest of your career. Talk to family and friends who can support you after you quit, emotionally as well as financially. If you are steadfast about starting over, you will probably eventually get something that comes with peace of mind.
Deciding what to do about a toxic boss is no easy feat. It is an exercise riddled with emotion and that can make it difficult to think clearly. Be patient with yourself and with the process, but whatever conclusion you come to, you must prioritize your health. We have mentioned only a few of the strategies you can employ when dealing with a bad boss. We would love to hear about your experiences and strategies on how to deal with a bad boss.