How To Cope With a Bad Boss

July 24, 2014

It’s been said that you should never walk away from a bad boss without learning something valuable. However, that’s not much help if you’re stressed to the eyeballs and dealing with a workplace psycho who makes Kevin Spacey’s heinous character in Horrible Bosses look like Mother Teresa. Hell, I often like to joke that some of the tyrants I’ve previously worked for at a media giant helped prepare me for the rigours of motherhood, and thereby coping with two demanding littlies under three.

But workplace bullying is a huge, ongoing problem in Australia; a bad boss can crush your productivity, self-esteem and soul, if you let them. In fact, three out of four people report that their boss is the most stressful part of their job, says leading positive psychologist Michelle McQuaid. In addition, she believes a bad boss is the no.1 reason women quit their jobs.

McQuaid, who penned the aptly titled 5 Reasons To Tell Your Boss To Go F*** Themselves, based on her own real-life experience, is a foremost expert on the topic, providing personal, workplace and schools coaching and mentoring via In her book, McQuaid counsels readers on how to deal with problem bosses of various types and how to assess when it’s time to act.

Using case studies, the psychologist/author provides practical tips on how to fight back, rebuild your confidence and disarm even the most difficult boss, be they the bullying, passive-aggressive, narcissistic, or authoritarian type. “Studies find left unchecked, a bad boss can undermine our performance, damage our health, destroy our relationships and leave us feeling depressed and anxious,” Ms McQuaid says.

“In my experience, a badly behaving boss is the gift you never ask for. You wouldn’t volunteer to work for this person, but it can offer an incredible lesson in how to manage our own fears and boost our resiliency in the face of challenging relationships. I’ve also discovered that when we don’t accept the gift and deal with it, there’s a tendency for it to follow us to the next job!”

What’s more, she says, your boss might not even be aware of their bad behaviour. It goes without saying though, that if your boss is being physically or emotionally abusive then you should immediately abort! Seek help and get out fast, sister.

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