What If You Work for a Bad Leader?

About once a week I get an email from someone who wants to know how to work for a bad leader. Maybe their boss is a jerk. Maybe he is just incompetent. Regardless, they are not quite sure how to lead well in this kind of situation.

A Businessman Yelling at an Employee -Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/francisblack, Image #11854358

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/francisblack

Though I eventually became a CEO, I spent most of my corporate years in middle management. I had my share of bad bosses. A few were very difficult. I imagined myself quitting or at least giving them a good tongue-lashing. Others were incompetent. I wanted to pull my hair out or rat them out to their boss.

Fortunately, I didn’t do any of these things, though I was often tempted. And, I’m glad I didn’t. Each of these bad bosses served to make me a better leader. You can learn from positive role models. Sometimes you can learn even more from negative ones.

But what if you are in that situation right now? Here are five ways to cope:

  1. Manage your expectations. When you read a lot of books and blogs about leadership, it is easy to become idealistic. If you are not careful, you can create a set of expectations that no one could possibly meet. You have to remember your boss is human—and fallen at that. He struggles with his own fears, wounds, and weaknesses. He has his own accountabilities and pressure. He will experience good days and bad.
  2. Evaluate the impact. What kind of effect is your boss having on you and your teammates? Is he over-bearing and abusive? Incompetent or careless? Or is he checked out or inaccessible? I have worked in all of these situations and each of them requires a different response. Some are easier to put up with and manage around than others.
  3. Consider your options. If the situation is bad enough, it may warrant your resignation. I have only been in one job where I did this, and frankly—knowing what I know now—I wish I had stayed. But your circumstances may be different. Most situations provide an opportunity to learn, if you are alert and teachable. Some of the best lessons I ever learned were from bad bosses.
  4. Be assertive. Bad bosses have a way of creating a culture of fear, where people are afraid to speak up. But this may be the perfect opportunity for you to become more courageous. This doesn’t mean you have to be disrespectful. Nor does it require that you become inappropriately aggressive. Being assertive means giving voice to your needs and establishing clear boundaries.
  5. Support him publicly. Someone once said, “public support leads to private influence.” I think that is exactly right. When I have been in these situations, I have refused to publicly debate my boss or to gossip about him behind his back. I looked for positive attributes (everyone has them) and publicly affirmed them. I was loyal when he wasn’t present. This gave me credibility when I needed it later.

I once had a boss chew out one of my direct reports in public. I was embarrassed and angry. I did my best to end the conversation civilly and move the agenda along. Immediately, after the meeting, I met with my boss privately and recounted what had transpired. I didn’t raise my voice; I was very matter-of-fact.

I told him that his behavior was unacceptable, unproductive, and would ultimately keep him from getting the results he wanted. I then said, “Look, in order for me to be effective in serving you, I need you to go to Ron and personally apologize. If you don’t, it will undermine your leadership and mine. If you do, it will restore your credibility and win the respect of your team. I’m counting on you to do the right thing.”

This was a very difficult conversation. I knew I was betting my job by being assertive. But he knew in his heart that I was loyal and that what I was asking was reasonable and right. He walked out of his office and did exactly what I asked. Thankfully, this kind of situation never came up again.

Question: How have you handled working for a bad leader? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • Timothy Fish

    I just keep my head down and do my work. They’ll get promoted in a few months and they won’t be my problem anymore.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      That’s great. I ike that Timothy

    • http://wewannado.com Ryan

      It’s great that you don’t let the problem get to you. I encourage you, though, to look for ways to improve the situation on top of not letting it bother you. Whether you can find ways to improve your relationship and influence on the bad leader or prevent a negative attitude in the group, there are always additional options for you to do.

      • Anonymous

        I agree with Ryan. Keeping your head down may show your boss that you choose to be passive. That could open the door for him to walk all over you because he knows you won’t set any boundaries. 

        • http://twitter.com/cheetosrapper Dan Greegor

          Very good point. There is a difference between being bumped, pushed, and shoved. Wisdom is knowing which is which.

          • Anonymous

            Love that!

    • http://www.softskillsforhardjobs.com/ Jim Ryan

      I have seen the opposite Timothy. I have stuck around around hoping that one day their boss will wake up and move them out. But, all the horrible bosses I have had knew how to keep their bosses happy. They have the power to stick around.

      • Michelle

        You are so right, Jim! I worked for a boss like this and she was the most incompetent person I had ever met and determined not to let any other women around her get promoted. I stuck it out for over 4 years thinking I could make her like me but she was threatened by all other women In hindsight, I should have started networking around the company from day one and left that dept as soon as possible, but she also made that difficult for her employees. I never understand why companies put up with people like this because she was so underqualified for her job.

  • Jatinder Vijh

    We often live with prejudices and think that the boss is either good or is bad and see all his actions accordingly. Before passing the judgement, just have a totally opposite perception and then you will know the truth. The boss like his subordinate requires some space and understanding.

    I entirely agree with the approach “Talk to him” or rather converse with him. The real problem may not be the boss but the communication itself.

    Do not quit the ship till every effort is made. This applies both to the captain as well as members of his team.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I agree. Too many people are ready to quit before they have spoken up. I don’t think this is helpful to them, the boss, or their co-workers.

      • http://www.remcojanssen.com/ Remco Janssen

        I did spoke up once. That didn’t help. Twice. Didn’t help. We as a group tried to rebel. That didn’t work. Now our boss is the real big boss, we are all fired and much happier!

      • http://twitter.com/cheetosrapper Dan Greegor

        What if it isn’t a bad boss per se but a bad fit? The boss may not be cruel or mean but his/her style isn’t conducive to productivity for a certain individual.  What then?

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          What do you think? If you were (are) in this situation, what advice would you give to yourself?

          • http://www.remcojanssen.com/ Remco Janssen

            Leave asap!

  • http://www.godsabsolutelove.com Patricia Zell

    Showing respect is so important when dealing with bosses. I can remember sitting in a staff meeting many years ago where the teachers were disrespectful to the principal. As a young teacher, I remember thinking how those teachers could expect their students to respect them when they didn’t respect their boss. Even though that principal had his problems, he still deserved to be respected. Also, as Christians, we have a secret place to go to where we can ask God to cause everything to work together for the good of everyone.

    • Joe Lalonde

      That’s a good point Patricia.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You make a huge point, Patricia. If we are disloyal to our boss, we are teaching our team (or pupils in your case) to be disloyal to us.

    • Anonymous

      Great point. If we don’t honor those above us as God requires, how can we expect others to honor us. 

    • Anonymous

      As a student, I cannot agree more. The teacher-principal analogy is a great example of how disrespect yields more disrespect. 

    • BusyB

      I agree, we should generally be respectful to leaders, but not blindly.  If they are at fault there are times to say so.  I also think there is a point where a leader like your principal has to draw their own line like with those disrespectful teachers and say ‘Excuse me, but you’re behaviour is not appropriate.”   If we let bosses OR employees push us around, we might need to be firm & say ‘that’s enough’.  I agree with Dr Phil’s line ‘we teach people how to treat us’.  

      • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

        Good point. Respect is not silence. In fact, there are times the deepest respect is shown by speaking up.

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    True Mike! I agree with you. We may not be enjoying where we are currently in work. But, we can’t be waiting for the right opportunity before we give our best effort. That would be a mistake. There is no guarantee that our next location will be any healthier. It may end up being a worse opportunity. We should always remember that ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’. Moreover, in such situation, bashing the boss, complaining, gossiping or resigning to fate is not going to be of any use to disgruntled employee.
     
    Alternatively, we can take advantage of where we are now. We can learn all we can now and give our best now. So, our focus can be on developing ourselves where we are now. I believe this approach and attitude will build our character. It will make us better prepared when we reach the ideal place we love.

    • Joe Lalonde

      So true Uma. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Thanks Joe! But, many times we fail to realize this simple truth.

        • http://byrdmouse.wordpress.com Jonathan

          If we gave in and acted similarly or failed to give our best then by the time we got away from or out from under bad leadership our own ability to lead would be diminished.

          Anytime you fail to enforce a standard, you have unconciously set a lower standard and are achieving it.

          • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

            That’s true Jonathan! It is important not to allow the external circumstances to degrade and destroy our unique qualities.

        • Joe Lalonde

          You’re welcome. I agree. So many times I think we get ourselves into trouble because of it.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I totally agree Uma. Great counsel.

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Thanks Mike!

    • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

      Excellent point, Uma. I’m a classic example of that. I left a perfectly wonderful job because I was recruited away. All my training was for the new job, but once I got things organized I wasn’t needed any longer and was let go. If I’d stayed with the newspaper job I’d still be there today. We live and learn.

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        True Gina! All we need is a to put a our life in perspective and think long term.

        • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

          And in today’s 30-second-microwave society no one seems to be interested in the long term.

          • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

            Agreed! It’s a fast food society today!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Well said, Uma. Wisdom.

  • Suzi

    Thanks for another great post. Loved the line, “Some of the best lessons I ever learned were from bad bosses.” Regardless of where we are in life we are capable of learning but it takes discipline to choose wisdom.

  • Agatha Nolen

    Agreed particularly on being assertive, but also supportive in public. I would add that I learned a lot from bad bosses early in my career. I observed how their behavior was detrimental to our work team and vowed that if I ever was the boss, I wouldn’t act that way. The lessons of “what not to do” shaped my management style as much as the coaching and seminars about how to be a “good boss”.

    • http://twitter.com/cheetosrapper Dan Greegor

      Great to hear that. Learn from others both in the positive and the negative.

  • http://davidsantistevan.com David Santistevan

    I’ve been fortunate enough to work for a great leader, right out of college. My challenge has been learning how to serve another’s vision while you wait for the fulfillment of your own. I’ve found it actually advances your vision when you serve another’s, even for just a season. We young adults are inclined to start something and quit, take a position and quit when we don’t feel it anymore. I think there’s wisdom to be learned when you stay put under a bad leader or a difficult circumstance. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Amen. I couldn’t agree more. This is the biblical pattern.

    • http://www.matthewbrice.com Matthew Brice

      David you are absolutely right.  I think too often we quit without quitting too.  We young adults give up far too easily.

      • http://davidsantistevan.com David Santistevan

        “Quit without quitting” – that is profound. I think humility is an important factor – realizing you don’t have all the answers and that maybe the leader you’re under knows more than you do.

    • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

      Very true, when we give up in tough situations, we can’t really expect to ever learn or grow!

      • http://davidsantistevan.com David Santistevan

        Yes, I think there’s a time for quitting, as Michael said, but I think it’s the exception rather than the rule. Stay put first.

    • http://bluecollarworship.com/ Neil Oldham

      Great truth here, David! I’ve definitely seen this happen to worship leaders all around in local churches so that somehow I’m a “long-tenured” worship pastor at just over 6 years of staying put. Not always easy when we’ve got fresh ideas of our own but has certainly been rewarding!

  • http://www.warriorshepherd.com/blog Dave Hearn

    I’ve had my share of bad leaders.  While it is never a great experience while it’s happening, I’ve probably learned the most about leadership from poor leaders…

    • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

      I’m with you, Dave. There are some profound lessons there. Blessings.

  • http://jasonfountain.blogspot.com Jason Fountain

    Michael,
    My favorite point of your post today is about managing expectations. That was a great point. We all think we know exactly what our boss should be doing. But, we are not in his/her shoes so we need to manage those expectations.

    I just finished the 7 Habits training last week and a couple of things came to mind as I read your post. I like your point that “public support leads to private victory” and I agree with it. A point in Covey’s training helps this as well. He says that private victories, first, then public victories. So, I believe that we can help our situation by, first, focusing on our priorities and doing our best and continuing to focus on growing as a leader. It’s that circle of influence thing – I can encourage and lead my boss, but ultimately, I can only control myself and my actions.

    Finally (sorry for the long response), I think we need to remember the scripture about working unto God and not men. If we truly believe that God is in control and is guiding our every step, then there is some reason why we are where we are. I’m not trying to be too “churchy” by saying this – if we truly trust God then He knows our situation as well. Thanks!

    • http://intentionalbygrace.com Leigh Ann

      I like your “finally” point. Very helpful and very true. Thanks for being willing to be “churchy.” :)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I agree. 1 Peter 2:18–25 is a great passage in this regard.

  • Jim

    While I don’t have a boss per se, I’m involved in a small non profit under a leader that does not really lead well. Decisions are not made and as a dateline gets closer, plans by default gets abandoned.

    Btw, he is mid management in the place he works, so perhaps his heart is not in it or he needs someone above him to push him. We sub leaders try to cover for him but it is no fun.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It isn’t fun, but it is a great place to shine. I was eventually given one of my boss’s job in a similar situation.

  • http://www.paulbevans.com Paul B Evans

    At age 18 I worked for a delivery company. My manager felt negative encouragement was the only option. Day in and day out he beat me down and let me know just how ineffective I was.

    Finally, with one day until my seniority and raise kicked in I broke: “The paper called. They said you won jerk boss of the year and they need you down town. I let them know that if you wear the same smirk you do around here all day then no one who sees the photo will doubt that you deserve the honor. While you’re gone I’ll head to the office and quit just so the title is anchored.”

    The guy was shocked. He thought he was a GREAT boss. It’s the way he had been managed, so he thought that was just the way it goes. We worked things out and he became a student of leadership after that (and so did I).

    Fortunately, no one saw my blow up because I do not believe a public confrontation would have changed anything. It also taught me that I need to be much more patient and learn to understand where the boss is coming from instead of assuming I already know.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Wow. What a great story. You bring up a very valid point: so many jerk bosses were trained to be that way. They themselves had bad mentors and are simply reflecting what they were either consciously or unconsciously taught.

      • http://twitter.com/StephenSauls Stephen Sauls

        I’ve caught myself acting just like my jerk boss before.  Similar to how you start acting like your parents once you have your own children.  Bosses / Leaders / Parents have greater impact than they will ever know!

    • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

      Wow, how fortunate that you didn’t lose your job/promotion. Great story though!

  • http://twitter.com/B_Schebs B_Schebs

    Great Points.  Ira Chaleff wrote a great, although somewhat dry at times, book called “The Courageous Follower: Standing up to and for our leaders” which provided me with some great learning on this topic. 

  • Kksine

    What if you have already debased and gossiped about your boss to all of your coworkers? Is it too late to turn your reputation around regarding this?

    • http://twitter.com/B_Schebs B_Schebs

      I think the best thing to do is just stop gossiping going forward, and the nwork into supporting.  I think if you do a 180 degree turn immediately, other may percieve it as fake.

    • Joe Lalonde

      Kksine, I don’t believe it’s too late. I would recommend going to each coworker individually and offering a personal apology and let them know you’re working on the situation. Then, try to uplift the boss any chance you get. It may be hard but you may also want to go to your boss and offer a personal apology to him. Just be open and honest and then make a change. It will take awhile for your reputation to turn, but if you make an effort you should see change.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Absolutely not. One of the things that is required of leaders is that they be able to “shift the drift.” You can do it.

      • http://byrdmouse.wordpress.com Jonathan

        It’s like building a basement. It is easier to do before you build the house, but it can still be built with a house over it. In the end, you’ll be a better person, better leader, and gain the respect of both your boss and your coworkers that will be critical if you’re ever in a position to be their supervisor.

  • http://wewannado.com Ryan

    I have worked for a variety of leaders and definitely fall under the first point of holding them up against the ideal John Maxwell leader. Learning to work with the leader you have and getting something from the situation is great advice that we all need to hear.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks. I think God gives you the leader you need in order to develop your character. This is tough to hear, but it opened me up to the possibility that there is a purpose in these situations.

      • http://www.robstill.com Rob Still

        That is an excellent insight, had not considered that before.

      • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

        Mike, I agree wholeheartedly. In retrospect I understand bad behavior is a symptom of emotional turmoil. Feelings of insecurity are primary in bullying behavior which is what most employees suffer in various forms from their bosses. It can be as harsh and ugly as sexual harassment or as subtle as undermining authority of the middle manager.

        You are correct that sometimes leaders do not realize what turmoil their behavior  is causing in the hearts of their employees or how it eats into productivity.

        If the bad leadership includes threatening behavior to the point of making one dread Monday morning and counting the minutes until Friday afternoon #6 should be Documentation of each incident. Riding the emotional roller-coaster one tends to forget facts and focus on feelings. When incidents are documented with day/time/facts, and when the pattern of bad behavior is documented, then the the person should be handed a polite, calm, letter filled with non-argumentative verbiage and facts of each incident, you should be asking for the bad behavior to stop.

        Then one has a solid foothold on getting the problem solved in a non-threatening way. Continue documenting each incident leaving out all feelings about the incident. Then present another letter. This proves to upper management that you are trying to solve a problem, not belligerently trying to get the boss fired. The bully has already primed upper management in a charming way that he is right and the targeted employee is nothing but a troublemaker. The letter approach to handling the situation is written proof to the contrary.

      • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

        Very good point.

  • http://www.robstill.com Rob Still

    I’ve worked for good and bad leaders. I’ve also been a good and not-so-good-leader myself. Three thoughts:
    1) Honor the humanity of the person, as mentioned in #1, leaders are flawed people too. Don’t take it personally.
    2) Honor the position of the leader and his/her role.
    3) Do your best to serve the vision of the organization and the people it serves, especially your colleagues. Try to make it work.

    Do it all with a positive attitude, as unto the Lord.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Excellent summary. Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/B_Schebs B_Schebs

    I thought I had posted already, but don’t see it in the comments. 

    Thanks for the great reminders.  I read a book a while ago by Ira Chaleff titled “The Courageous Follower: Standing up to & for our Leaders” that really gave me a new perspective on working with all kinds of leaders.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great title. I will have to have a look at that.

  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    Wow! Incredible story, Mike. I’ve fortunately been blessed with several good bosses, but even the. I have had to learn to manage up and set healthy expectations.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Jeff. I want to write a post about four levels of leadership: down, across, out, and up. The last one takes the most skill but it is so critical.

      • http://byrdmouse.wordpress.com Jonathan

        Managing up is much more difficult, and definitiely a critical skill needed. I just had a conversation not 10 minutes ago about a bad decision being made that I can see is a bad decision, but since it’s not on a project that is anywhere near my area of responsibility I can do nothing to keep my boss from shooting himself in the foot about it. Bringing it up has the potential to shoot myself in the foot.

      • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

        Agreed. I’ve learned a lot about that in the past few years.

  • Matt L

    I have a terrible boss right now and I’m looking for the lessons that I can gain from this experience. I’m asking God for humility and loyalty, but there are constant attacks in the office and in front of our clients. When I mention something about it, “Oh we’re just shootin’ in the breeze.” But the things he says are demeaning, belittling, and feel very personal.

    I am a perfectionist and have always put forth my best for him, but lately I know I haven’t because he’s lost credibility in my eyes. I would leave if I could, but I have had zero success finding another company.  I’ll continue on making the best of the situation for as long as I have to. I really need the strength to work my hardest in this environment.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I would really encourage you to have a respectful, heart-to-heart with him. Most bosses, even bad ones, don’t get up in the morning and think, I wonder what I can do today to make my people’s lives miserable. They just need to be made aware of how their behavior is impacting their team.

  • http://byrdmouse.wordpress.com Jonathan

    I learned while in the army that even in homogenized milk the cream always rises to the top, it just takes longer. I served under many bad leaders and had many negative leadership lessons, but when I finally got under a good leader I blosomed all over. In fact, I’ve been out of the army twice as long as I was in, he retired a year before I got out, and I still talk with him from time to time. The lessons I learned from him were better than the negative ones I had previously learned.

    I had a particularly bad incident with a leader that actually was the cause of me getting out of the Army. I patiently waited and about four months later was talking with my commander and told him why I was getting out, after he insisted I tell him. The officer ended up apologizing to me personally and gave me a written apology. I said thank you, but it really didn’t matter to me, he should apologize to my wife. He then called her and apologized. In the grand scheme of things it was small, but it made a huge difference back then.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That is a great story. So often our spouses are collateral damage in these kinds of encounters.

  • Joe Lalonde

    Personally, I don’t remember having a BAD leader, just not great ones. My wife, however, is currently in that situation. I struggle with how to encourage her because I know how I would react and it’s not how she would.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      A fantastic Bible passage that got me through one really, really bad boss was 1 Peter 2:18–25. I read it every day for about three months. It explained exactly what to do, based on Jesus’ example.

      • Joe Lalonde

        Thanks for the encouraging verse. I will share it with my wife.

  • http://twitter.com/drbret Bret L Simmons

    Great advice. One of the reasons these folks behave the way they do is that we collude in teaching them its OK. Your example of private confrontation of bad behavior was excellent. Thanks for sharing.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I so agree. People like this get away with it … because they can. Thanks!

  • http://intentionalbygrace.com Leigh Ann

    As I read through this, I looked at it through the lens of a wife. I’m a stay at home wife and mom, and reading this I was reminded of what it looks like to love and support my husband’s leadership, even when he’s difficult. Thankfully, I have a wonderful, self-sacrificing, loving husband, so most of the time he makes it easy for me to submit to his leadership. But in those times when it can be hard, these points were equally as applicable to me as a person in the “business world,” especially # 1 and #5. Thanks for this post.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for applying it to that context. I didn’t really think about it, but you are right.

    • bethanyplanton

      I love your application! Thanks for sharing, Leigh!

    • Anonymous

      Very good point.  Thank you for your insight.  I have to remember that to when I am dealing with my wife as she is a supportive stay at home mom/wife too.

  • http://www.tonyjalicea.com Tony Alicea

    Number 5 has been a big one for me. Even when my boss is unbearable, I still always support her publicly. I’ve seen the impact. I constantly praise her when she helps me be a better manager. I do it in a sincere way, not in a way that is empty flattery. I know she appreciates it and I think it helps her be a better leader.

  • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

    Wow! Memories. Every corporate job I have ever had, I excelled… except the last one. Had a BAD  boss. He was a bear. When he ridiculed, he got personal. It wasn’t even about the job. He threw sharp words aimed at the heart. He did it in a way where it would be his word against whoever he was attacking. Found myself physically becoming ill out of anticipation of going to work.

    In retrospect, I believe his superiors and HR knew about his crazy style of “leadership”. Turns out, he was not getting the results he wanted at home either. His son couldn’t find firm ground as a responsible young adult. I tend to think it was partly his father’s fault.

    I left. Work at home now. That guy is a distant – yet vivid – memory. He is a GREAT example of how NOT to lead. Turns out, about 5 months after I left, he did too. Big promotion passed him over for the second time. He retired. One thing is for sure. That place runs better now and a lot more people are able to work in peace.

    I use my “bad leader” experience as a guideline of how NOT to treat people. There’s something good that can be pulled out of every bad experience. Plus I’m at home now!   

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      These bad examples are often more vivid and impactful than the good ones.m Good for you to keep learning from it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Caleb-Shoemaker/68400718 Caleb Shoemaker

    I’ll be the first to admit that my boss is a great man who struggles with areas of leadership. He’s not well organized and certainly not the administrative type. He is a real visionary, promoting, passionate, and truly believes in the vision of the company. Having come from a position where I suffered the same failings as he does, I try to offer gracious prompts, remind him of important details, and work very hard at not losing my temper the way others did with me.

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Caleb, I’ve always appreciated others with greater organizational and administrative skills. Good leaders know how to encourage others in their strengths. We all struggle in different areas and bring different abilities to the table. You’ve chosen a good path to walk in offering grace rather than irritation. Good, honest comment.–Tom

  • http://bit.ly/hWr7Cw Rob T

    great ideas.  thanks… especially the part about using it as a way to become more courageous.

  • http://jornadadeumlider.com Fernando Almeida

    Michael – thanks for the post. Your #1 really got me. You are right, I try to read as much as I can about leadership and management and somehow that becomes the lenses through which one reads and evaluates decisions from leaders. Thanks for the reminder that leaders are still humans!
    I do have a question on your #4 not living in the US context. In the context where I live and grew up in, it seems that being assertive almost always carries the connotation of a personal attack to the person, whereas all is meant is to address an issue – any ideas on how to go around this barrier?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I am not an expert in cross-cultural communication. I wonder if there’s a way to communicate respect and that you are doing this because you are standing for them becoming the best leader they can be.

      • bethanyplanton

        I would suggest picking up a copy of Foreign to Familiar by Sarah Lanier. It is a great resource in how to communicate between different cultures in many situations. There are several key things to remember when communicating cross-culturally, and Sarah outlines them very well in terms that are easy to follow. It is a pretty quick read. We have all our delegates read this before we let them travel oversees. 

      • http://jornadadeumlider.com Fernando Almeida

        Thanks Michael for responding.

  • Greg Wood

    I agree that you can learn from anyone.  As an entertainer (magician), I find that while I can learn things from the greats like David Copperfield and Lance Burton, I learn way more from watching a bad act.  It may make me cringe at times, I can always find something to improve my own act. Sometimes the things I cringe at remind me to be sure to avoid doing things that way myself.

  • Hyatt Rocks!

    I have to wonder: Is it the leader or the model?  It appears that there has been a shift in our understanding of leadership. The “new normal” is the servant-leader model where the leader seeks to leverage his influence to help his team members create individual success which in turn will produce success for the whole team (and thus the bottom line.)  The “Bad Leaders” that I observe don’t have any comprehension of this concept.  They tend to subscribe to a “get your job done” model.  And yet, as I type this, I’m reminded that the leadership guru, Zig Ziglar, has been teaching “If you help enough people get what they want, eventually you’ll get what you want” for years…so where did the disconnect take place?

    I try to stay positive and use the experience as a workshop for how NOT to lead…as well as spend time praying through it asking the Lord to direct my steps.

  • http://twitter.com/BiancaJuarez Bianca Juarez

    What a wonderful article! Thank you for the insight.

  • http://twitter.com/BiancaJuarez Bianca Juarez

    What a timely post! Thank you for your candor.

  • Jalosbanos

    I had a bad boss – I tried supporting her publicly but she took it against me.  The staff and managers as much as they want – avoid her.   

  • http://www.matthewbrice.com Matthew Brice

    Along the lines of “being assertive”,  having healthy boundaries with bad bosses has been extremely important for me when their expectations are ridiculous.  There is a time to say no and a time to say yes.  And having good friends and a wife to sort through which is which has been a blessing.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      That true matthew! The relationship with a bad boss becomes too professional.

    • bethanyplanton

      Great point. Healthy boundaries are important for every relationship!

    • Anonymous

      I agree with you without boundaries and my wife to lean on I do not know if I could make through some of the things that I have.

  • Anonymous

    I too have had my share of bad bosses.  Sometimes they are bad from a personal perspective (i.e. they are just mean people inside for whatever reason) and sometimes they were not as competent as you would expect from that person in a leadership role.  I am fortunate now that I have a good manager, but in the past I have had to do a multitude of things to “keep my sanity.”  The first thing that I remind myself is that they are only human and just as I am not perfect they are not either.  This helps me to stay grounded.  I then remind myself that the only person I have control over is me and I can choose how I react to the way that my boss treats me.  I agree that it is important publicly to support your supervisor, but at the same time, behind closed doors I am open and honest about things with my manager, but not in a detrimental way.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      ‘Keeping our sanity’ and ‘staying grounded’ are two great acts of maturity.  Great reminders Whitakerous!

      • Anonymous

        Thank you.

  • Bookncoffee

    This is awesome advice.  When people go through working for a bad boss for the first time, it is very surprising and sometimes a person’s reactions can be just as unprofessional.  One thinks they are justified in making responses or revenge, however, it CAN hurt a job position and  career.  On the other hand no one should be subject to hostile environment type of behavior – especially on a repeated basis.  So it may need that you need to vent to a confidant or HR under extreme situations.  

    These suggestions are excellent that Michael offers.  Remaining calm with your “bad boss”, giving praise where praise is due, and maybe the boss is having to learn his own leadership ropes.  Often we have to “cope” with bad leaders in our workforce.  I will admit that I learned the hard way that griping and complaining and gossiping does not make any thing improve, but only worsens my own attitude and hurts relationships with others around me.  They really do not want to hear it after a while.  Find JOY in the TRIALS b/c we are all going to be better in the end and REFINED like SILVER!  Be the best you can be and do the best you can do!  A prayer to God for his input and hedge-like protection is not a bad idea either! If God is on your side, who can be against you?

    Sometimes we have to LEARN how not to let the stress of a bad boss or work situation gain control over our health.  So being able to “hang it up” as you leave out the door is also a way to deal with it.  Focus on family, friends, God, hobbies, etc. once the work day is done!  Put a forced smile on while you are there!  Before long it’s easy and sticks!  Hey I’ve written my own blog post here!  :-)

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      “Focus on family, friends, God, hobbies, etc. once the work day is done!” – Thanks for the great perspective.

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Love the Bookncoffee name. It smiles and I smile back.

      I’ve experienced two jobs where negative leadership and negative responses made for rotten work environments. Learning to be a positive influence is a challenge. At times the task seems daunting. In the long run, though, it’s the best tack to take.

  • http://twitter.com/RobaSorbo Rob Sorbo

    The only bad leader I ever worked for was someone who was absolutely brilliant, our personalities just clashed. I eventually was pushed out (one step away from fired) of the job, but would have eventually quit anyways.

    Looking back, I realized that he shaped me as a man and as an employee. So many of the things that have made me a great employee at other jobs are things I learned from him. 

    I wish I had made our situation better so that I could have learned from him more. I regret leaving that job.

  • http://themusicgardener.com Keith Stancil

    Great post! I’ve been there and looking back I learned a wealth of knowledge on how not to lead from a former boss. It was extremely difficult as I had to act as a buffer between my boss and my direct reports I did make it through to the other side as a better leader myself.

    • bethanyplanton

      Agreed. There is nothing like a bad example to make you want to run, sprint even, in the opposite direction

  • http://www.trudatmusic.com/raw brenten gilbert

    I actually wrote about this about a year ago and taking the step back to really think about what I should do really helped put things into perspective. 

    Anyway, I listed 7 steps: Breathe, Be Slow to Speak, Find the Big Picture, Find the Small Picture, Control What You Can Control, Celebrate Small Victories, and Be Ready to Move On. (http://bit.ly/a404Og

    I do like your advice as always, but for me the two main keys are perspective and personal responsibility. I figure, if I keep things in the proper perspective and take care of what I need to do rather than worry about what others are doing, I can come through the fires largely unscathed. 

    Thanks.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Thanks for sharing the post. Good points to ponder over.

  • Anonymous

    I experienced this about six years ago. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a Christian then. I was totally living in the flesh and found myself fed up. I didn’t have good leadership, therefore it was hard for me to be a good leader to those under me. I did the best I could with what I had. 

    Looking back now there are so many things I would change. But, I was able to learn from it. Learning from their mistakes and mine has allowed me to be a better leader today. The plus side? Now I have Christ leading me. 

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Agreed Sundijo! “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

    • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

      There’s no better leader, sundijo! AMEN!

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Hurrah! I agree with Gina on the “no better leader.”

      Great job of applying the BC lessons to your present life and leadership in Christ.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks.

  • Jplynch04

    I really like point #5.  As a Christian I think this should be #1 on your list in terms of priority.  As a young believer one of the first books I ever read was Spiritual Authority by Watchman Nee.  The book opened my mind at an early stage in my walk with Christ that there is structure and authority at all levels of the universe and that authority is truly a good thing.  While I don’t know that all “Spiritual Authority” translates to “Secular Authority”, there are many aspects that seem to be consistent.  In my opinion, one of the greatest examples of leadership we can provide those who do not believe in Christ is to show that we can follow. 
     

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Watchman Nee was an early favorite as a young Christian. Thanks for drawing out that fond memory. As for spiritual vs. secular authority, I know that Paul emphasized to the 1st-century believers that all authority finds its source in God. Jesus acknowledged as much when he told Pilate that the governor had authority because it was given to him. In both cases, secular authority was the subject being addressed.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That book had a big impact on me, too, as a new Christian 37 years ago.

  • Jeff

    I worked as a contractor for the military under a woman who was very emotionally abusive and publicly disrespectful of me.  I did my best to honor her, but it ended up in me getting fired.  I’m not sure how I could have done things differently, but I would agree that I am a stronger and better person because of the experience.  

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      True Jeff! As Elizabeth Hardwick says “Adversity is a great teacher, but this teacher makes us pay dearly for its instruction.”

  • http://profiles.google.com/susanwbailey Susan Bailey

    Your solution worked because you made it positive and about your boss and how HE could benefit. Brilliantly done! That took a LOT of courage.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    Manage your expectations. I just finished Donald Miller’s “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” (great read, challenging stuff). He wrote about how the happiest place in the world, according to studies (whose I don’t remember), is Denmark. The reason? The Danish people have low expectations.

    Interesting to note, the lower the expectations the higher the happiness quotient.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Thanks TNeal for the suggestion ! I am looking forward to Don Miiler’s book.

    • bethanyplanton

      I am currently reading A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I thought that section about Denmark was quite interesting. 

  • http://darensirbough.tumblr.com Daren Sirbough

    In the past I haven’t handled it well at all. I have moreso been the one who sulks and backstabs that person and holds a grudge against them. I’m learning to change that. Thank God I don’t really have that many bad leaders above me anymore, but it kind of makes me wish that whilst I did that I had known then what I know now. I know the future holds many bad leaders and bad decisions and I’m ready to face them with the ammunition of knowledge that I now know. It’s time to practice what I’ve learned.

    No Backstabbing
    Creating Boundaries
    Being Assertive
    Publicly praising him/her for the good attributes he/she carries.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      That’s for the bulleted points Daren!

  • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

    I like point #1, it is easy to idealize what a perfect boss should be, but nobody is perfect.

    I also like point #5, leaders have to make decisions with information that the rest of us don’t know. He/she may actually be doing the right thing even if we do not know it, and supporting them will only encourage them to continue working hard.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    Support him publicly. I think this is generally a good place to start in any relationship. If I speak poorly of another even in private (and I have done this far too often), and let me clarify, I spoke about a person rather than to the person, I sense a tug of resistance (whether internal guilt or the influence of the Spirit).

    If I’m unable to say something to a person’s face, then I certainly don’t need to say it behind his or her back.

    But in public, it’s essential to maintain support of leadership. If anyone had reason and opportunity, David of 23rd Psalm fame did when abused and threatened by King Saul. He spoke of his support of the king even when his own followers wanted to rebel and murder Saul. “A Tale of Three Kings” by Gene Edwards does a marvelous job of examining this issue and faithful leadership in greater detail.

    • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

      Good point, TNeal. When we think negatively instead of searching out the positive (and reinforcing that) all we see is the negative in others rather than the potential for the positive.

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

        I’ve been around two people who majored on the negative. I really don’t seek their counsel very often. On the other hand, I find it fascinating to see how they will spin a positive into a negative.

        • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

          That made me laugh out loud. I’ve seen the same fascinating phenomena and it is also amazing how one person can change the attitude and morale among 30 sales reps in as little as one morning.

          • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

            “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” Glad to be a part of your health plan today.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          For some people, this is almost a gift!

    • http://bentune.blogspot.com/ Ben Tune

      Andy Stanly says something like, “Be a raving fan in public and an honest critic in private.”

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

        Excellent advice. One line that packs a punch. Thanks for sharing, Ben.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Thanks for the suggestion on the book. I am adding it to my reading list.

  • http://twitter.com/elipagel Eli Pagel

    The great thing about this list is that 60% of dealing with a bad boss is internal, and 40% is external. Too many times we either internalize 100% and make the situation worse or we externalize 100% and same result things get worse.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great insight. Thanks.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Agreed Eli! We always fall prey to external forces

  • Suzanneburden

    This is an incredibly important post. Thanks for reminding us to speak into situations, rather than just giving up in disgust. Also, I realize your experiences have been with male bosses, but in referring to bosses in general, the language we use does matter. I’m hoping you’ll consider acknowledging that good and bad bosses can also be “she’s.” 

    Thanks for your continuing efforts to challenge and encourage us through this blog.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Suzanne. The only reason I don’t use “she” is because it make the syntax burdensome. I certainly acknowledge the reality—and the blessing—of female leadership in the marketplace.

  • http://www.ramseyduck.com Ramsey

    Great post! I’ve worked for a couple of bad bosses, ranging from incompetent to abusive, and there are days where I still wonder if I was supposed to stay and be part of their learning process.  Hard to say in hindsight, but I will definitely hang on to this advice.

  • bethanyplanton

    I also like using #5 for other relationships as well, especially good ones. “What goes around, comes around.” The more positively I talk about my friends and fiance, the more I like them and want to be around them and generally they are more likely to hear that I have been talking positively about them. I have never had that have a negative impact on the relationship. 

    • Anonymous

      Good point.  I like it.

      • bethanyplanton

        Thank you. 

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      In “The Noticer,” Andy Andrews introduces a similar positive approach to life and friendship and takes it a step further. Positive people serve as magnets that draw people and, with the attraction, draw greater opportunities.

      • bethanyplanton

        I will have to add that book to my list. Thanks for mentioning it. 

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        “The Noticer” was a great eye-opener to me too. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      There’s another aspect to this. I think sometimes people rise to the vision we have for them. The more we can articulate and affirm that, the better.

      • bethanyplanton

        I agree. If someone believes in me, I don’t want to let them down. 

  • http://twitter.com/cheetosrapper Dan Greegor

    I just keep working and do my best to understand the situation. If I have time, I have gone to a boss or two and asked about what just happened and, how I can or if I should, help in the matter. This usually eased the situation. If it did not, I would go back to work and see if time settled the matter. If it did not, and I noticed a continual trend, I would seek God on if I should move on in my career.

    I wonder if seeing good people leave is a catalyst for a leader to check himself/herself and do some self-evaluation and growth.

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      I think it raises questions in a leader’s mind but it proves most helpful if there is an exit interview and an honest evaluation in the process. Churches often lose people but the reasons for leaving vary. You may wonder but you don’t know until someone helps you to see the problem.

      Most of the time when a person leaves, I believe, he or she just wants to go with as little trouble as possible. In leaving, people normally don’t think, “How can I help this boss/company do better?” They just think, “Thank goodness that’s over.”

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Yup! Agreed TNeal. That will be the mentality of a disgruntled employee while quitting

  • http://bentune.blogspot.com/ Ben Tune

    Like everyone else, I have worked for some good bosses and some bad bosses.  I started taking notes years ago about these good and bad traits and I try to review and update them regularly. I plan on using these good and bad experiences some day when I am the boss.

    Most of the notes have started taking the form of personal letters to myself.  Since I usually tie the characteristic to an event, I can usually recall the emotion that went along with it when I review the note.  

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Ben, you share some very good ideas in your comments. This is no exception. How very forward looking in your approach to leadership and your current position.–Tom

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      These would be good fodder for blog posts.

      • http://bentune.blogspot.com/ Ben Tune

        I agree, but have wondered how it would be accepted.  For example, when you were the CEO, would you trust leadership advice from someone who wasn’t in management?

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Sure. Of course, it all depends on the credibility of the messenger.

    • bethanyplanton

      I like the idea of writing down both the good and bad traits. Thanks for the idea.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      That’s seems to be a  practical and pragmatic idea!  Thanks Ben.

    • http://bentune.blogspot.com/ Ben Tune

      You guys are all very nice in your comments.  I’m praying God gives me the ability to use what I have learned some day.  I think He will.

  • Taffy

    Oh yeah, I’ve worked for a bad leader. She liked everything her way and if anyone opposed what she wanted, that person was cut out of the planning. She was very passive aggressive as well. Didn’t tell you to your face what she thought of you or your idea, but she would tell someone else in the same room what she thought.
    It was sad, really. She didn’t know how to have a one-on-one relationship. She was very use to getting her way, especially with her family. After awhile I kept my tongue, did my work and tried not to stir the pot. But! A few times I did take her to task when she was being unfairly mean about one of the leaders above us. That was uncomfortable (to say the least!) but I felt it was needed. I mostly pointed out the good things the leaders have done and how much they supported our team.
    Looking back on that time,I learned many things that I hope have helped me be a better person.

  • http://twitter.com/StephenSauls Stephen Sauls

    I’ve found that bad bosses affect everyone emotionally and one of the best ways I can combat their negative influence is to intentionally encourage my coworkers and stop the negative talk.  When the boss is being a jerk it seems to be the only topic of conversation in the office and EVERYONE gets down on themselves and the organization.  Kind of like “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” 

    Plus, many of us as subordinates seem to think that we could EASILY do the job of the person above us and we forget that they’ve got a lot more to deal with and take responsibility for.  Do you think your subordinates could walk right in and do your job?  If they can, then “Good Job!” equipping them, but you should know they’re probably outgrowing your leadership and possibly frustrated with you.

    So, how would you want people to react if YOU were the jerk boss?

    My 3-fold approach is:
    1. keep out of their way
    2. confront calmly if necessary (with Details & Solutions)
    3. do damage control / PR for them.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Excellent advice. Thanks, Stephen.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      “Doing PR for them. ” – Oh! I never thought of that Stephen

  • Barry W

    In my 29 year career, I have had great
    bosses, with two exceptions. My most recent ex-boss was the worst,
    demonstrating all of the bad traits in the article: the bad leader, a
    jerk, incompetent, over-bearing and abusive, careless, checked out &
    inaccessible, created a culture of fear. I suggested that he was a
    descendant of Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun. I was wrong in doing
    so, as I may be damaging their reputations. Actually, I conducted
    myself professionally for the three years I worked for him, did what
    was right for the company and my employees, and my leadership skills
    grew significantly. What he meant for evil, God meant for good. Now
    I hope I can pay for all of the counseling to make me normal again.
    Just kidding. As painful as the experience was, I am a better boss
    and person because of the experience. My best advice: 1. Trust God’s
    sovereignty (He is in control), 2. Trust God’s sovereignty (He is
    good), 3. Don’t let their faults set your tone – you can choose
    your attitude and responses.
     

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for distilling down to these lessons. Excellent.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Your story reminds me of the book Good Boss Bad Boss by Robert Sutton

  • wendy

    I’ve been in both situations, experienced conflict and quit/ran, as well as toughing it out to stay!  
    True, I would rather write off 2008 (yes, the entire year) most days, but I have never been the same or viewed conflict the same since that day when I had to stand up for myself respectfully yet confidently.  I was scared out of my mind to do it, but I was being pushed around and being held to unfair standards by my predecessor.  At one point in the conversation/confrontation I actually said, “I will make my own mistakes, they will be very different from yours, and I am responsible for correcting them”!  I learned that I valued my job,  I was/am good at it, and I didn’t want to quit OR continue being treated the way I was being treated….so, I learned!There are inevitable pains when growth is involved, but it hurts us more in the long run if we choose to stunt ourselves.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      “It hurts us more in the long run if we choose to stunt ourselves. ” – That a great truth Wendy! Thanks for sharing

  • Ron

    Two books to read, both by Michael Maccoby:
    “Narcissistic Leaders: Who Succeeds and Who Fails” [2007] and
    “the Leaders We Need and What Makes Us Follow” [2007].
    both from Harvard Busienss School Press.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Thanks for suggestion Ron! I am adding that to my personal library list.

  • http://twitter.com/jonmholcomb Jonathan Holcomb

    I know I have heard Andy Stanley put it somewhat like: Support me in public will give you leverage in private.  

    Really good stuff

  • Rusty

    I quit.  No fight, no argument, no big confrentation,  I resigned.  Best thing I ever did!

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Quite crazy! may not be possible always

  • http://www.irunurun.com Travis Dommert

    I got some particularly valuable wisdom from Keith Eigel at Leaders Lyceum here in Atlanta.  He certainly didn’t intend it, but he encouraged me to stay and talk with my boss.  He was teaching his firm’s philosophy to a group of advisors, namely:

    [(challenge + contradiction) / time ] x perseverance = growth

    He said we don’t learn much when success comes easy.  We learn and grow by persevering through challenge and contradiction over time.  Each element is required.

    I was struggling with a new boss at the time with a fundamental different outlook on life and mission in business…pure financial motive.  I felt we were making short-sighted decisions that would jeopardize client and employee loyalty with big (financial and otherwise) consequences down the road.  I felt I was condoning these actions by staying and thus came close to just calling it a day and moving on.  Keith made me realize I would be short-changing MYSELF by quitting so soon.

    I learned a LOT more by engaging and debating my beliefs.  It was hard, and they were not entirely welcome or valued, but I did it anyway.  Like you, I learned A LOT from this person and am truly thankful for these lessons (even though they are more about what I don’t want to do / be).

  • Anonymous

    I think point 5 is extremely important. 

    You may not agree with a leader, but when you create public rift or tension, you are pretty much deliberately sabotaging his or her reputation and influence. Such conflict can be poison for an organic system that depends on its roots.

    I think there is a fine balance between letting a rampant leader run all over you and crucifying him with your words and actions. I think the most appropriate solution lies more on the side of humility.

  • Louise Thaxton

    It has been many years since I worked with someone who was an incredibly bad leader and have been blessed to work with an amazing leader for over a decade.  But I remember that at the time I was in the bad situation – thinking that I was working with the “devil” himself, I had to pray “constantly” – for him, for the situation, for peace and patience. 

  • http://www.lobays.com Loren Baysden

    Do you think there is ever a time to go above them?  When loyalty is less important than doing the right thing?  I have resigned from a job because I was loyal, and didn’t want to be around what was going on….but are their times when we should approach it differently?  When are some of these times?  Thoughts???

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I do. But this is complex. I don’t think I could offer anything via a comment that would be universally applicable. Having said that, Two situations came to mind: (1) when the boss is doing something unethical or illegal or (2) other people are suffering significantly.

      • http://www.lobays.com Loren Baysden

        Gray areas abound, ha.  With my specific situation, my job is working with others, leading others through coaching.  In years past, when I was an assistant, you would see players being hurt, or their needs not being met.  Basically a “business” was being run, not a “service” for these young men.  Common in athletics, and other business arenas I suppose. 
        While doing my best, to serve them through serving a higher power, I just felt like I was coming up short in changing the environment, and felt like I could have more of an impact on lives somewhere else.  But at the same time, I think if I had stepped up more in different ways could have made more of a difference in the lives of the people that I ultimately left. 
        I think you have touched on it plenty of times, but at times, while it’s EASY because we are built to serve God, it’s also TOUGH, because the nature of the business world can be built against it.  The times to stick up and fight for serving others through serving a higher power vs. moving on to a different environment where you can more effectively serve in a way that you see more fit….can be gray, confusing, frustrating.  Prayer is good.  Prayer is always good.  :)

  • Johnstonteam

    Got to ask.  Why would you have stayed at the job you left because of the boss?

  • http://twitter.com/lhanthorn Larry H

    Good word.  I liked “Manage Your Expectations” because I read a lot of leadership & managment books, articles & magazines and then my expecations become exaggerated such that almost no one could fully meet them.  I end up expecting a Kotter, Peters, Drucker, Hybels, Godin, Welch, Warren & Buckingham alll rolled into one!
    Also, any bad boss just gives me inspiration to be an even better one.

  • Beyond Horizons

    Sometimes, you tend to feel suffocated at your workplace. Like you cant freely express yourself. This happens because a
    lot of people in a position of power manage to surround
    themselves with yes-men, cheerleaders so to speak. And when you are stuck among a bunch of cheerleaders, you think twice about expressing your opinions because you don’t want to be the one who’s thrown under the bus.But its important to realize that your boss might sometimes not realize this fact. He might actually be wondering himself, “why is no one disagreeing with me?”. So take a chance. Talk to your boss.Sindoora at http://www.beyondhorizons.in

  • Adam

    You dont want to miss out on what God might be trying to teach you in this season. You should look at yourself first and ask God, “What do I need to learn through this, what in my character or attitude needs to change before I can move up or on?”
    Changing your perspective can make all the difference

  • Rick Cochrane

    Great thoughts – have me thinking :)
    http://richardjamescochrane.wordpress.com/

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  • Babybug840928

    Ok to me, I feel alone with my situation but perhaps it is not so different from others experiences. My family started a non-profit organization in 1995 and it has grown quite considerably from being in our home to now owning 3 properties and having about 30 staff memebers helping out with minimim wages. 

    We elected a board to make sure things were run properly and my father became the CEO. The board dont seem to do anything about what is happening. I now work earning a salary under my father so business and personal life has only a fine line between them. I think my father is personally going through a midlife crisis or something. He will moan at my mother publically, even though they are the head of the organization. I am in charge of fundrasing so it is very hard for me to see people bring down the name of the charity especially in public. We work with children from a township, and my father has started making very racial comments as well, in the past year.

    With finances not being so great everyone is on board trying to get donors in, being very careful with what is essential and on the budget  and trying to get ourselves known by local and international communities.  We have tried to get my father to understand what a budget is and how donors donate for a specific project that interests them. however he still just draw money out of accounts and spends it on whatever he feels like and what feels is important to him at the time, saying that everyone only wants their projects to be sponsored and everything that is important to him is ignored. We sit down with him every year to ask him what he wants to do in next year, and we try and raise funding for htis. However in the middle of the year he will come up with new ideas and just go spend money instead of waiting for the next year, or until we can find a donor for this new project idea.  Firstly I think it is fraud if we are spending donors money on things that we didnt ask for and secondly we have to try raise funding to cover what has been spent by him, and forget about the necessities of running costs for awhile etc so that we can cover ourselves legally. I feel he needs to have no access to money and maybe even fired, but that would leave him homeless, without a car and well possibly break the family apart. I ‘m not even sure if I could get it done. How do I fix this mess or possibly do this in a nice way.

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  • Matt

    I was searching on your blog for a post or two on being more assertive in your life.  It’s looks like their isn’t any.  Could you recommend any books on becoming more assertive as I am realizing this is something that is keeping me back from becoming more of what I am capable of becoming, my lack of assertiveness.

  • Dia5939

    I serve in a large ministry where we all are volunteers.  I recently had my integrity challanged as an event had happened and had not unfolded as we thought and a leader approached me about why it went haywire. I recently met with him again and he asked “tell me again what went bad”. This is one year later. I filled out reports on what happened at the time. It was a messed up timing on a airing date on the radio. I never thought it warranted being hashed over again and he acted as if what I had told him was a falacy.

  • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

    Can’t argue with any of those. I think it builds character and provides a great learning experience.

    I’m thankful for some of the bad leaders I’ve worked…almost as much as the great ones. I learned how NOT to do it.

    Above all, don’t quit. Persist.

    I went through this years ago in a job. I was about two hours from quitting when I read Ecclesiastes 10:4 in the morning:

    If a ruler’s anger rises against you,
    do not leave your post;
    calmness can lay great errors to rest.

    I write about what happened from there here: http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/king-solomon-kept-me-quitting-job/

    The short translation is: If your boss stinks, don’t quit, stay calm, and you might just make him or her a better boss!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      That’s a great verse. It help me with one boss, in particular, who had anger issues.

      • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

        I’m pretty sure there was a period in my leadership during which I should have handed out that verse when I hired someone.

  • deandeguara

    I was young and I left. Took us a long time to recover. A nine year investment gone, great relationships…gone.

  • Kirbie Earley

    I don’t work for a “bad” leader, I work for a difficult leader – my Dad. As I look to his upcoming retirement (at age 75!) from our organization, I know that what I learned far outweighs the many frustrations, moments of anger, tears and contemplating becoming a waitress :). I also know that there have been moments of true pride – “That’s my dad!!” and moments of sadness as he has gotten older and I have begun to see the signs of aging.

    I do have the good fortune of being able to vent to my Mother. That has helped tremendously. She doesn’t intervene, but she ‘gets’ my frustrations. I know I will miss working for him, and I truly fear for the organization he leads when he departs. I will be moving on, of sorts, as well. Still working for this organization, but also working for me. 2014 will be an interesting year for sure!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I love your intergrated perspective, Kirbie. The good and the bad. One doesn’t disqualify the other. Wisdom.

      • Kirbie Earley

        I don’t believe in dwelling on the bad. It is what it is so find what’s good about it and move on. It’s all a learning experience right?

  • Tim Kuppler

    Here are 8 Signs of a Culture of fear (http://www.tlnt.com/2013/11/14/the-8-clear-signs-of-a-workplace-culture-of-fear/) – Don’t spread these signs in your own area of influence. Either team up with at least one other person to make a difference and work to grow your impact from there, find another organization or you’ll likely be frustrated to no end with your current situation.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Tim. I worked in a culture like that once. It wasn’t fun. But it was rewarding changing the culture of the department I managed.

      • Tim Kuppler

        Exactly! Culture change doesn’t happen in a big way everywhere at the same time. A department, a sub-group or team (even just two people) can help keep each others’ sanity and there’s a better chance the boss will come around (or at least not stop positive progress) if there are results that make him or her look better. “99% of failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses.” – George Washington Carver)

  • Saulo Vallory

    I need to be in a place where I believe in what I do and feel that I’m growing. I work with software development and, in this field, it’s easy to find places to work with a culture that promotes that.

    In one case, I’ve worked for around 8 months giving my best to do as quickly as possible tasks no one else on the team was able to do (at that time, I was the senior developer, even compared to my boss). The extra working hours and extra extra hours studying didn’t keep my boss from complaining it was taking “too long”. As he wasn’t experienced enough he couldn’t really measure the time it would take to do the tasks we had at hand.

    By the 4th time I was put in the position of having to explain why I didn’t finish a complete software rewrite in two weeks, I decided it wasn’t worth it. I didn’t quit though. Instead, I decided to start to refuse taking impossible tasks. As Michael once said “when you finish a project with an impossible deadline, your reward is another impossible deadline”.

    So I guess my 2 cents of advice is: when you have a boss which doesn’t recognise his team efforts, refuse take on unreasonable tasks. Because he won’t understand why you couldn’t do them faster.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I totally agree with this. Draw the line.

  • http://www.hoopercoaching.com/ Charles Hooper Jr

    Keeping expectations in check is key for working with a boss who may not be the best. I have tried to learn the behavior profile of my bosses so I know their motivations and desires. When I support their objectives rather than trying to do my own thing, employment has been more productive.

  • Laura B Williams

    What a great article. I have found myself in similar situations and after handling one badly (where the owner of the sales company fired me with excellent recommendations-my boss was his brother-in-law) I learned a lot and one of my most, difficult and demanding bosses taught me more than all the rest put together. Sometimes you have to pull back decide what your goals are and keep in mind that everyone can offer a lesson that will help you succeed. I went on to run several successful businesses and now have my own.

  • http://changeyouremotions.com/ Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg

    About twenty years ago I worked for a company of about 400 employees (I was in the marketing department). We had a joke around the company that if you had worked there for longer than six months, then you probably grew up in a dysfunctional family. The president of the company enjoyed eating his staff for lunch in front of other people. What happened was that the employees became a very close group! We were there for each other, supported each other. If one got “slimed” as we called it, we took that one out to lunch or a beer after work. Twenty years later, we have all scattered, but many of us are still friends. I also tried to see the good parts of this president and treated him as if I truly liked him. It was not that way with many of the staff. The result was that he did like me and I never became a “victim” in the four years I worked there.

  • http://missionallendale.wordpress.com/ Joey Espinosa

    I’ve had a few really bad bosses. But sometimes I thought they were “horrible” in the moment, but when I reflect back, I realize that they weren’t so bad after all. This reminds me to first look into my own heart & soul, to question how much the situation is because of selfish motives.

    But no doubt I had a terrible boss a few years ago. Controlling, over-bearing, and her objectives were different then mine (it was with a non-profit organization). I loved what I got to do, but realized that it was not healthy for either one of us for me to continue their. There was too much tension. I was nervous when I resigned, because I loved what I got to do 90% of the time. Turns out, God opened some great doors for me.

  • Cherry Odelberg

    A thousand thanks for repeating this post just when I needed the reminder!

  • http://CorporateCultureRevolution.com/ Bob Winchester

    Great post Michael! I think you laid this out very well!

    I’ve been witness to bad bosses, but I’ve also been witness to good bosses who were mis-labeled by bad employees. Both are difficult to deal with. I would just add that if you think you have a bad boss, take a hard look in the mirror before you do anything.

  • http://twitter.com/tcmeister Tony Meister

    Great topic and critical for growth. Like David with Saul, this is one of the ultimate tests of a developing leader – submission to the “Bad Leader.” I’ve gone through this and learned what it was like to be under it, so I wouldn’t turn out to be a Saul myself. It helps to realize what others will feel like; all of us are human and nothing like experiencing this type of leader so we don’t become one. I thought of the same verse that Matt McWilliams had (below).
    Ecclesiastes 10:4 If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences.

  • Roy Wallen

    The heart of this blog is cited in a reference from March 2012. Was this intended to be presented as original work?
    http://www.linkedin.com/groups/What-are-characteristics-incompetent-leader-4277295.S.98947202

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I just checked the LinkedIn reference. It is a complete ripoff of my blog post, which was originally published on June 7, 2011. (If you look at the comments above, you will see that most date back to that point.) I have notified LinkedIn of the copyright infringement. Thanks.

      • Roy Wallen

        Thanks, Mike, for clarifying. The post I saw was in my e-mail today and I neglected to check the dates of the other comments. I couldn’t imagine that the original work was not from you but the dates did not seem to align. Glad you made the point to LinkedIn.

  • Alicia Smith

    Great article. It’s so easy to do number one — I don’t think I ever realized it until now. Also, I believe it was in Robert D. Smith’s book where he explained how we should always look at ourselves as the problem. Not that this blame is correct, but this outlook always puts us in control of the next-steps. WE are within our control, and our leader is not. Therefore, if we focus on how we can improve a bad situation (even if it’s just our mindset), things will improve in some way. I loved this outlook. Just an add-on thought to an insightful article. Thank you!

  • John Pearson

    Perfect timing! I will share your thoughts with a workshop I’m leading at a national conference next month. The topic: “The 3 B’s: Be Faithful, Be Fruitful, or Be Gone!” Thanks.

  • http://www.kenzimmermanjr.com/ Ken Zimmerman Jr.

    When I began working full time, my first boss was probably my worst boss. It was not all his fault. He had been promoted into a position that he was not ready for yet. I didn’t realize that at the time. I just thought he was a yelling pain in the neck. When I started supervising and managing people, I had seen what I didn’t want to be. In hindsight, he taught me as much as some of my positive mentors. Thanks for the tips.

  • http://www.figueroafinancial.com/ Jose Figueroa

    Michael, like many people I have worked for both extremely demanding bosses and also extremely incompetent bosses. In the first case, once I got pass the issue of taking everything personally, it pushed me to delivery more excellent work/results. I recall (now!) those bosses with fondness because they pushed me.

    In the case of the incompetent boss, I was challenged to serve him as I would serve Jesus regardless. I worked for that person for almost 2.5 years. I even worked on my transition plan 6 months in advance. Once I was out, he was moved to a different position within a month. It seems I was only there with him to serve him and to learn patience and grace.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Wow. Great perspective, Jose.

      • http://www.figueroafinancial.com/ Jose Figueroa

        Thanks Michele!

  • Akshay Nanavati

    Hi Michael. This is a fantastic post with really great tips. I unfortunately had an experience with bad leaders while I was in Iraq with the US Marines. On more than one occasion, we could have been killed because of EXTREMELY poor leadership decisions. That was a really tough situation for me and my fellow Marines, because being in the military there is not much room to do anything about it. Your job is just to follow orders.

    Managing my expectations ultimately helped me handle the situation better. I simply did the best I could with my fellow enlisted Marines and accepted the reality I found myself in. This allowed me to create a meaning to the experience that helped me walk away from it with a smile.

    I think that even when there appears to be no choice, we have a choice in how we respond to our circumstances. Like Victor Frankl says in one of my favorite books of all time, Man’s Search for Meaning, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

    Thanks for another awesome post Michael.

  • http://unlikelyradical.com/ Mike

    I, like everyone else, have dealt with this same issue. I’m curious how you determine whether it’s worth it to stay on or if you should just cut your losses and move on. As you yourself noted, the decision is not always clear cut!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I don’t have a formula for this. It’s more art than science. Thanks.

  • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

    Your first point, “Manage Your Expectations” is powerful, applicable to any significant relationship. Studying leadership (or marriage, parenting, ministry, etc.) and striving for personal growth is time well spent. But in our desire for excellence, we mustn’t forget the inescapable: humanness. Both ours and our boss’s.

    I heard a speaker recently comment on our short-sightedness with complicated relationships. We can spend years restoring a valuable antique, and we’d never junk a car with a dent or scratch. But we’re more likely to walk away from a difficult relationship than invest the time and energy needed to restore it.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      That’s a good word, Michele. Thanks.

  • http://www.valuesbasedleader.com/ Danielle Aaronson

    This is a question I continuously battle with. As a young professional I have found myself working for people I don’t necessarily admire, don’t necessarily feel respected by, don’t necessarily think they are strong at their jobs, and for that matter- I do not find them to be good or motivational leaders. I felt that I stuck it out and attempted to influence and stand my ground, but looking back, the year (in one case) and two years (in another case) was not that long of a time. YES- I grew a lot from those experiences. YES- I know more about the leader I want to be and the way I want to present myself. But event more, I knew, very quickly, that it was not the correct environment for me and I found an opportunity to move into something that fit me better. Now that I am in an environment that fosters my growth and development I am incredibly happy that I continued to take advantage of different career opportunities. In this environment I am learning more about myself and more about leadership.

    The right environment is out there- I hope people keep searching for it!


    Danielle Elizabeth Aaronson
    @deaaronson

  • trac

    I agree with everything you said. I recently had to approach my boss. I knew it would put my job on the line. He knows I am committed but was concerned about how he treated other employees. End the end, we are moving forward with new changes and I got a raise instead of fired.

  • Philip

    Thanks for the great post, Michael. It couldn’t have come at a better time. When, if ever is it appropriate to go to your bosses’ boss with a complaint about how your boss has handled an issue? I work in the medical field and I’m facing some issues now with my supervisor which potentially compromise patient safety. My feeling is that I have a responsibility to my patients take things up the chain as far as I need to go.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      When someone is acting in a manner that is unethical or dangerous, it’s time to escalate it. (Assuming you have confronted the boss first.) Thanks.

      • Philip

        Thanks Michael – now I just need to have those difficult conversations.

  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    I haven’t had that problem really. As a college instructor we are fairly independent. When I was younger working dead-end jobs, I’d just quit and find another job.

  • http://subbob.posterous.com Bob King

    My experience in government circles (working with Army civilians), is that most of the 5 tips, and especially #4, are useless. If you are dealing with someone that is over-bearing and abusive, the “be assertive” only makes matters worse. This is a great list, however it’s predicated on the boss/supervisor not being a narcissist.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      If the boss is mentally ill, all bets are off.

  • Steve Lyons

    I generally prefer an ebook because of the convenience. I can also underline, copy and save to another document or app such as Evernote.

  • http://richlangton.com/ Rich Langton

    Here’s another take on it Micheal – I find that if I’m having difficulty with someone it’s best for me to do a bit of self examination before I take steps like those you’ve outlined. More often than not I’m the problem! As a pastor, it’s been my experience than many people do the same – they miss the self examination step and jump straight to blaming someone else rather than first asking themselves whether the problem could actually reside with them!

  • Ken Trupke

    #5, Support Him Publicly is so hard, but so important to your own integrity. Great addition the list!

  • Carrie Davis

    I’m currently in a situation involving a different type of “Bad Boss”. She’s a wonderful person, BUT just not a leader. She doesn’t inspire, manage her time or people very well. She’s open to suggestions, etc. She’s also the owner of the buisness and I think, personally she’s still trying to operate like she did when she had 40 employees, we now have at least 150! I recently (3 months) took this position, was going to leave, and we discussed these things. I’m to earn a key spot on her new management team. So staying will benefit (though financially it won’t much further). However, due to her management (or lack thereof) things are just not getting off the ground. Frankly, I’m frustrated, and worse…bored. There are restrictions in place, so it’s not like I can spend my time getting the management team going. She has me doing bottom level secretarial type stuff, with an occassional managerial task. I’ve tried discussing some improvements that I think would help her tremendously, but due to her time management…it never happens. I’m open to suggestions, since once again, I’m quietly looking for a new job.

  • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

    I love the story of you asking your boss to apologize. Thankfully, it worked out.

    As I look back on my career, more often than not, I am quoting one of the “bad leaders.” That person taught me far more about leadership, and about myself than anyone else could have.

    It’s the same with teachers. The most difficult ones, the ones I struggled with, the ones who I thought were completely unreasonable….years later, those teachers are the ones I owe the most thanks. They pushed me and taught me more than I realized.

  • Lili Coleman

    I once had a bad boss who was fired by the company. It was in a very small town and right away I started receiving phone calls asking what had transpired. When I was asked if she was fired I responded “she had a great opportunity with her family’s business and she couldn’t pass it up.” She later called to thank me and she has been a fan of mine every since. We are all human and make mistakes. She is doing great with the family business.

  • http://www.julieswihart.com/ Julie Swihart

    I agree. Working for a bad boss showed me first-hand what makes someone want to serve or want to shut down. When I was given an opportunity to lead, I understood better how to earn the respect of my team, which gave me the confidence and in-road to be assertive when needed. I think the most fulfilling aspect of leading is earning someone’s respect.

  • http://about.me/revchadbrooks chadbrooks

    I think this has been my favorite post of 2013. I just keep working and luckily I am aware I am being transferred out of my current situation in a few months. That has kept me at bay.

    The one thing I would suggest is learning how to coach your own boss (like you have said before) towards greater effectiveness. This helps tons.

  • ruthschwartz

    Thanks Michael for the provocation. I think that most jerky bosses don’t really want to be jerky bosses. They would prefer to be well liked, respected and admired. They just think that this is the way they are supposed to be. It is a belief. We must be thinking in terms of how to address this belief under the behavior at an organizational level. If the organization has a jerky belief system. (“Only a’holes move up.” etc.) then the answer is be a jerk or get out. If it is an isolated problem, their are many interventions available. http://highperformanceadvocates.com/admired-business-leader-or-arrogant-jerk/

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Great point about beliefs. I think it is a belief system.

      • ruthschwartz

        How about a new belief: Making other people successful and having great teams requires vulnerability. When one is vulnerable and open (and rewarded for that) everyone can step into their genius. The behavior is then to listen, ask questions, create connections and become a better communicator. We see evidence in many organizations (and leadership tomes) that this belief works well. I cry every time I read a string like this. The days of duck and cover must end.

  • robhalo1@yahoo.com

    I don’t put up with any nonsense from my boss. I’ve been cursed at, yelled out and had my personal space invaded as well. I push back immediately. Of course, I used to be a Green Beret so I’m not the normal kind of employee. I always ask them, “How do you like it? Neither do I, so don’t do it to me.” It’s dangerous but it always works. I won’t work for an abusive boss anymore and started my own company.

  • Suzi McAlpine

    Every cloud has a silver lining, even working for a bad boss. Thanks Michael for the practical tips.

  • ferretrene1

    I’d like to add that a lot of leaders are not aware of what happens and how is affecting their followers. I dont know for the rest of you but if something I learned really well from Michael is that Honesty is a great to overcome a lot of obstacles. I’ve had many issues with bad leaders in the past and always worked for me a personal meeting 1 on 1 and if that didn’t work, HR was always my second option. No leader has power over an employee who’s committed to excellence and a job well done. Just a thought

  • http://suwandytjin.com/ Suwandy Tjin

    I used to be in that kind of environment. It seems, to me, that he was making every effort to get rid of me by giving me very hard time. I wasn’t sure why that was the case and up until today, nearly 2 years on, I was still unable to figure out why. I was no longer interested to find out, however. What I knew was that I gave it my best to stay positive, I work hard, I gave my best to help the company get further. I eventually did quit the job after realising that no matter what I did, my boss never appreciated it and resorted to using HR to pressure me.

  • priya

    This book is really a good book which shows us right path. but i read
    one more book named “ONE BOOK OF LIFE SUCCESS” which is truly
    motivational and life changing . .The writer has described in Plain
    English with lot of examples which is easy to understand…For More
    Please watch the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biORjS8ngv0 [1]

  • http://www.sheepdressedlikewolves.com/ Andy Mort

    Another question: what do you do when someone you love works for a bad leader?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You might share this post and then have a discussion about it. Thanks.

  • FantasyBaby

    I just do my only things.And ignorancing his action.But if he break my self-respect I must fight back

  • jg

    Hi I have a question. My boss was
    everything mentioned above. I worked for him for 5 yrs., 2 of which were
    extremely abusive as his unemployable 40 yr. old son had to come work for us.
    They also had a very volatile relationship. This combined with his paranoia
    and Girlfriend problems, made me the verbal punching bag. He would even
    curse and throw things in his office.

    Within the last 2 years it was so bad that
    I didn’t know what each day would bring. Whether he would be nice or evil.
    I catered to his every work need, including trying to keep him calm and
    steady and constantly supporting him. However when the texts started and
    phone calls into my personal time about taking care of things for the business
    or for his life became even more abusive, with cursing and anger, I did talk to
    him about it and told him that it was not professional for him to be acting
    that way and that I would not have him being disrespectful toward me. His
    son saw how he was treating me, and decided to try yelling at me as well.
    I was able to put a stop to that. A totally dysfunctional place to
    work.

    So one day when I had enough, of his
    anger, passive aggressive behavior, mean and degrading I quit. However, I
    didn’t do it nicely at all, I’m afraid, I yelled right back to him (for the
    first time) and told him that I quit, that I had had enough of his abuse and
    that I wasn’t capable of taking it any long. I couldn’t sleep, I was
    always jumping when he came into or even passed by my office. I was
    physically sick when he started yelling, swearing and throwing things in his
    office.

    Let me also tell you that this was a
    fairly small company when I started. With my role in the office and guidance
    and support the company grew over 80% in 4.5 yrs.

    So now the dilemma: I’m feeling guilty
    that I left that way and lost my cool. He had texted me when I left and
    demanded and cursed that I return. I said no and do not call me. I
    even left some of my personal things behind.

    I want to write him and apologize so that
    he doesn’t black list me. And I do feel badly of the way I left. How do I
    do that without having to bring up his behavior that lead to me saving my
    sanity and quitting?

    I’ll need him for a reference but I’m sure
    he will not be helpful that way unless he feels that he’s has won.

    Any help regarding an apology letter would
    be helpful.

  • http://lucychenfineart.com/ Lucy Chen

    I went to find a new job…