Why Having a Bad Boss Can Actually be a Good Thing

Three unexpected lessons you’ll pick up from having an un-motivating boss

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Photocredit: Shutterstock

Your relationship with your bosses makes or breaks a job.

And the bad ones can really leave a sting.

Their personality defects can make the 9–5 slog a nightmare.

Micromanaging you. Asking you to do things you rather no do. Or even using you as their personal scapegoat.

While I would never advise a client to accept a job offer knowing they would be managed by a poor manager, if you do end up in a situation managed by a “bad boss” know that this can actually do some favors for you in the long run career-wise.

Here are the three reasons why having a bad boss can actually be a good thing for you.

You’ll realize what’s important to you

Pay attention to what qualities and traits in your boss makes him a horrible boss.

He’ll give you vague instructions yet expect you to produce stellar results. He’ll continuously monitor you ad nauseam, never giving you space to complete your work without his input. Or, worse yet, he’ll want to be your best friend and treat you like his personal confidante.

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His behavior though, unconsciously, will clue you in on what you need support-wise from a boss to excel in your current position but will also be generally applicable to any working environment. You’ll need clear communication from your boss, autonomy to do your work, and proper boundaries in order to be successful.

Better yet, you’ll learn how not to be a poor leader yourself and begin to identify markers of what it means to be a good boss.

Find what values will ground professional identity. When your bad boss pushes you to the edge professionally and mentally, you’ll use these values to see what’s important to you in the workplace to succeed.

And trust me: it’s a good thing to find these out sooner in your career rather than later.

You’ll learn not to take it personal

In order to survive the day-to-day slog, you’ll soon learn not to take your bad boss’ behavior personally; you’ll just chop it up to him being his un-motivating self.

She’ll do crazy things. Say crazy things. Maybe even do or say a crazy thing or two directed at you.

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You’ll quickly develop thick skin however.

And hopefully she doesn’t cross the line between illegal harassment and what is plain annoying banter.

You’ll learn not to take it personally, how to cope with the behavior, and listen for, if there is any, constructive criticism.

Remember, just because your boss is horrible, doesn’t mean that there isn’t an opportunity to learn. It just might take a little more patience and listening to hear what that learning may be.

You’ll learn to ask for what you want

As you learn what is important to you, and how not to take your bad boss’ behavior personally, you’ll also learn to ask for what you want.

Because, if you don’t, you’ll never survive at your workplace and you most certainly won’t thrive.

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Asking for what we want can be hard.

Having a horrible boss that continually takes advantage of you makes it all the harder.

That is why you’ll have to learn how to manage your boss, requiring you to speak up, or else you’ll stay in the proverbial trap of being a yes-woman without ever having your own needs met.

Learn to build a healthy relationship with your bad boss. It’ll take some work on your end but it’ll be well worth it in the end.

And, as part of that equation, you’ll have to learn to ask for what you need in order to be a success.

Bottom Line: learning what you value, how not to take things personally, and how to ask for what you want are invaluable assets in anyone’s career progression. Having a bad boss early on in your career can be invaluable as you learn what you need to be professionally successful — and how not to put up with things that get in the way of that.

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Bryant has a Master of Science in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from Columbia University and through his company, Workplace Collaborations, empowers Millennials in salary negotiations, workplace relationship management, and the development of collaborative communication so that issues just don’t get swept under the rug. He loves connecting with people who are passionate about living a fulfilled, empowered life. Reach out, always looking to talk and help those in need!

I help founders and business leaders negotiate agreements and resolve disputes. Columbia University Educated 🎓 . More at www.collabshq.com

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