Good Lessons from Bad Bosses

Today, among the myriads of workplace troubles having a bad boss is probably the worst that can happen to an employee. And typical textbook definitions of a bad boss is one who screams, threatens, intimidates, disrespects, grabs credit, fires people, throttles peopleís necks and so on. Bad bosses exist in all organizations, though the definition of a bad boss (or a bad employee) is a vague and subjective term that can be debated to eternity depending on whose side you lean on an issue.  In fact, the more competitive the organization the more you see and hear stories about such people.

Nobody likes working for a bad boss and most would gladly jump ship at the first chance of escape, even if they are passionate about their work. Long ago, a classmate of mine quit an extremely reputed scientific institute unable to work for a toxic chemistry professor, though he was ready to sacrifice an arm and a leg for chemistry. Nevertheless, apart from a generous dose of ulcers, gloominess and some hair loss due to a bad boss, there are ways to turn this situation to your advantage. However, most people are normally unaware of how they can actually gain valuable lessons from the idiosyncrasies of a bad boss. But itís quite easy if you learn to look at it in a peculiar way. Instead of craving for a pleasant workplace every day, just think unconventional and start imagining it as a training institute to learn some exciting lessons in behavioral psychology. So, until you can escape to a better workplace or until the bad boss self-destructs you can continuously imbibe several valuable lessons. A few lessons are mentioned below.

1. A bad boss can be a walking textbook on behavioral psychology. Working with a bad boss is your golden chance to learn the doís and doníts of management. In all probability, you can learn more about people management working with a bad boss in six months time than working with a good boss for five years.

2. Bad bosses help you learn harsh realities of human nature and make you better prepared for lifeís countless encounters. You swim better when you learn swimming in a rough river or sea, rather than in a calm swimming pool.

3. Every growl, rude remark, goof up, threat, cover up, charm switching, etc., can be a good lesson that is going to pay rich dividends to you at a later stage. They help you become a better manager at a later stage because you will now have a rich experience in the pitfalls of bad management. It helps you to instantly remember and avoid the wrong things when faced with similar or equivalent situations. For example, it may help you remember that itís not a good idea to throw a paperweight on an employee who is a member of the local trade union. :-)

4. And bad bosses help you in many other ways if you study their lives carefully. For example, it will help you understand how and why many employees erupt like a volcano at home due to work-related problems.

5. Worldwide, many ordinary people have become great leaders because they were subject to various degrees of insults or extreme forms of harassment by someone. So, directly or indirectly, every great leader will have to thank their tormentors for their current greatness. Similarly, it can also perhaps make you great someday.

So, you now see having a bad boss is not really such a bad thing after all. And we can conclude this chapter with a great Chinese proverb that says, ĎA gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.í

Article Author - Thejendra B.S.

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