Do you have a bad boss? Well if so you are not alone. In fact it is often quoted as being the number one source of unhappiness at work.

That may come as no surprise. Even if you are happy with your boss, you probably have friends or family that are not happy with theirs.

What may come as a surprise is if someone says, “Well, what did you expect?”.

Let’s elaborate on that rhetorical question:

  • When you signed your contract of employment, was there a clause in it that said you would have a “good boss” that you would be happy with?
  • At interviews, did you ask about the skills and behaviour of the boss for the role you were applying for?
  • Is there a law of the universe that states that whatever job you have you will be guaranteed to have a good boss?

Did you answer the questions? I am betting that your answers to some if not all of these are “no”.

Which leads back to the original question, “Well, what did you expect?”

The fact is that there are no guarantees that just because someone is the boss of someone else that they will:

  1. want to be a good boss
  2. have the skills to be a good boss
  3. care about whether the people they manage are happy or not

Many managers fail on point 2.  After all, it’s not uncommon to be promoted into a first managerial post with very little people management training if any at all.

So if you feel that you are being treated unfairly by your boss, that may well be, but consider for a moment if there was ever any guarantee that things would have been any different?  Life can be unfair. That is an indisputable fact of life. You cannot change that.

However, what you can positively change is:

  1. your expectations of your boss’s behaviour, skills, attitudes, or all of these
  2. how you perceive your boss, e.g. are they trying their best but simply out of their depth with people management?
  3. how you respond and feel in relation to your boss’ behaviour

I hope you find a positive message in this and not a defeatist one. You may not be able to change your boss or their behaviour but there is more power in your hands, or rather your head, than you may realise.

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