It is often said that people don’t leave their jobs; they leave bad managers.  That is certainly our experience based on feedback from many job seekers.

Depending on which piece of research you read, between 50% and 75% of employees quit their jobs not because of the job itself or because of lack of opportunities, but because of their boss.  Maybe you work for someone who never seems satisfied, shows no appreciation for the work you do or is never around – the list of bad boss behaviours is seemingly endless.  Working with a bad boss is frustrating at best and emotionally draining at worst.  It can impact on work performance, home life, relationships, self- confidence, health and well-being.  A bad boss can make being at work the last place you want to be.  Many do quit a bad boss – but before taking the nuclear option, there are tactics you can adopt to help you and your boss.

An employee’s relationship with their boss is just like any other relationship.  It needs to be nurtured and worked on.  The relationship doesn’t just depend on doing a good job.  Being fully appreciated and treated well can be affected by a miss-match in communication style, personal values or expectations – all things that a boss might not recognise no matter how good you are at your job.
Even if today your boss is a “good” one, you should acknowledge that the future of your work relationship is more about connection, communication and cultural fit than it is about the work itself.  This doesn’t mean you can do a bad job and get away with it – it means doing a good job AND working on the relationship.

Seek first to understand

Try walking in your bosses’ shoes. What targets have they been given? What pressures are they under? What are their goals and objectives?  The more you understand things from their perspective the more you can take these things into account and support them.

What about their communication style? Do they prefer regular updates and let you get on with it or are they sticklers for deadlines? How do they like updates to be delivered, by email, phone or face to face?

Look out for trends in their behaviour.  What seems to upset them and what keeps them off your back or generates a thank you? If you identify themes you begin to understand what is most important to them. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with their aims, just seek to understand them and adapt your behaviour in a way that will give you some influence with them.

Seeking to understand your boss and then adapting your style to meet theirs, could change the workplace dynamic for you.  Maybe you don’t want to use these tactics, and you think it’s up to the boss to change for you – that’s not a wrong perspective; it just might mean that you do need to start looking for that next job.

Before you take that final step, consider the power that you might have to move the entire relationship with your boss to a more positive one.

If you would like to know more about how the First Base team could help you if you decide to make a career change, call Tricia Hay on 01453 755330 or email