Is It Okay To Acquiesce To A Bad Boss?


Yes, for the short-term. Apparently, a recent post struck a chord. I received an email from a former colleague who is experiencing full-on bad boss behavior. Unfortunately, bad bosses are more common than good ones. Some are ineffective because they lack proper leadership training and others, quite simply are bullies. I take a very pragmatic approach to situations involving a bad boss who is a bully; beginning with two essential questions.

1. Is your bad boss treating everyone the same?

If all your colleagues are in your boss’s crosshairs, than it isn’t a personal reflection of your work or capabilities. Therefore, it’s essential to dig deep and find your inner resolve to persevere. Keep doing the best work you can and not let this situation define or scar you.

2. Are they a long-standing employee?

If your boss has been around for a while and this behavior has yet to be addressed, the organization is probably not interested in taking action. There is greater value being placed on what they achieve versus how they get it done.

Therefore, standing up to him or her is not option. More than likely, others have tried and failed because there is not a higher authority ready and willing to hold your boss responsible for his or her actions. Going toe-to-toe with a bad boss could only end up reflecting poorly on you (as a trouble maker) and possibly threaten your job.

I know this is not an enviable position because nobody wants to be seen as that person who is considered spineless, a wimp or a yes man. However, when you work for someone who is behaving so badly and an organization that is afraid of rattling their cage the best thing you can do is lay low and plot your next steps more covertly. Are there other internal opportunities? Is your boss likely to be rotated anytime soon? Is the situation so pervasive that it’s time to consider other employment?

What good can come of this bad situation? At the end of the email, my former colleague stated what a huge learning opportunity this has been and a reminder of the type of the type of leader they want to be. A very mature and wise perspective.