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Have a bad boss? The one thing that can save your job

One of the top reasons people quit their jobs is because of a bad boss—60% of people have left jobs because of their direct supervisor, and 58% said they would rather get paid less and work for someone who’s a great boss, according to a recent study by career site Randstad.

Another workplace study by Mental Health America found 70% of employees were either “actively looking for new job opportunities” or had the topic on their minds “always, often or sometimes” at work.

But is there anything that can be done to work through it before you call it quits? First, consider that your boss might not even know that their management style is having a negative affect, says Amy Edmondson, author of “The Fearless Organization.

“I think the first thing to realize is that the impact that manager is having on you is very real but it may not be intentional,” she says. “It’s not their intention to make you afraid and unable to give your best work.”

According to LinkedIn, the worst qualities in a boss are: they have unclear expectations; they micromanage; they’re unavailable; and they don’t foster development. If these are things you feel are deal breakers, Edmondson recommends talking to your supervisor first.

“Sometimes it is possible just to let your manager know you feel you would be better able to do better work if they were more clear, or more able to listen, or give feedback,” Edmondson says. “You do want their coaching, you do want their help, but what’s happening now isn’t effective.”

Oftentimes, managers are not given the proper training before they’re promoted, or feel intimidated or insecure about their skills. According to CEO Magazine, the best managers display integrity, practice team building, positivity, and communication, and are good listeners.

Communicating with your boss directly can help clear the air.

If your manager is lacking in any of these areas, Edmondson says they deserve feedback just like anyone else in the organization.

“I think a manager who isn't effective needs and deserves feedback,” she says. “I understand it isn’t always easy for a subordinate to do, and they may need to get help from a neutral third party, but oftentimes being direct can make a world of a difference.”

If that doesn’t feel like an option, or you’ve already tried and failed to communicate with your boss, seek guidance from coworkers who are experiencing the same problem, or reach out to human resources to mediate the situation, she says.

When it comes to reporting your boss’s behavior to HR, you need to find out what your company’s complaint process is. Trust is a major issue for employees, with 58% saying they would trust a stranger more than their own boss, according to a survey by Harvard Business Review.

So before deciding to throw in the towel, remember there’s no guarantee your next boss will be better than the last. Like any relationship, knowing how to properly communicate with your supervisors and coworkers can be the key to fostering healthy relationships in the workplace.


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