October 16 is National Bosses Day, yet less than 40 per cent of employees report they have any reason to thank their boss. Do our bosses deserve to be thanked?
With almost one out of every four bosses found to lose their temper at the office with employees describing them as “unpredictable”, “control freaks” and “narcissists”, perhaps most bosses don’t deserve any appreciation on National Bosses Day.
Personally, I believe that there are very few genuinely bad bosses, but rather an abundance of bosses who are bad at their jobs. Most bosses don’t want to leave people feeling demeaned, disrespected, and de-energized – it’s a terrible way to run a business. Yet most bosses are also never offered the knowledge, skills or experiences they require to succeed in their job.
This certainty doesn’t excuse their horrible behavior, but it does offer us hope on National Bosses Day that by understanding what drives our bad bosses we can more positively impact our future.
At the end of the day we all have a deep psychological need to be respected, valued and appreciated – even your boss! So this year on National Bosses Day your first act should be putting on your gratitude glasses and seeing if you can find anything your boss has done recently worthy of some positive feedback. After all three out of every four people report their boss is the most stressful part of their job, so if there is anything at all your boss is doing right it’s worth being grateful about.
That might seem like a big request so if you’re feeling reluctant about doing this for your boss on National Bosses Day, then do it for yourself as well. Practicing appreciation and gratitude is a kind of mega strategy to improve our levels of positivity and our relationships at work. It opens our heart and urges us to give back – to do something good – helping to improve your relationship with your boss. It dissolves negative feelings, builds your sense of confidence and helps to manage stress.
You don’t need to buy a gift or take your boss to lunch for National Bosses Day. Simply say thank you and be clear about what it is you appreciate, so they know to do more of it.
If you can’t genuinely thank your boss then use National Bosses Day as an opportunity to improve your relationship by telling them what your strengths are – the things you like doing and are good at – and suggest new ways to use these in your job. Only two out of every ten people get to use their strengths at work each day. Yet when you do it’s a win-win outcome for you and your boss as studies show you’re likely to be six times more engaged in your work and you’re level of satisfaction with life can triple.
Finally, if you can’t do either of these then use National Bosses Day as a time to get real about what you’re putting up with. It takes most people 22 months to rid themselves of a bad boss and during this time the constant stress and negativity can undermine our performance, damage our health, destroy our relationships and leave us feeling depressed and anxious.
The good news is there are 24 proven, practical ways using positive psychology – the science of wellbeing – that you can use on National Bosses Day – or any other day – to create win-win outcomes for you, your boss and your organization.
Together we can build a world of better bosses. It just takes one small action on National Bosses Day to move us in the right direction. What action will you take?
Is your bad boss holding you back? Have they become so reliant on you they’re unwilling to let you move onwards or upwards? Or perhaps rather than acknowledging all the things you do well, they fixate – or even invent – constant areas of improvement for your work.
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Read the rest of this article »
Are you trying to survive a bad boss? Fed up with advice to speak to them about it, raise it to HR or quit your job?
The good news is there’s a proven, practical way to overcome the terrors your bad boss is creating, and you’ve probably completely overlooked it.
Ready? The secret to surviving a bad boss is … other people. Tah dah!
Researchers have found that the single best predictor of momentary experiences that lead to higher wellbeing and engagement at work, is not what we’re doing, but who we’re doing it with.
In fact, having a best friend at work makes it seven times more likely that you’ll be engaged in your job, makes you better at engaging customers, helps you to produce higher quality work, improves your well-being and makes it less likely you’ll be injured on the job – regardless of your bad boss.
Studies show that a bad boss can greatly undermine your relationships at work and at home.
Perhaps you’re like the legal secretary whose bad boss encouraged her colleagues to ignore her completely. Or maybe your bad boss likes to play you off against your colleagues so there’s no trust among your peers. Or it could be just the sheer stress and misery created by your bad boss is coloring your time with friends and family.
The problem is by design, the negativity created by a bad boss inspires us to protect ourselves, which often means pulling back from others. Unfortunately, this separation can set you on a dark and lonely path that insulates you from the one thing you need most – the love and support of other people who care about you. Making it easier for a bad boss to get the better of you.
“Our relationships with other people matter, and matter more than anything else in the world,” explains George Vaillant, a leading psychiatrist who is famous for overseeing on one of the longest running psychological studies of all time – the Harvard Grant Study which found social bonds don’t just predict overall happiness but also eventual career achievement, occupational success, and income regardless of a bad boss. How can this be?
Firstly, evolution has genetically hard-wired us for love. As a child, your survival depends on unconditional and forgiving love. As an adult, you flourish when the positive emotions of love, joy, hope, forgiveness, compassion and trust allow you to attach to social networks that provide cooperation, support and physical, intellectual, emotional and financial prosperity.
Your colleagues, friends and family are the best source of ideas and encouragement when it comes to surviving a bad boss.
Secondly, we have a biological need for social support. Each time you joyfully connect with another person, the pleasure-inducing hormone oxytocin is released into your bloodstream, immediately reducing anxiety and improving concentration and focus. Each social connection also bolsters your cardiovascular, neuroendocrine and immune systems, so that the more connections you make over time, the better you function.
Enjoyable moments with your colleagues, friends and family offer a biological “undo” effect for the lowering the stress your bad boss creates and raising your wellbeing to start looking for win-win outcomes for you, your boss and your organization.
Studies show even brief encounters which fuel openness, energy and authenticity among colleagues – one conversation or an email exchange – can infuse you with a greater sense of vitality, giving you a pep in your step and a greater capacity to deal with your bad boss. Here are some proven, practical ways from positive psychology to help protect your relationships no matter what your bad boss is coming up with:
People who have at least three or four very close friendships at work are healthier, have higher wellbeing and are more engaged in their jobs. Don’t let your bad boss undermine your relationships when these people are the secret to feeling happier at work. Best of all research shows positive social connections predict more individual learning behavior, motivate you more than money or power and improve your effectiveness and performance which is the best way to ultimately free yourself of your bad boss.
Have you or anyone you love ever suffered at the hands of a bad boss? Then get the very best revenge of all by signing “The World Needs Better Bosses Petition” and sharing it with everyone you love.
Perhaps you’ve worked for a bully, like the manager who would take away his employees’ chairs if they hadn’t made a sale and insisted they work standing up until they got one. Or maybe you know someone like the legal secretary who was treated as if she was invisible with people refusing to acknowledge her existence.
Your bad boss might not have been an outright bully, but an expert in insensitivity and rudeness. Asking you to complete work with few instructions and them shaming you when it wasn’t up to their expectations. Or making embarrassing remarks to cut you down to size in front of your colleagues like, “If I wanted your opinion I’d ask.”
Frighteningly three out of every four people report their boss is the most stressful part of their job. I believe it’s time to put a stop to bad bosses and I’m hoping you’ll agree.
It’s not okay for bad bosses to ruin our careers, damage our health and destroy our relationships. It’s not okay for bad bosses to be an acceptable part of doing business. It’s not okay for organizations to turn a blind eye because they don’t know what to do about bad bosses.
We can make organizations address this plague of bad bosses on our careers, our lives and our families.
We just have to make enough noise to cause them to start exploring the proven, practical ways bosses can be made measurably better. Please help me make this plea so loud the sound of our demand for better bosses becomes a hygiene factor no workplace can ignore.
Please sign the petition and use every medium available to you – chats, media, email, facebook, twitter, pinterest, youtube, instagram – to ask our organizations to act.
This petition is now closed.
End date: Oct 31, 2013
Signatures collected: 112
Here’s why this matters so much. Bad bosses are bad for employees, bad for business and bad for our communities. Let me explain.
Personally, I believe there are very few genuinely bad bosses, but rather an abundance of bosses who are bad at their jobs. Yet most bosses are also never offered the knowledge, skills or experiences they require to succeed in their job.
The good news is there are now proven assessment and training methods to dramatically improve the wellbeing and performance of our bosses and those who work for them. So why aren’t organizations doing more to stop this unnecessary blight of bad bosses on our workplaces?
Why aren’t they:
Together we can make these organizational priorities. So please sign this petition to put an end to bad bosses and make our world a little better.
Thanks so much for reading and passing this on to anyone else who knows the pain of bad bosses. You absolutely rock!
This petition is now closed.
End date: Oct 31, 2013
Signatures collected: 112
Wondering how to tell your boss your job is boring you senseless? That it’s taking all your energy each morning just to haul yourself into the office because of the sheer tedium of what you know awaits?
Surely it’s not unreasonable to tell your boss you expect the opportunity to spend a little time each day doing what you do best? Yet research by the Gallup Organization of more than 10 million people has found only one-third of the people they’ve interviewed strongly agree with the statement: “At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.”
Further polls have found that among those who “strongly disagreed” or “disagreed” with this statement, not one single person was emotionally engaged in their job. Now that’s something to tell your boss!
You can tell your boss flow is the feeling you have when we’re one with the music, time stops and you lose all self-consciousness because you’re fully absorbed in what you’re doing. You may not be thinking or feeling anything and yet you can tell your boss you’re learning, growing, improving and advancing so that you feel more capable, in control and satisfied afterwards.
It’s that specific zone between under-challenged and over-challenged – between boredom and anxiety – which provides a positive and productive natural high. Or you can just tell your boss: “It’s what happens when you’re working at your full capacity.”
Renowned professor Mihalyi Csikzentmihalyi, famous for identifying and enhancing the concept of flow, explains having a clear goal that balances your strengths with the complexity of the task at hand, and a sense of autonomy is necessary in order to attain the state of flow.
Yet this is exactly what most of our jobs lack. For example, does your boss even know what your strengths are? I’m guessing not or you wouldn’t be wondering how to tell your boss you don’t like your job!
Conversations in which opinions may differ, emotions are extreme and the stakes are high can have a huge impact of the quality of your life. If you really want to tell your boss you don’t like your job then you have to make them feel safe. Don’t just tell your boss you don’t like your job instead find a shared goal – for example you want to enjoy your work more and your boss wants you to work more – that gives you a good reason for talking and by showing respect.
Unfortunately, a job without the flow of engagement, is also a recipe for misery. It leaves you feeling bored, helpless and unworthy. It makes you increasingly self-absorbed and it’s easier to become depressed and start hating your work.
But don’t despair! If you’re not ready to tell your boss how much you dislike your job there are other proven, practical ways from positive psychology to help you build moments of flow into your work by:
Unfortunately when you can’t tell your boss you don’t like your job, on average it can take you around 22 months to free yourself for something better undermining your performance, damaging your health and destroying your relationships in the process. It’s not okay to drag yourself to work each day. Try the smallest change to make your job more rewarding – even if you can’t tell your boss!
Want to learn how to tell your boss what you really want? Join us on October 16th, National Boss Day. Follow us on Twitter @TellYourBoss for updates and to join the revolution.
Do you have a bad boss who’s sucking all the joy from your life? Chances are it’s costing you money, success, health and happiness.
Did you know happier employees have higher levels of productivity, produce higher sales, perform better in leadership positions, receive higher performance ratings and higher pay and enjoy more job security?
In fact, the latest scientific evidence from more than 200 studies of 275,000 people around the world tells us that happiness and positivity doesn’t simply reflect success and fulfillment; it also produces it in nearly every domain of life, including work, health, friendship, sociability, creativity and energy.
Is your bad boss is keeping you from all of this?
While I certainly was relieved to escape each bad boss I’ve encountered at work, it wasn’t until I met Barbara Fredrickson from the University of North Carolina, often described as the “genius of positive psychology”, that I really started to understand what these bosses where costing by robbing me of positive emotions like joy, interest and pride in my work.
Barb explained our brains are literally hardwired to perform at their best – not when they’re negative or even neutral – but when they’re positive. A rare state when you’re enduring a bad boss.
Yet Barb’s research has repeatedly demonstrated that positivity – or the lack thereof – doesn’t just change the contents of our mind, trading bad thoughts for good ones; it also changes the scope or boundaries of our psyche by broadening and building us.
Positivity opens us up to be more creative and receptive – even towards a bad boss. Studies show that it literally expands our peripheral vision, allowing us to see more than we typically do. In addition, it floods our brains with dopamine and serotonin and enables us to make and sustain more neural connections so that we can organize new information, think more quickly and creatively, become more skilled at complex analysis and problem solving, and see and invent new ways of doing things when it comes to managing our bad boss.
It also alters how we see our connections with others so that we look past what separates us – like racial differences – and think more in terms of “we” and less in terms of “me”. It can help us be more tolerant towards others – perhaps even a bad boss.
The best part is by opening our hearts and minds, positive emotions allow us to discover and build new skills, new ties, new knowledge, and new ways of being. As our positive emotions accrue, they also build up our psychological, intellectual, social and physical resources, leaving us better equipped to face a bad boss.
We become more optimistic, more resilient, more open, more accepting, and more driven by purpose. And what’s more, we cultivate more open-minded mental habits, ignite better connections with others and improve our biological markers for health so that we can lower our blood pressure, experience less pain, have fewer colds and sleep better. Leaving you in perfect form to overcome your bad boss!
My favorite part of Barb’s research is her discovery that positivity obeys a tipping point – even in the face of a bad boss. She’s found when we encounter at least three heartfelt positive emotional experiences that uplift us, for every heart-wrenching negative emotional experience we endure, a tipping point occurs, which predicts our ability to see new opportunities, bounce back from setbacks, connect more with others, and reach our potential.
As part of her work she also notes that appropriate negativity – that we can learn from rather than be shamed by – is a necessary ingredient in life, which keeps us grounded in reality and may even provide a practical use for a bad boss. Barb suggests that the goal is not to banish heart-wrenching negative emotions, but to balance them with enough heartfelt, positive ones (around 3 to 1) so that they no longer leave us to languish.
You can increase your relative positivity (our “positive ratio”) when it comes to your bad boss in three ways by:
This doesn’t mean painting on a smiling face, wishing away your bad boss with positive thinking, or pretending they don’t exist. Rather, it’s about creating moments of heartfelt joy, gratitude, peace, curiosity, hope, pride, laughter, inspiration, awe, and love that arise from how you interpret events and ideas as they unfold – inspite of your bad boss!
You can boost your positivity levels to deal with your bad boss by:
Barb told me that a few years ago she came across a greeting card that read: “Life gives us negativity on its own. It’s our job to create positivity.” She said she liked this phrasing because it reminds us that positivity is a choice – even with a bad boss – a choice we all need to make again and again, day after day.
As a result of all she taught me, I’m particularly careful to gauge the balance of positivity to negativity in my life by using her free five minute Positivity Test online. When I find it falling below three to one I use many of these strategies to improve the way I’m feeling about work.
Bosses Day – October 16 – has traditionally been a “greeting card” holiday to thank your boss, but this year the focus has been broadened because of the growing body of evidence that the world needs better bosses.
Did you know that three out of every four people report that their boss is the most stressful part of their job. Doesn’t sound like many cards will be sent on National Bosses Day this year!
With sixty percent of workplace abuse found to be top down and no amount of “Leadership Training” improving the problem, this year on National Bosses Day it’s time for employees to take a stand!
Unfortunately difficult bosses have a tendency of creeping up on us. Little episodes – an insult here, a dirty look there – gradually add up into big traumas as the constant stream of negative emotions – like fear, anger and sadness – builds up into an overload of stress.
It takes most of us 22 months to free ourselves of a bad boss by which time our stress levels risk becoming chronic. It can shift our brain’s chemistry towards anxiety or depression and affect our immune response and cardiovascular functioning, elevating the risk of colds, diseases, strokes, and even heart attacks. One study in Sweden even found employees who have a difficult relationship with their boss were 30 percent more likely to suffer from coronary heart disease.
Most advice about dealing with a bad boss is pretty hard to implement. Are you really ready to confront your boss, raise the issue with people higher up or quit your job? This year the broadened focus of National Bosses Day provides you with a host of much better options to take action, with proven, practical ways you can create a win-win outcome for you and your boss.
Join employees right around the world on National Bosses Day by doing one of three things:
Most importantly on National Bosses Day swing by tellyourboss.com or favorite social media and share what you do and how your boss reacted.
It’s hoped the global action on National Bosses Day will broaden discussions across organizations about how to improve the performance of bosses everywhere. Good luck!