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The Perfect Gift For National Bosses Day

October 15th, 2012 by Michelle McQuaid

Bosses DayOctober 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.

What will you do on National Bosses Day?

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.

What if you can’t say thank you on National Bosses Day

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?

 Share your National Bosses Day action on social media #tellyourboss

5 Tricks To Beat A Bad Boss

October 8th, 2012 by Michelle McQuaid

bad bossIs 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.

Read the rest of this article »

The Secret To Surviving A Bad Boss

September 26th, 2012 by Michelle McQuaid

the secret to surviving a bad bossAre 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.


Why a bad boss tries to destroy your relationships

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.

How to protect your relationships from a bad boss

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:

  • Respond actively and constructively – When someone shares news of a victory or just a good thing that’s happened to them, how you respond can either build the relationship or undermine it.  You can respond actively by asking a question that allows them to talk more about what’s happened or passively by closing the conversation down.  You can respond constructively by observing what’s good about their news or destructively by pointing out why things are about to go wrong.  Research has found when it comes to improving your relationships it’s best to respond actively and constructively by asking positive questions that allow the other person to continue sharing and savoring their good news like: “The promotion sounds so exciting, how did you find out?”
  • Create connection rituals – One of the best ways to nurture our relationships at work is to create rituals which allow us to get together and be in touch with people we value on a regular basis – regardless of our bad boss. This might include a daily walk at lunch, a weekly coffee, a monthly dinner with your colleagues.  Studies show when you get at least six hours of daily social time, it increases your well-being and minimizes stress and worry. The six hours can include time at work, at home, on the telephone, talking to friends, sending emails and other communication, but each hour of social time you accumulate quickly decreases the odds of having a bad day. Even three hours of social time reduces your chances of your bad boss ruining your day to 10 per cent.
  • Show appreciation – Practicing appreciation and gratitude is a kind of mega strategy to improve our levels of positivity and our relationships. It opens your heart and urges you to give back – to do something good in return – helping to nurture new relationships and improve existing ones no matter what your bad boss is doing. Perhaps this is why countless studies have shown that consistently grateful people are more energetic, emotionally intelligent, forgiving, and less likely to be depressed, anxious, or lonely.  Try taking the time to genuinely thank someone they’ve done to help you each day before you log off – if you’re feeling really strong you might even find something to thank you bad boss for.
  • Avoid social comparisons – Comparing ourselves to others is pretty natural especially if your bad boss likes to point it out! Unfortunately, the more social comparisons you make, the more likely you are to encounter unfavorable contrasts because no matter how successful, wealthy, or fortunate you become, there’s always someone who can best you.  A three-step approach can shake this off. Firstly, you need to identify a recent event where the social comparisons you’ve made left you feeling jealous or unhappy and spend a few minutes writing about the event and what it was that unsettled you so you can unburden yourself of any negativity. Then, you need to identify at least three things you’re currently doing or could begin doing to find peace around this perceived short-coming to improve your mood and self-regard. Finally, you need to learn to avoid social comparison in the future by noting down the situations (places, times and people – like your bad boss) that appear to trigger these insecurities and try to avoid these situations or modify them just enough to thwart their ability to unsettle you.

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.

Do you have a best friend at work? How does it make your workday better?

Have a bad boss? Sign our petition to rid the world of bad bosses everywhere! 

Creative Commons License Image Thomas Cunningham via Compfight

Sign the Petition: Act Now To Rid The World Of Bad Bosses

September 23rd, 2012 by Michelle McQuaid

bad bosses

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.

The World Needs Better Bosses

This petition is now closed.

End date: Oct 31, 2013

Signatures collected: 112

112 signatures

Why bad bosses are bad for all of us

Here’s why this matters so much. Bad bosses are bad for employees, bad for business and bad for our communities. Let me explain.

  • Bad bosses are destroying our health – it takes most people 22 months to free themselves of bad bosses by which time our stress levels risk becoming chronic. Not only does this much stress shift our brain towards anxiety or depression, it also wears down our immune system leaving us at risk of more colds, diseases, strokes and even heart attacks. Unfortunately, this doesn’t just impact those of us with bad bosses as depression can be contagious spreading the misery of a bad boss through our families and entire communities.
  • Bad bosses are undermining our success – people with bad bosses earn less money and get fewer promotions. Not only that, but poor relationships with our supervisors costs our economy $360 billion each year in lost productivity. Instead of a workforce engaged in addressing the critical economic, environmental, health and geo-political issues of our times we’re deliberately slowing down, making errors on purpose, avoiding our bosses and taking unnecessary sick leave all because of the incivility and rudeness of bad bosses.
  • Bad bosses are costing us money – when one organization decided to deduct from a boss’ salary the financial costs – legal fees, recruitment fees, training fees and management time – incurred by his bad behavior the total in one year added up to nearly $160,000. Of course ultimately it’s the employees and customers of these companies who pay for this as part of the “labor overheads” that limit profitability and drive down salaries and increase prices.

What can we do about bad bosses?

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:

  • Training bad bosses – while organizations spend millions of dollars each year on “leadership training” a disproportionate amount of this investment still focuses on how to fix what’s wrong with employees by commanding and controlling them, rather than how to build on what’s right with employees by empowering and enabling them. Bosses need better training, coaching and on-the-job experiences to bring out the best in people rather than stomping all over them.
  • Recruiting well bosses – bosses are usually promoted because they perform well on the job, but this only one element of a good leader. The level of emotional intelligence in our bosses and their ability to nurture wellbeing in others can easily and unobtrusively be measured and should be an essential requirement before anyone is put in charge of others.
  • Measuring the performance of all bosses – “what gets measured, gets done” parrots every boss I’ve ever worked for, yet the one measure missing from every organization is a scorecard of their boss’ performance. Why not give employees the means of anonymously rating their bosses and to ensure accountability, publish the results in an internal league table and tie it to eligibility for promotion or bonuses. This should be a measure of organizational health demanded by every board, shareholder and analyst.

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!

The World Needs Better Bosses

This petition is now closed.

End date: Oct 31, 2013

Signatures collected: 112

112 signatures

How To Tell Your Boss You Don’t Like Your Job

September 21st, 2012 by Michelle McQuaid

tell your bossWondering 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!

Tell your boss it just doesn’t “Flow”

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.

What if you can’t tell your boss?

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:

  • Discovering your strengths – Your strengths can comprise your talents, interests, resources, and/or character. They’re things you look forward to doing, you feel absorbed by while you’re doing them and by which you feel invigorated and fulfilled after you’ve done them. Strengths are where your greatest successes happen and where you experience enormous growth. Take this free survey to discover your strengths and ways to use them at work each day no matter what you tell your boss.
  • Re-crafting your job – It’s easy to get trapped into thinking about your job as a list of things that must be done at all costs. But says who? What if you were able to adjust what you do and not tell your boss?  The reality is that formal job requirements are not the only thing determining what you do.  Crafting your job by changing the type and number of tasks you choose to undertake and the way you think about your work and/or who you interact with, allows you to reclaim your power, motivation and relationships. It helps you to adjust what you do every day by reframing the way you think about your job and where you choose to spend your time and energy.
  • Being mindful – Ellen Langer is a Harvard psychologist who teaches her students that events don’t come with evaluations; rather we impose evaluations on our experiences and, in so doing, create our experience of the event. She believes that noticing new things is the essence of mindfulness, while unquestioningly accepting a single-minded evaluation of what we see is mindless and urges us to ask about our jobs: When was this decided? Who says so? Based on what information? With what motivation? As you answer these questions, hidden worlds of opportunities for flow start to open up and you don’t have to tell your boss a thing!

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.


Why Happiness Is The Best Revenge On A Bad Boss

September 11th, 2012 by Michelle McQuaid

Dealing with a bad bossDo 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?


How a bad boss costs you more than happiness

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.


The secret to fighting back against a bad boss

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!


The tipping point to dealing with your bad boss

positivity breed positivity

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:

  • Increasing the numerator (the number of positive emotions you’re experiencing).
  • Decreasing the denominator (the number of negative emotions you’re experiencing).
  • Or doing both.

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!


Five ways to overcome the misery of a bad boss

You can boost your positivity levels to deal with your bad boss by:

  • Creating “Jolts of Joy” in your day – Counteract the impact of your bad boss by sprinkling some Jolts of Joy – moments that bring a genuine smile to your face – to short circuit the negativity caused by your bad boss.  Create a list of the things you can do in ten minutes or less at work that will make you feel good.  This might include finding a quiet place to meditate, putting a favorite song on your ipod, taking a quick walk outside, watching a funny clip on youtube or calling a friend.  All proven mood boosters.
  • Breaking the grip of rumination – Our brains are programmed so that when we dwell on a bad boss, we can’t see the big picture and think clearly so instead we selectively call to mind more and more negative thoughts, thereby creating adownward spiral of despair and multiplying our pessimism exponentially. Create a list of positive distractions from your bad boss – like exercising or doing something kind for someone else – that you can reach for when you find yourself pointlessly ruminating.
  • Cultivating optimism – Most of us have particular habits when it comes to explaining how good and bad events happen to us – particularly around a bad boss. It turns out there are three important dimensions that impact our explanations: personal (“me-not me”), permanent (“always-not always”) and pervasive (“everything- not everything”). Optimistic explanations find permanent and universal causes of good events and temporary and specific causes for misfortune to leave us feeling more hopeful for the future. Being optimistic involves a choice about how you see your bad boss. Remember, the goal is not to eliminate negativity, deny or avoid unfavorable information or try to control situations. Instead, you want to be flexible in your optimism particularly when your bad boss is dragging you under, but not when clear sight or owning up is actually required.
  • Minimizing the impact of your bad boss – Dealing with negative people in our lives isn’t easy, but our best options are to modify the situation, attend to it differently or change its meaning. Rather than trying to avoid our bad boss, these techniques neutralize negativity by extending empathy, compassion and openness to the person who is lashing out. It’s a simple fact that dire interpretations create dire emotions, whilst charitable and optimistic interpretations breed positivity.  Try to modify the situation by experimenting with how you act when you’re with your boss. Think of it as a series of tests for cause and effect – of when I do this… that happens – in which your goal is to find the responses which bring out the best in your bad boss.
  • Practicing kindness – Probably the last thing you feel like doing with a bad boss, yet practicing kindness – even when it’s unpleasant or we expect to receive nothing in return – is in our own self-interest. Being generous and willing to share helps you to engage in seeing others more positively, feeling more connected and being more grateful. It also makes us feel more advantaged by comparison (e.g. I’m glad I’m not so overwhelmed by my job that I’ve forgotten how to smile) and highlights our abilities, resources, and expertise to create feelings of control over our lives. Best of all, it can jump-start a cascade of positive social consequences influencing others to like you, to appreciate you and to reciprocate when you need kindness.  If you can’t do something kind for your bad boss then at least do it for a colleague who may also be suffering!
  • Telling your boss – If you really want to a have a healthy conversation with your bad boss about how unhappy they’re making you then you have to make them feel safe first.  This can be achieved by finding a shared goal so that both of you have a good reason for talking and by showing respect during the conversation.

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.


Ready to rid the world of bad bosses? Join us on October 16th, National Boss Day. Follow us on Twitter @TellYourBoss for updates and to join the revolution.

Image by: net_efekt via Compfight

Why Bosses Day Matters

September 5th, 2012 by Michelle McQuaid

National Bosses Day.

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!


Is Bosses Day Worth The Effort?

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.


What Can You Do On Bosses Day?

Join employees right around the world on National Bosses Day by doing one of three things:

  • Thank your boss – If you have a good boss then National Bosses Day is the day to thank them and be specific about what you appreciate so they can do more of it. Practicing gratitude has been found to boost your levels of motivation and improves your relationships at work.
  • Improve your boss – If you have an okay boss but there’s room for improvement then National Bosses Day is the day to tell 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 our every ten people report that they get to do what they do best each day at work, yet when you do you’re six times more engaged and your satisfaction with life triples!
  • Manage your boss – If you have a difficult boss then National Bosses Day is the time to get honest about what you’re putting up with. There are 24 proven, practical ways using positive psychology – the science of wellbeing – that you can use to overcome the terrors of your boss.

Most importantly on National Bosses Day swing by 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!


(Image by Harsh Patel via Compfight)