My ‘Toxic’ Boss and I!
For many years, I was in a work environment where my boss was the ‘toxic’ type: critical, temperamental, creates a hostile environment, frequently frustrated, close minded, very opinionated, negative attitude, and erratic mood swings!
I’ve been there, I experienced it for years! I know how it feels to be working with a hard-nosed, tough and demanding perfectionist who rules with intimidation, insists on getting his way, very manipulative, mood changes very quickly from reasonably nice to ‘toxic’.
I must say ‘though that my boss was very intelligent, academically & technically superior! It was difficult to work with him but during his ‘fine, good mood’ moments, he listened to reason because he was all about doing the best job he can, wanting to make an excellent impression to his superior (the CEO himself!).
He also knew that talented people (at least he considered me as one (describing me as the “most brilliant senior office administrator” in the company) made things happen. As I was reporting directly to him, he kind of expected me to have the same intellectual capability that he has! But many times, he drove me nuts in trying to achieve ‘outstanding’ or at least ‘exceeding expectation’ performance.
For those who are currently in the same situation, if it’s any consolation, take comfort in knowing that you have more company than you can imagine. And the good news is that you are not powerless. Quite the contrary, you don’t need to passively accept a ‘toxic’ boss. If your boss is obnoxious and bullies you, you have a responsibility to do something! And more often than not, a brilliant boss would love to hear feedback from their employees, he wants to know if he’s right and how to be, and where else he can do better.
If changing job or seeking employment in another department or elsewhere is not possible and not your immediate option (it was never for me!), you should do everything in your capacity to resolve this kind of situation.
Do not ever complain about your boss to any of your colleagues or worse, go to HR Dept. This could backfire on you and make matters worse.
Please bear in mind that clever & successful employees know how to make the most of a bad situation. A ‘toxic’ boss does not intimidate them! Yes, they are coerced during sudden outbursts of nastiness & meanness! But they easily bounce back, regain their footing and deal with the situation head-on.
They are smart enough to be resourceful and do their own discrete research so as to fully understand their ‘toxic’ boss. They use their personal observations and gathered information to gain leverage to neutralize the ‘toxic’ behavior.
It’s how you triumph or overcome those things and not focusing on what you’re going through at the moment, but rising above it and seeing how you can grow stronger.
While working with a ‘toxic’ boss is full of challenges and can be overwhelming, the positive side was I became more empowered, boldly confident, my communications and time management skills are unparalleled, and my overall self-image and worth are notched higher. The key is having excellent work ethics, shunning mediocrity, learning how to manage up this type of boss and work the negatives to your advantage.
The most important thing I did was choosing my battles wisely, widening my perspective and course of actions. As the saying goes, “it is wiser to be a master of your destiny than a victim of your history”!
You might say what I’ve written here are easily said than done. It can be hard and overwhelming but if you want to keep a highly paying job, like mine with a free high-end apartment, free utilities, children’s educational assistance (my kids studied overseas), you have no other option but to do it.
I look at it in a positive way that there is always a lesson to learn from everything and everyone. Nothing happens by accident.
If worst comes to worst, after repeated efforts for cooperation, still nothing happens and your whole well-being is undermined to the point of becoming a nervous wreck, it may be best for you to look for another job elsewhere. You have to decide how much stress & pressure you can handle.
With my experience working with a ‘toxic’ boss, nothing rattles me anymore! I can hold my own in any turf. I was promoted to the highest grade of my position with a much higher salary & more benefits. I ‘travelled the world’ to say the least. It couldn’t have been possible had I not been open-minded and judged my ‘toxic’ boss unnecessarily!
In summary, I reaped the rewards and coped with the challenges by being not judgmental. With an open-minded attitude, I thrived and flourished in a hostile work environment by:
- Effectively navigating a negative situation to work in my favor.
- I used time-tested strategies that successful people adapt to work effectively with their ‘toxic’ bosses.
- I applied self-defense mechanisms which kept my dignity, sense of empowerment and self-respect intact.
- I fostered a good relationship with my boss, toxic he maybe notwithstanding and why it was important to do that.
- I made myself, my toxic boss and co-workers around me happier by creating an impact to change our work environment into a better place.
My experience became an incredible learning process. I discovered how working with this ‘toxic’ personality type of boss could serve me long-term and ultimately I grew from the process.