Bad Boss Advice

An article titled “Horrible bosses, and how to deal with them”:

It makes no sense to let a perpetually difficult situation fester. Rather than sweeping your feelings and concerns under the rug, you need to approach your supervisor and work to build a more productive relationship. Confronting your boss may cause some trepidation and fear about putting your job in jeopardy, but in the long run, it will be better to lay your cards on the table and try to resolve the troubling relationship. Every relationship is a two-way street, and the fact is that unless supervisors receive some feedback, they won’t realize the effect they are having on you or your colleagues. …

Once you’ve considered your supervisor’s perspective, schedule time for an honest, direct and positive conversation. Let your manager know that you sometimes find work frustrating, and you would like to better meet and exceed his expectations. By staying calm and professional while also avoiding blaming your boss, you’ll discover new ways of working together. Be prepared to leave if necessary. (more)

My professional therapist wife thinks this is bad advice and so do I. Maybe if a boss seemed ok overall but unaware that something they did really bugged you, then maybe you might gently and privately point that out. But if you’d call a boss “horrible,” then probably he’s well aware about what you don’t like, or he will punish you for seeming to challenge his authority.

But notice how supporting this advice lets one affirm many ideals:

  1. We “stand up” to and resist dominators, and will support others who try.
  2. It is not our lowered status we object to, oh no, we have objective reasons to complain.
  3. When a boss and employee conflict, the boss not the employee is usually to blame.
  4. We don’t secretly trash talk people we don’t like, no, we act in full view of all.
  5. We are reasonable, and reasonable people sit down and talk about their problems.
  6. We assume everyone is reasonable until they clearly prove otherwise.

We often give and consume advice more to affirm our ideals than to usefully improve decisions.

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