Dealing with a Bad Boss? It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way.

Micro-manager. Hyper-Critical. Steals my ideas. According to a Gallup survey, half of us have left a job to get away from a bad boss.

Early in my coaching I had an exciting and profound learning. Clients came to me (very!) eager to get out of their job. My own experience had been one of being in the wrong type of job at the start of my career, so with these clients I focused on Impact: If they knew how their strengths positively impacted their organization, they could find a new job doing that. At the same time, we talked about how to make their current job tolerable. We talked about communicating with different styles of people, especially their difficult boss. We talked about being less reactive and not losing confidence when their boss behaved badly. After a few months, my clients started to say that their boss had let them lead a meeting. Or that their boss had told them “good job” and even acknowledged their good work in front of others. And then, even more surprising, several were offered a promotion. A promotion! When they were ready to walk out the door!

It was at this point that I added Influence to the Impact piece. Being in a job you are good at, by itself, is not enough. While we don’t have control over our boss and others, we can have more control over our relationships to them. And often that can make all the difference.

Here’s the deal. If you don’t learn the tools of Influence at some point, terrible bosses will have a way of following you. And going from job to job in the hopes of finding a good boss is not a strategy. It’s rolling the dice. Wouldn’t it be better to have the confidence that whoever your boss, you can manage the situation so that you learn the best of what your boss has to offer, and that you will have the confidence that comes from feeling safe. From there you can be more creative, do your best work, and increase your success.

All those years ago, without realizing it, I had started my I to the 4th Power method. Since those early years, I have added two more I’s: Initiative and Innovation. Initiative means that you can’t learn to ski down a hill by reading it in a book. You have to be on slippery boards, looking down a steep hill to really get it. And Innovation is about connection to your team. How do you build strong trust with others so that together you can collaborate and solve bigger problems.

3-Month Career Clarity is my core program based on my I to the 4th Power methodology. It was developed over 10 years working with thousands of people in groups and individually. It’s something to consider if you are ready to be proactive about your career strategy. A few of us are gifted and can figure it out. Most of us could use an trusted advisor along the way.

To learn more about the Career Clarity 3-month program, contact me at

In the mean time, this NYT article from this week provides one great tactic. I’d love for you to try it (Initiative), and see how learning more tools of influence really can transform your career.