Managing The Beast
These issues are easy to identify if we’re working with a full deck ourselves. Trust me, you’re not crazy, but let’s discuss how to maintain your sanity while you manage the beast.
Do yourself a favor, never up the ante by trying to match their level of crazy. Fall back. Remain professional and never allow your emotions to get the best of you. Allowing yourself to get emotional about their behavior will never get you anywhere productive and only give them reason to try and ruin your career. It is up to you to manage the situation appropriately in such a way that you leave with your dignity and professional reputation in place. Yes, woosah trips to the bathroom are necessary but crying in the bathroom is not acceptable. Your sanity is not for sale.
Craft your plan B. This may involve opening up the search for another job while networking within your professional contacts. Hopefully you’ve kept in contact with coworkers and managers from previous positions because they tend to be a wealth of information and access to open positions.
Putting together a plan B also eases the feeling of being caught between a rock and a hard place. At the end of the day, while a toxic boss has the ability to cause you great mental stress, knowing that you have the power to change the situation by crafting your exit, increases your sense of control in the situation.
Don’t take it personally. Easier said than done! I know I know! And while you may be thinking, this is all personal because your feelings are caught up – this is never about you. Even if you are a horrible employee, as a manager they need to have the psychological restraint and professional aptitude to meet you where you are and figure out how to rectify the situation without being antagonizing. As I mentioned earlier, these managers tend to have control issues in their own personal lives. Using their employees like puppets to serve their pathological incompetence is really about filling a need that only psychotherapy can fix. Talk to friends that allow you to vent and get it all out! Sometimes talking to people who feel your pain helps to remind you that you’re not crazy for feeling this way.
Learn how to manage your boss by soothing their ego. Now, before you tell me that you’ll never cosign the abuse, this isn’t what I am asking you to do. Remember, this is someone that you cannot and should not be tasked to change. Comply with their demands but always be sure when beginning a project, ascertain what it is exactly they need from you. Make it all about them. Give them great compliments, even if unwarranted. This feeds their fragile ego while giving you breathing room. There are times when you may feel like a mindless sycophant, but this is all for the maintenance of your sanity.