Managing Bosses, Be They Remarkable, Toxic or Perilous

Job satisfaction begins and ends with the boss, says executive coach Dr. Karol Wasylyshyn, author of Behind the Executive Door: Unexpected Lessons for Managing Your Boss and Your Career. To make the boss/you relationship work, first determine whether you have a Remarkable, Toxic or Perilous boss.

Wasylyshyn. a licensed psychologist and executive advisor, is founder of the Leadership Development Forum, which provides practical guidance for improving your work experience.

I Have a Remarkable Boss

Remarkable bosses are well-attuned to the concerns and aspirations of others, blend both facts and people considerations in their decision-making, and have healthy egos focused on business success versus just getting their own selfish needs met, says Wasylyshyn.

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To make the most of working for a high-achieving and inspirational Remarkable leader, follow these tips, she says:

  • Build a reciprocal relationship. Replace “What’s in it for me?” with “What’s in it for us?”
  • Accelerate results. Call out colleagues on the differences between being busy and getting results.
  • Be an enterprise player.  Get out of your silo, share your knowledge and work collaboratively among departments.

I Have a Perilous Boss

Perilous bosses, despite their intelligence, are chronically critical and dissatisfied, inconsistent in their management of others, and moody. To reinforce the best behaviors with this discontented type, says Wasylyshyn:

  • Clothe the Emperor. Keep the boss tuned into employees’ real concerns including aberrations in his or her leadership style.
  • Connect head and heart. Coach him or her away from overly content-based behavior and toward an integration of objective (data) and subjective (people) factors.
  • Be a mirror for bold actions. Strive to be the person the boss can turn to as a litmus test or emergency brake before taking audacious action.

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I Have a Toxic Boss

Toxic boss are tempestuous, have no concern about the impact of their behavior on others, and are totally ego centric. To minimize a toxic supervisor’s destructive effects, says Wasylyshyn:

  • Plan an escape route. Sometimes the best way to soothe the insanity is to start figuring your way out.
  • Believe in yourself. Stay steady in the belief that your talents, intelligence and accomplishments are yours regardless of how your boss may criticize or fail to recognize your work.
  • Bond with your peers. Collaborate with coworkers to preemptively resolve issues that could stand in the way of your respective successes at work.

First question: what type is your boss? And, maybe a more important question, what type of boss are you? Share your comments below.

  • Anonymous

    This exercise could doubly valuable if you applied the same questions to yourself–what kind of boss are you to your staff?

  • Anonymous

    Don’t be afraid of your boss because fear gives power to the other person. Concentrate on doing your job well, learning more than you may need to know about the job, the boss, the place you work. Pick out the good points of each and work toward that. Be willing to help others simply because you can and you know how to help them. Don’t act like you know more than you really do. Always, always be honest. Last, if you can’t take it start looking for someplace else to go. It’s always easier to find something when you have something.

  • Anonymous

    Just a note: In my observations, I have noticed that the Perilous Boss also has Toxic Boss inclinations.

  • Anonymous

    I had a Toxic Boss and i know what you mean, when all was great it was me (Boss),but when something was wrong it was you..and he never care about us, he always said.”THIS IS MY BUILDING,I’M THE BOSS. ETHER YOU LIKE IT OR RESING.

  • Anonymous

    Having a perilously toxic boss, I have had to combine strategies. I am working on getting out. In the meantime, I continually build credit outside of my department by sharing knowledge and working collaboratively with other departments freely and reflect best practices back to my boss (only she can decide if she will use my example or not). It is important to bond with my peers inside and outside of my organization and to keep telling myself that I do know what I am doing. Hopefully my escape plan will pan out soon.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed about building bonds, but it’s also important to resist the temptation to bond by commiserating about the boss or bosses. It always seems to get back to them, and even if it doesn’t, it can reflect poorly on you.

  • Anonymous

    Remember that your boss is only a person and if he/she chooses to stand in a baby pool of toxic (poo), you don’t have to get in there too. Perilous and toxic persons are only revealing their insecurities in which you have absolutely no control. When he/she is spewing, try this… nod your head (not shake) and say things like – with a smile, “Yes, I can see how frustrating that is.” or “I absolutely agree with you, sir, this is your building. Or, “I absolutely agree with you, you are the boss.” Then don’t say anything else and make your escape. There is no power struggle if one does not engage. Remember, intelligence, position or money does not create consciousness.

  • Anonymous

    I had a toxic boss when I first started working in. His behavior adversely impacted my ability to be productive. I took advantave of a temporary assignment, where I worked independently and the new boss was extremely happy with my work. The old boss asked why I left, when I returned. I was honest with him about how his behavior impacted my performance and he actually changed how he managed. We developed a very good working relationship before the project ended and went our separate ways. I would never have obtained my professional licenses if he had not encouraged me to get them.

  • Anonymous

    The tip is practical and priceless.It left me wanting to learn more about handling .I would like to have more of such constructive tips.Professional leadership has been made easy.

  • Anonymous

    This is a helpful issue to discuss because many employees feel helpless in overcoming it. It may not be your boss, but the situation that is perilous and your boss is simply trying to deal with it just as you are. Find out if your boss or coworkers are the ones to blame. In many cases, coworkers complain to the boss and the boss simply translates that message to you. In some cases, orders come from the top and the poor supervisor is left to deliver the message. Learn where the real complaints are coming from and address them head on.