Career Coach: How to Avoid A Bad Boss
One of the best things you can do is to ensure that your boss will be the kind of person you want to work for. To do this, you have to do some self-assessment before looking for your next job. Self-assessment includes not only what skills you can offer an employer, but also what values are important to you. Determine your ideal working conditions and environment. Do you prefer working alone or with a group? Once you know what working conditions are right for you, including the kind of management you prefer, you can find the right match for your temperament.
Determine if you prefer working on your own with lots of autonomy or if you prefer close supervision and constant feedback. A supervisor who is hands-on is likely to want to approve most or everything you do. A supervisor who entrusts his/her employees with responsibilities and decision-making is a better match for someone who desires more autonomy. That boss will get irritated if you constantly interrupt him/her with the minutiae of your projects.
Once you understand the boss's style, you can decide whether you want to work with him/her. Ask questions during the interview to determine what the boss values.
One of the things that employers try to discover during the interview is whether you are a good fit for their company. What you need to do is determine what would be a good fit for you. What makes work both fascinating and difficult are the myriad personalities of colleagues and supervisors. It's up to you to find a boss that is a good match for your personality.
Is it Me?
Once you start working at your new job, I hope you'll discover that your boss is fair and respectful. If he is not and you feel you've made a mistake, take some time to assess before deciding that you need to move on. Perhaps the boss is not a good fit for you. Try to adapt to his style.
Sometimes the boss might be a good boss to some people, but not to you. Check to see if you are the only one having difficulty by asking your colleagues how they feel about working for your boss. Don't reveal that you are having problems. If you are the only one who is having difficulty, it might be that you are too sensitive, or that you and the boss just don't have the right chemistry.
If you are in a job with a boss who is not the right match, and you cannot adapt, realize that the only way to change your boss is to change your job. Your best chance to avoid a bad boss is during the interview. Keep an eye out for warning signs, and you won't have to learn these lessons on the job.
Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a recruiter, hiring strategist, career coach and speaker, available for personal consultations and speaking engagements. She recently presented a course at the SIGGRAPH conference called "Resumes and Demo Reels: If Yours Don't Work, Neither Do You." (www.siggraph.org/s2007) If you are interested in her professional services as a career coach, speaker, or recruiter, contact her at PamRecruit@q.com.