Friday, March 21, 2014

April is Stress Awareness Month: How to Reduce Work Stress Despite a Bad Boss

April is Stress Awareness Month. Seventy-five percent of working adults say the most stressful aspect of their job is their immediate boss according to Hogan Assessment Systems. Many of those bosses are bad bosses. It is important for workers to find ways to reduce work stress despite having a terrible boss because the stress can literally kill you, says Dr. Noelle Nelson, author of Got a Bad Boss? Work that Boss to Get What You Want at Work (Amazon eBook, $7.99). One study found that people who have stressful jobs and little freedom to make decisions are 23 percent more likely to experience a heart attack

            Nelson offers these suggestions to help reduce the stress level when working with different types of bad bosses.

            “If your boss is always blaming others (usually you), it is because he has a desperate need to always appear successful. If there is a mistake, taking the blame doesn’t fit into his game plan, so no matter the mess up, he blames others,” Nelson explains.

            “Be the one who helps this finger-pointer boss succeed by taking the responsibility to fix--one way or another—whatever problems arise,” explains Nelson. “He’ll stop pointing the finger at you, and start bringing you into the loop. Eventually, this will allow you to avert disasters rather than just do damage control. As he discovers he can trust you to fix problems, you become valuable to him--and to the company. Now you’re working toward your success.”

            For incompetent bosses, the stress-reducing fix is a little tougher. “These types of bosses are under the delusion that they are competent, but deep down they fear they’ll be revealed as the lazy and irresponsible individuals that they are,” says Nelson. “Your goal should be to make her look competent. Prioritize your workload with your boss so you are both clear on what you’ll tackle first. Clarify what your boss’s expectations are for each new task. Check in with your incompetent boss often so you can actually do your work with minimal waste of time, energy and resources. Whether your boss moves on or not, you will have created enough of a personal track record to move you to the next position you covet.

            “Avoiding a bad boss, fighting with the boss or badmouthing the boss to anyone who will listen won’t reduce your long-term stress. It’s momentary relief at best and harmful to your career at worst,” says Nelson. “Instead, become your boss’s ally. Find a way to work with your bad boss so he gets what he wants so you can get what you want. As distasteful as this sounds, it’s really the only way to get the success you deserve without a lot of stress.”

            For tips on working with specific bad boss types, go to, on Facebook at or at

Friday, March 7, 2014

Turn "It's Not Fair!" to Your Success Advantage

Among Catherine Conlan’s "5 Things You Should Never Say at Work" are two that apply particularly to all varieties of Bad Boss, because Bad Bosses, regardless of their type, routinely ignore job descriptions and duties in favor of their own whims or (often irrational) desires.

So you will undoubtedly find yourself saying at one time or another:

It's not fair. Whether this is true or not, this is one of the most unhelpful things you can say at work. No matter how you say it, it's going to come across as whining. And the answer you're likely to get can be something along the lines of "You're right -- so what?" Instead, find more concrete, fact-based objections to something you want to change, rather than relying on emotional appeal.

That's not my job. In today's work environment, employees are often asked to go above and beyond as a matter of routine. "That's not my job" can make you look stubborn, lazy and generally uninterested in the company's success. Instead, identify the problem you have with the task at hand -- is it something you truly don't have time for? Is it something that someone else would do better?

When you hear yourself protesting "It's not fair/not my job" - think! Get creative. Use your imagination. Somewhere in what is being asked of you is something you can turn to your advantage.

That’s what is important here. Your career, your success. Every successful person has had to deal with unfairness of one type or another, yet it’s learning to deal constructively with those unfairnesses that often has contributed significantly to their career.

As can you!