An irrational individual cultivates a mindset that is not based on logic, but rather an illogical thought process that is deprived of mental clarity. This person does not operate with sound judgment, and that can cause issues in the workplace; especially if the individual is your boss or manager. If your boss is highly irrational and causing problems for you in the workplace, you need to find a positive and effective way to handle the situation while maintaining a professional attitude at all times. Bad bosses of any kind need to be tackled properly as they can even damage your health. This article will address several steps that you should take when trying to work for a bad boss with irrational behavior.
1. Do Not Participate in the Drama
Author Cheryl Richardson said it best, “Just because some people are fueled by drama doesn’t mean you have to attend the performance.” You can be certain that if you are working for an irrational boss, you’ll be in the middle of some kind of drama in the workplace. However, you should not become an active participant in the drama exhibited by this irrational boss. Learn how to separate yourself from the negative behavior and become an outside observer. This can be a difficult thing to do; especially when your boss’s irrational behavior may be directed at you. Focus on the factual aspects of the situation and separate yourself from the conflict caused by your boss’s irrational mindset and behavior.
For example, never participate in the drama of your irrational boss by getting into aggressive behavior through arguments, email wars or nonverbal emotional abuse. Due to your boss’s irrational behavior, he will never be able to admit to his mistakes and will always think he is right. Accept the fact that you won’t win in an argument with this person. However, you don’t need to fight back to be effective in working for an irrational boss. Be conciliatory and make an effort to keep your boss happy—unless, of course, you’re asked to do something unethical or illegal.
2. Work Your Way into His Inner Circle
When trying to be effective in working for an irrational boss, it is important to work your way into his inner circle. Many times when an employee is outside an irrational boss’s inner circle, this individual is treated even more harshly and unfairly. However, if you can find a way to become part of your boss’s inner circle of trust, you will increase your chances of bypassing the brunt of his irrational behavior.
In order to gain access to the inner circle, you need to ascertain what your boss is looking for with regard to the individuals permitted to get close to him. You should closely observe your boss to find out how he operates and what type of behavior he would like to see mirrored in his employees. Once you know what your boss is seeking from his star “pupils” you should then work diligently to exhibit that type of behavior in your daily workplace performance.
For example, if your boss favors employees who come to work early and stay late, make an effort to do that. You may need to work on a team project that doesn’t truly interest you. However, if your boss includes team leaders in his inner circle, you will need to excel in your work on the project and work toward achieving a leadership position.
3. Connect With His Right-Hand Man
In addition to trying to work your way into your irrational boss’s inner circle, it is important to find a way to connect with his right-hand man (or woman). This individual may be the boss’s best work buddy, executive assistant or even one of your fellow coworkers who has already made it to the inner circle. You may not have constant direct access to your boss’s ear so it will benefit you to make a positive and symbiotic connection with this right-hand individual. This way you will have the perfect opportunity to communicate with your boss, indirectly, through this individual.
For example, once you’ve cozied up to this right-hand individual, you will be able to ask pointed questions about what your boss likes and dislikes in an employee. You can gain valuable intel for when to run for cover because a storm is brewing in your irrational boss’s mind and when you can come out to play and enjoy the sunshine of his sunnier side. Additionally, as you cultivate this relationship with the right-hand individual, you will have the opportunity to communicate your concerns regarding workplace issues and productivity to this person—who will get the message to your boss.
4. Learn How to Document Information
When you have an irrational boss, you must learn how to effectively document information. You have no recourse if your irrational boss starts acting out, causing drama or changing his mind about an assignment he gave you—and then blames you for not getting your work done. Irrational bosses do not operate within the same boundaries of rational people. Their mindset is unreasonable and not generally clear-minded. Documenting everything is important for your own protection and job security.
For example, if your boss gives you assignments that are outside your usual purview, make sure that you ask for the details in writing or take good notes when he doles out the project duties. When you have it clearly written up, email it to your boss simply for verification and for future reference in case you need to refer back to your discussion about the assignment. Your boss will take notice of your constant documentation of information and assignments and be more inclined to follow suit by carefully planning future assignments.
5. Become Your Own Advocate
Finally, you need to take this situation seriously and become your own advocate because no one else will look out for you like you can. When you have an irrational boss, you will be put into situations where you may become compromised. An irrational individual does not operate with a clear mindset, and that can cause this individual to cross boundaries that should never be crossed. You may find yourself in a situation where you can no longer be effective in your own work performance due to stress from dealing with your irrational boss. Make sure that you do what is necessary to become your own advocate.
For example, consider your career goals as more important than trying to be effective in working for this irrational boss. If the situation becomes too convoluted and difficult to deal with, you may need to consider handing in your resignation letter. So, continually work on revamping your resume to keep it current and have a variety of irons in the fire in case you need to find a new job quickly. Continue to work on developing your career goals so that you have a clear objective in mind at all times while working for this irrational boss.
See Also: How to Work for a Perfectionist Boss
Working for an irrational boss can be an extremely difficult experience. However, if you work hard to avoid participating in the drama, you will be off to a good start in effectively handling the situation. Find ways to get inside his inner circle and cultivate a relationship with his right-hand man. Don’t forget to document everything and continue to become your own advocate.
Have you ever had to work for an irrational boss? What was the worst part of working in that type of environment?