7 Ways to Keep a Positive Mindset (and Attitude) When You Have a Negative Boss
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A job is almost never perfect, and the energy flow of a workplace plays a considerable role in how you can navigate through your day from clocking in, to clocking out.
But what do you do if the main source of all of the negativity comes from your boss?
Having a terrible boss is more common than you think. There is no specific way or form they come in, but you can believe they are out there. Some bosses are overbearing and don't know how to delegate tasks with respect and humility.
And you probably shout internally about how much you dislike your job and want to leave but can't. Even when you desperately wish to go against your boss's demand-of-the-day to "show them", you know deep down inside that it's not the right thing to do and there must be a better way at managing such an unbearable situation.
Luckily, there are some constructive ways to make your job a more positive space and how you can bring a more positive mindset and attitude into the workplace.
The Buddy System
Sharing is caring, even if what you share with someone is the same discontentment with how things around the both of you may be going. Research has proven that friends matter in every aspect of life and having a friend at work makes this idea even better.
Not only do work friendships allow you daily healthy human interaction, but it also allows you to have someone in your corner that understands your every gripe, every groan, and keeps you sane when you find yourself wondering if a situation is getting out of control.
We are not encouraging that you complain or create a 'hate your boss' section at work, we are merely encouraging you to talk to someone who can relate to your experiences and to find a healthy way to share your concerns.
Be the Model Employee
For some, this is easier said than done. It does, however, take away a lot of stress if your current position creates anxiety over not showing your full potential or if you're wasting your time.
Now, this is not to say that you have to master every part of your job. It is only a suggestion that it wouldn't hurt to familiarise yourself with every role to broaden your social horizons and possibly increase the likelihood of a promotion that could take you out from under the foot of the boss that's creating a negative mindset and space for you.
It's wistful thinking, yes. But it never hurts to try to keep busy.
Stay Busy and Look for a Mentor in the Workplace
If the latter suggestion is not or would not be relevant to what you are going through, then it may be easier to find a mentor in the workplace, outside of your boss, and go to them from time to time to stay busy and away from you know who.
And if having a mentor or wanting someone to support your endeavours matter to you, seek a mentor elsewhere or join a peer group.
Your boss may pick on you because they're trying to help you grow; the unfortunate thing is that their encouragement ends up coming off as bullying or obscene neediness.
By decreasing the dependency, they should gradually start to give you space to set the foundations of your boundaries at long last.
This is in no way encouraging you to run and publicly become the office tattletale by complaining to your boss's boss for being unfair.
Instead, it may be time to try saying something to your boss about their interaction with you and how it makes you feel unmotivated.
Calmly – and with as little passiveness in your voice – ask them in the breakroom when they're alone or when they make the daily round to your desk if they're doing alright.
The chances of your boss not being "negative" and under a lot of pressure or frustrations from their superiors are higher than it may seem early on.
Try to figure out what makes them tick like a time bomb (if they are willing to share) and adjust as best you can to help both of you.
Make This a Lesson Learned
Working with someone who's always negative is the ultimate "do this, not that" example.
Regardless of your position or how long you've been working for a respective company, there is a chance you have observed both the ideal employee and the poor employee between coffee runs.
To have a boss appear in the latter category instead of the former despite them their position is daunting. Which makes it important to "keep tabs" on all of the ways they could perhaps have handled a situation better, been a better leader, or kept their cool.
What your boss may never know through your observations will be that you are identifying how never to replicate their behaviour in the chances of you reaching a higher position in your career, and how you will recognise the telltale signs of a negative boss if you chose to change workplaces.
If everything you have done or have been doing has shown to have no signs of improving, then you must come to terms with it. Though it sounds pessimistic at first glance, this is just a statement that there is no shame in walking away from a situation that refuses to budge no matter how hard you try.
It's not fair to you, and you need to take care of yourself – above all else. Having the power to walk away is incredibly liberating in and of itself.
It reinforces that you are in control of your career and your life.
But Walk Away Wisely
Not every "I quit" scenario will go as planned, so it's wise to plan your next move if the going gets too tough to manage and you realise it's time to go.
Make sure you have all of your eggs in a row before you leave, like, a prospective job lined up, letters of recommendations from superiors that were positive, and gather a reliable network of contacts you know who will support you. Don't forget to have a clear, concrete goal for the life you want to lead now that this chapter is closing. Quitting a job is tough and leaving a toxic one is even tougher.
If this is the path you decide to go down, consider what a character your nightmare boss is and prepare yourself, just in case, they make the situation more significant than it already is. Stand your ground, make your case and take your leave.
Keep your head high and know that anything career-related that follows will be smooth sailing.