playful change activator  wellbeing teacher  best-selling writer

How To Deal With A Bad Boss

Ever worked for a bad boss?  You know the kind who sucks all the joy out of your day.

A bad boss doesn’t have to be a full-blown bully to stress you out.   Little episodes like an insult here or a rude look there can gradually add up into big traumas as the constant stream of negative emotions – like fear, anger and sadness – builds up into an overload of stress.

I was amazed recently to learn that it takes most of us 22 months to free ourselves of a bad boss.  22 months is a long time to be unhappy at work!

Even worse, 22 months of stress can have some dire consequences on our brains and our bodies which left unchecked can undermine our performance, damage our health, destroy our relationships and leave us feeling depressed and anxious.  One study in Sweden even found employees with a bad boss were 30 per cent more likely to suffer from coronary heart disease!

Personally, I’ve found most advice about dealing with a bad boss pretty hard to implement.  Are you really ready to confront your bad boss, raise the issue with people higher up or quit your job?

I was so relieved to find a better way.  You may not like this dirty little secret but I promise you it works.

Dealing With A Bad Boss

bad bossThe secret is ….. kindness.  I know you don’t like the sound of that.  I didn’t either at first.

But as I looked into the research on kindness and how it impacts both giver and receiver I realized I was desperate enough to give anything a try when it came to my bad boss.


Here’s what you need to know.  Being generous and willing to share has been found to help you engage in seeing others more positively, feeling more connected and being more grateful. Best of all, it can jump-start a cascade of positive social consequences – even with a bad boss – influencing others to like you, to appreciate you and to reciprocate when you need kindness.

Not convinced?  Wait there’s more!

Doing someone else a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in wellbeing of any positive psychology intervention that has been tested to date. People asked to complete five acts of kindness over the course of a day – bad boss or not – report feeling much happier even several days after the exercise is over. Picking one day a week and making a deliberate and conscious point of committing five acts of kindness – be it an unexpected compliment, helping someone without being asked or buying a coffee for your bad boss – promotes your feelings of confidence, optimism and usefulness.

So what are you waiting for?

In today’s new episode of ChelleMcQuaid TV, I’ll break down the secret to making kindness work with your bad boss so things can start improving at work.


Click here for the tweetable — Remember there is no such thing as a small act of kindness.  Every act creates a ripple with no logical end – Scott Adams @chellemcquaid.


How are you dealing with your bad boss?

I’d love to hear from you!

What have you done today at work to be kind?  Did you use your strengths to make it easier? How did it impact your relationship with your bad boss or other colleagues?

Leave a comment below and let me know. Remember to be as specific as possible in your comment as your insights and experience helps us all.

Thanks for tuning in!


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