In “Horrible Bosses,” Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis come up with a very simple plan for dealing with their torturous managers: namely, kill them. (If it sounds outrageous, know that this twisted world also contains a sex-crazed Jennifer Aniston whose advances are not appreciated.)
In the real world, there are plenty of HR-approved methods of handling all types of horrible bosses. We checked in with Robert Sutton, author of “Good Boss, Bad Boss” and “The No A—hole Rule.”
Quit — if you can
If you have the luxury of leaving your job, Sutton recommends removing yourself from the situation. “The first thing is to get out if you possibly can,” he says. “A lot of times, you can move to another part of the agency. Transferring, and doing it gracefully, can sometimes be part of the process.”
Start a conversation
It’s possible — likely, even — that your boss has no idea he’s an insufferable micromanager. “It turns out that the more incompetent people are at things, the more they’re unaware of their weaknesses,” says Sutton. “Ask yourself if you can have a conversation to talk about the problems. But it depends on the nature of the horribleness.”
In the process of improving your long-term situation, form day-to-day strategies. “Get yourself in an emotional place where you feel strong against the person,” says Sutton. “Learn the fine art of emotional detachment. Passion and commitment is fabulous, but if you want to get home in one piece, sometimes going through the motions is the most effective way.”
Form a team
If it looks as if you’ll need to build a case against your boss, there is strength in numbers.
“If you’re going to fight back against a bully boss, form a posse. You’re in a better position to get results or at least not get hurt,” advises Sutton.
When you do involve HR, make sure you have evidence. “You should document, document, document every bad thing your boss does. Keep track of your boss’ ethically questionable behavior. The lesson here is, when you’re an a—hole, people lie in wait, and then they jump on you.”
Follow Monica Weymouth on Twitter @MonicaatMetro