Most of the times, it is hard to recognize this situation because people, generally, don’t like to blame themselves for problems. One generally likes to take the credit when something goes well and thinks that the wonderful outcome is due to his/her abilities and actions. But when things go wrong, we seek to put the responsibility outside of ourselves and onto others, or to bad luck in general, so we don’t have to take the blame.
But if you want to overcome a problem that can seriously hamper your career progress, you have to make an effort to overcome this natural tendency to blame others rather than yourself. If you see a continuing pattern of bad boss problems, take some time to reflect on whether the problem might be you. Even when you first think you have a bad boss, particularly if you are the only one with this complaint, take a close look at yourself. Otherwise, you might be unlikely to recognize that you are the main source of the problem.
Given the pattern of repeated problems and bosses with similar complaints about the quality of your work, look more closely at yourself and at what your bosses have been telling you that you are doing wrong. Rather than focusing on your objections to the way your bosses have given you this information and feeling insulted and unfairly treated, you would do better to take a longer view as to how your own work may fall short so you can improve. If possible, ask your boss for more detailed and constructive feedback about what to do. Alternatively, think about how you might correct your work yourself, such as by paying more attention to what you are doing, reviewing what you are going to do while at home, practicing new tasks before you do them, or even making a game of routine work to make it more engaging and interesting so you can complete it more quickly and with fewer errors. Documenting what is going on might be helpful, too. If the problem really does lie with your boss, you will have that information to use in making your case about unfair or improper treatment or wrongful termination. Alternatively, this documentation can help you identify when you are doing something wrong so you can work on improving. Consider whatever you write as though it is a work improvement diary. As you identify what you are doing wrong, also include your efforts to improve and chart your progress. In short, don’t just chalk up your work problems to having a bad boss, especially when the problems keep occurring in different settings and different types of jobs. The real problem may not be the bad boss—it might be you! If so, work on fixing yourself rather than trying to come up with ways to deal with a bad boss who isn’t really that bad.
• If you have a pattern of problems on the job, consider the source of the problem. It may not be the bad boss—it may be you!
• It’s easy to cast blame on someone else, but it’s much harder to accept blame when the problem lies with you.
• It can be easier to accept blame for doing something wrong if you think of it as taking on responsibility.
• Is the problem you, your boss, or both? To fix the problem, you’ve got to understand it first.
Note: This post is inspired by a survival guide – how to work with a bad boss.