“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
That line is one of the most famous sentences in literature. It is the opening of Leo Tolstoy’s novel, Anna Karenina. It is also one of the reasons why it is so hard for organizations to manage toxic bosses. Each toxic boss is toxic in their own way.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have great bosses in my career. But I’ve also had the misfortune to have reported to toxic bosses. And they were all unique in their toxicity. Except for one aspect: In my opinion, they all suffered in varying degrees from a condition known as megalomania. That’s a term that’s mostly associated with political leaders, military figures, and show business superstars, but it’s a condition that can affect anyone who’s given even a modest amount of control over another individual.
There is a popular phrase that has been misattributed to Abraham Lincoln. “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
Even though it is apparently not a quote from Lincoln, it is at the heart of the problem of toxic bosses. And it is something that, as far as I know, has never been addressed by any management training program.
So where does that leave meeting planners when it comes to dealing with toxic bosses who are unhappy with meetings they’ve organized? Dealing with these people can be difficult, , but there are some things you can do to protect your mental and emotional health, and to make the situation more bearable.
Here are some tips:
• Set boundaries. It is important to set boundaries with your boss, even if they are toxic. This means being clear about your work hours, your workload, and your personal time. It also means being assertive and saying no to unreasonable demands.
• Document their behavior. If your boss is behaving in a toxic way, it is important to document their behavior. This includes keeping track of dates, times, and specific examples of their behavior. This documentation can be helpful if you need to report your boss to HR or if you decide to leave your job.
• Talk to someone you trust. It can be helpful to talk to a trusted friend, family member, or therapist about what you are going through. Talking about your situation can help you to process your feelings and to develop strategies for dealing with your boss.
• Consider reporting your boss to HR. If your boss’s behavior is severe or if it is creating a hostile work environment, you may want to consider reporting them to HR. HR can investigate your complaint and take steps to address the situation.
• Start looking for a new job. If your boss’s toxicity is making your work life unbearable, it may be time to start looking for a new job. There are many companies out there with good managers who will value you and treat you with respect.
• Try to understand their behavior. Toxic behavior often comes from a place of insecurity or fear. If you can try to understand why your boss behaves the way they do, it may help you to deal with them more effectively.
• Don’t take their behavior personally. It is important to remember that your boss’s behavior is not a reflection of you. It is a reflection of them. Try not to take their comments or criticisms personally.
• Focus on your work. The best way to deal with a toxic boss is to focus on your work. Do your job to the best of your ability and don’t get caught up in your boss’s drama.
• Build relationships with your colleagues. Having supportive relationships with your colleagues can help you to cope with a toxic boss. Talk to your colleagues about your experiences and support each other.
It is important to remember that you are not alone. Many people have to deal with toxic bosses at some point in their careers. If you are struggling to cope, please reach out for help. There are many resources available to you, including HR, therapists, and career counselors.
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