How to deal with an anti-motivational boss

You’re in a good mood when you show up in the morning.  Not a lot of traffic.  Nobody spilled coffee on you.  There are no new catastrophes to deal with.  It has all the makings of a good day.

Until, of course, your boss walks in and sucks the life and happiness out of everyone around him (her).

If you have ever had the misfortune of working with this particular type of boss from Hell – the anti-motivational boss who just isn’t happy until the people around him are terrified – you are very fortunate indeed.  If, however, you ever find yourself working with one, here is one strategy that’s worth a try:

1.  Stay Happy

This one is tough, but if you can manage to actually increase your level of cheerfulness, two cool things will happen.  The first is that you will create a very visible contrast that everyone will notice.  This will serve you well when it comes time to look for work in a more enjoyable environment.  The second thing that will happen is that your happy demeanour will drive your boss-from-Hell crazy.  You will have the satisfaction of knowing that you aren’t letting him win.

2.  Clarify

One of the things that anti-motivational bosses like to do is nit-pick.  They like to make a Big Deal over things that really aren’t that important, because it is an opportunity to exert their great and awesome power.  Maybe you stapled pages that they felt should be paper-clipped.  Maybe you wrote the word ’empathy,’ and they felt that ‘sympathy’ was more appropriate.

Rather than just cower (which they are secretly hoping you will do), give him your most eager-to-please look and say something like, “Ah, paper-clips!  Just so I make sure I’m getting it right, is this something I should always do from now on?  When are staples appropriate?”  After he answers you, make a big point to thank him for his help.

Whenever you ask a question, you are taking control of a conversation.  This will take away his opportunity to go on a rant.  Also, after a few times of doing this, he’ll subconsciously start to avoid confronting you about these stupid little things.

3.  Start Looking

Anti-motivational bosses can end up having a serious effect on your well-being and life is too short to have to deal with them.  Assuming that you are genuinely working hard, and that your boss isn’t actually just someone who is trying to compensate for your laziness, you really should get away as fast as you can.

Good luck!


“Use your Boss from Hell as a model of what NOT to do when it’s your turn to be the boss”

Winning With The Boss From Hell

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