Your career doesn’t have to suffer just because you work with a toxic boss. Here’s how to overcome this challenge without jeopardising your career prospects.
The commission of inquiry into state capture has revealed a number of bombshells and abuses of power.
One such revelation was that put forward by acting GCIS head Phumla Williams, who this week gave a chilling account of the emotional trauma she had to endure at the hands of her then political principal and former Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.
The commission was told how Muthambi effectively sidelined her, stripped her of her core duties, undermined her by not making her appointment permanent after many years and underpaid her – all in a bid to “steal public money at any cost”.
The trauma she faced from Muthambi’s actions, Williams went on to say, was akin to the physical and psychological torture she was subjected to by apartheid-era law enforcement officials.
READ MORE: How to avoid joining a toxic company
“I was no longer sleeping. I had nightmares, my facial twitches were back. I had panic attacks. I saw torture going through my body again,” she testified.
In a situation like this – where your toxic boss is giving you sleepless nights – handing in your resignation letter might be your immediate reaction, but it certainly isn’t the only option available to you.
Here are a few strategies to consider:
Find out whether you can be seconded or transferred to another department
If you love the company you work for, but your only gripe is your line manager, then do some research and make enquiries with your HR department around vacant positions you could potentially fill with a different line manager.
Toxic bosses have a sneaky way of blaming their shortcomings or blunders on their subordinates, so it’s important that you document every interaction you have with them to cover your back.
READ MORE: 4 signs that your boss is threatened by you
Don’t give your boss ammunition to use against you as justification for their poor behaviour by making sure that you reach all your deadlines, take notes of what you need to execute and ask clarifying questions to ascertain that you’re both on the same page.
Give your boss feedback
Before you escalate the matter to your HR department, try to set up a one-on-one meeting with your boss to give concise and unemotional feedback on specific incidents you want to address. Rationally outline everything to your boss, but be firm in your delivery and make it clear that such behaviour is unacceptable. As a golden rule, never confront your boss when you’re emotional.
Consult with your HR manager or ethics committee
Keep a record of all the abusive incidents that have taken place and take any correspondence that you have in writing to your HR manager or ethics committee, if such a committee exists.
Resigning should be a last resort after all options have been explored and if the situation doesn’t get any better.