• Nicki

Dealing with your FrankenBoss

FrankenBoss. Loch Ness Manager. Ebe-leader Scrooge.

We've all had one at some point in our careers, and wondered how on earth we were going to get through the rest of the day without committing some type of crime worthy of CSI:Miami (the one with Horatio). Hopefully you didn't follow-through with that, but the experience probably caused you:

a) a great deal of stress

b) to find a new job

c) to be a pain in the proverbial at home, constantly whinging about said FrankenBoss

I'm trying to make light here, but the truth of the matter is that working under a toxic leader causes a huge amount of distress and angst, and can cause very serious mental health issues if not addressed appropriately.

The cost of toxic leaders is huge. Dr George Reed, expert in the Dark Side of Leadership, has estimated that a FrankenBoss can lead to a 48% decrease in work productivity and a 38% decrease in work quality.

Reed has detailed the three characteristics of Toxic Leaders:

1) An apparent lack of concern for the well–being of subordinates;

2) A personality or interpersonal technique that negatively affects organisational climate;

3) A conviction by subordinates that the leader is motivated primarily by self–interest.

So how do we detox? And how to we help our organisations to detox in the wake of a FrankBoss?

  1. Be a Tox-Detector. If you are working under a FrankenBoss, or you see one operating within your business, use your tox-detector nose and sniff out the cause of the problem.

  2. Report the problem to someone who is safe. Whether that be the CEO, the HR Rep, an anonymous helpline, another manager - it doesn't matter. What matters is that people know about the issue, and that you feel safe.

  3. Talk to someone. If your workplace has an EAP, this is the time to make use of it. Perhaps you have a mentor, or somebody you went to school with who has experienced a similar issue. Talking through our problems, and developing solutions keeps us grounded in problem-solving, and helps us to regulate our emotions.

  4. Be the leader you want your FrankenBoss to be. You know that your toxic leader is wreaking havoc on your team and colleagues. You also know how easy it is to let yourself get drawn into the futileness of trying to meet impossible standards, and become disengaged. I challenge you to do the opposite of what your body is telling you. Be the shining light that your colleagues need. Act in a way that you wish you were being treated. You know what a good leader looks like, so emulate those values in your work every day.

If your business has taken your concerns seriously, you should begin to see some positive changes coming through. Whether that be, small changes to your FrankenBoss' leadership style, or perhaps a restructure of responsibilities. Congratulate yourself for playing a part in making your workplace a psychologically safe place to be.

Sometimes though, no matter how hard you try, your FrankenBoss won't change, and for a variety of reasons, things will continue on as they are. This is the time to walk away, to go somewhere safe. Somewhere your boss is more BestieBoss than FrankenBoss. Somewhere that you feel valued, appreciated and are motivated to be the best *insert role here* that you can be. Just never forget the lessons you learned working under your FrankenBoss - and one day, when you are leading a team of your own, draw out that knowledge to help you become values-based, positive and inclusive leader with your own wonderful flair.

Have you ever worked for a FrankenBoss? Comment below!

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