Having a horrible boss can be as detrimental as having a horrible job.  The kind of boss you have can cause you to barely survive or can actually cause you to thrive! But how can that happen?  Here is the leadership freak himself to give us some insight.

Originally posed on September 26, 2014 byDan Rockwell

If you don’t have a bad boss now, you’ll have one soon.


  1. Don’t listen.
  2. Use power for personal advantage.
  3. Always know.

Is that the type of person you want to fight with?

7 ways to thrive with a bad boss:


Kissing frogs only works in fairy tales. If they’re truly a bad boss they resent your efforts to transform them. Don’t expect them to change and stop trying to change them.


Don’t do anything more until you accept who they are.

If you really have a bad boss, don’t try to make them a good boss.


Be grateful for opportunities to develop:

  1. Patience
  2. Persistence.
  3. Endurance.
  4. Kindness.
  5. Forgiveness.
  6. Calmness.
  7. Creativity.
  8. Flexibility.
  9. Generosity.
  10. Humility.


The personal qualities and behaviors that enable you to thrive under a bad boss take you far in life and leadership.

Ask yourself, “How can I become who I want to be right now?”


Find a way to get on their team unless they’re unethical, immoral, or criminal. Adopt their priorities, preferred methods of communication, and values.

Make what’s important to others important to you.

#6. BRAG:

Every time you feel like complaining, brag. Build a positive presence by bragging about others. Talk about the accomplishments of your team and colleagues.


Connect with someone – outside your organization – who succeeded with a bad boss. Don’t gossip about your boss to your colleagues.


Turn away from frustration and toward the future. Frustration is a great motivator as long as you don’t get frustrated with being frustrated.

Frustration with the past ruins the present.

Release bitterness and open your heart to approaches that focus on your behaviors not theirs.

Every excuse you make for negative attitudes and poor performance undermines your future.

What suggestions do you have for thriving under a bad boss?

Read more suggestions on the Leadership Coffee Shop.