Should you work for a bad boss?

Originally published at LinkedIn

In his article Should You Ever Work For A Bad Boss? Jack Welch suggest that one should choose the good company over the bad boss. But how can be there a bad boss in a good company? Bosses have a great of impact on the company – on hiring, retention, and overall on the performance of the employees. Keeping a bad boss for sure would cause of lot of damage. Welch’s argument is that the bad boss will eventually quit. My questions is whether this is actually a good company?

Sure, hiring mistakes occur, sometimes people change and a good employee may turn to be a bad boss. Making a mistake doesn’t make the company bad – the important part is how the company deals with the bad boss. You should try to resolve the issues with your boss and even talk to the boss of your boss (or to the HR manager). But if issues are not being resolved, behavior not corrected, bad boss is not being removed, and assuming that most of the employees have issues with this particular manager, than I would not label the company as good. Who keeps the job and who gets a promotion tells a lot about the company culture. Eventually good people will quit because of the bad boss, and the people left are either those that can’t find better job or who are comfortable with the boss, e.g. fit the culture. At the time a new boss comes, a bad culture is already formed. The company may not fail in the market, it still may be a successful company, but not because of the managers – it will be successful despite of the managers. One thing is sure – it won’t realize it’s full potential. And while working at a successful company for several years may look good at your CV, what matters is the actual experience, and you won’t get much development opportunities while working with a bad boss. The idea of the good CV is an obsolete one – the CV is just not a good predictor of actual performance.

And what happens with the good boss in the bad company? He may turn the company around – that’s something managers some times do. Or he can switch the company. What good bosses do however is building relationships. He for sure will know how good you are and what is your potential, and he will recruit you if you are the kind of person he needs in his new team. Even if this doesn’t happen, he will allow you to grow, and it will be easy to find a good job afterwards – even with a bad company in your CV, the actual skills and experience you will gain have much higher value.

Forget about the CV. It’s an old concept. Staying at a job because of the CV is the wrong reason. The only way you can be great at your job is to love what you do. And this includes the people you work with. Life is just too short for working for the wrong boss. As Marissa Mayer puts it “Work for someone who believes in you, because when they believe in you, they’ll invest in you”

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