None of us hope to ever have a bad boss. But, all of us (in reality) can bet on having a bad boss at one point or another. Although we’d like to be told otherwise, there’s actually a silver lining to this inconvenient truth: bad bosses can teach us the most, if we want to walk away with more than they appear to offer.

If you think I’m just making the most out of the worst – think again. In life, there are ups and downs. But, it’s when things aren’t going as we’d hope that we’re that aware of our real hopes. It’s our unhappiness that sheds light on what makes us happy. It’s our lack of money that illuminates where we need money. It’s our inexperience that helps us identify where we need to grow, learn and risk. The same is true when it comes to our careers. As we venture along our own professional paths, we get to know what we like/dislike, our strengths/weaknesses, and our preferences/tolerances. That’s why professions are a process – it’s an evolving trajectory that can’t be whole if we don’t know what we don’t want.

And this is where bad bosses come in. When a boss has a habit that you hate – this is an opportunity to ask yourself…is this about me and something I need to change? OR…do other employees feel the same as I do? If it’s scenario A – good for you. Now that you know it’s your opportunity for growth and change, take advantage of it. If it’s scenario B – great. Make mental note (or keep actual notes) of what boss behavior elicits what reaction from reports. This will only aid you when you advance to the manager role yourself.

The other advantage of trying this technique is that it gives you a way and a reason to remove your emotions from the situation. Sometimes, when we have a bad boss, it’s easy to get frustrated – which can translate into tenseness between us and our boss. But, this isn’t helpful, nor is it professional. Whereas, when you focus on how you can benefit from their bad boss behavior – you might find yourself grateful for their inability to effectively manage.

Benefit from bad boss behavior – it’s your way to make a wrong scenario right.