18 February 2013

Uganda: Dealing With an Intolerable Boss

Rinnah was excited to finally have the promotion she had dreamt about when she started working in a marketing company in town last year.

Her hard work had paid off at last. She was the earliest in the office, left late and even took on extra work whenever she could. She was always given as a reference for hardwork for the others during the company general meetings.

The smile she carried on her face was that of a winner but unfortunately, the overly anticipated promotion did not turn out well because of her new supervisor.


"He is from hell," a colleague she confided in said. First, he wanted to know every move she made. He was micromanaging her and making her life his personal business.

She could not take a break, and when she did and talked to colleagues or checked her private email, he accused her of spending most of the office hours on gossip and Facebook. He threatened to report her to their boss.

This was a big dilemma for Rinnah, because as much as she loved her job, she could not stand her supervisor. She had heard rumours about him but she had dismissed them as hearsay. When she attempted to confront him, he shut her down.

"Maybe, if you spent less time on Facebook, and more time doing your job, you could have the authority to question how I do my job," he retorted.


Dealing with an unfair boss can be stressful which in turn leads to depression, poor work performance, bad relations with colleagues, family and friends and ability to make the right decisions.

According to Morrison Rwakakamba an HR consultant, bad bosses get away with inappropriate behaviour because there is no evidence. He says that the spoken word can always be denied, and if it comes down to your word against your bad boss's word, your boss wins.

"But when you have documentation that clearly indicates your boss's intentions, then he can be held accountable," he adds.

Rwakakamba, however, says there are two approaches an employee faced with such a situation can use:


One can come forward and tell their supervisor how they feel about the situation, but the subordinate should be doing a good job. If your predicament does not change, document it and share it with the supervisor's boss, Rwakakamba advises.

Good performance:

Amos Zikusooka, a career educator, notes that an employee under such circumstances needs to keep doing their job to their best despite the challenges.

"If the situation escalates, one might need to involve the top bosses so that they can intervene in the matter," he says.

He, however points out that employees in such situations even fear to report to higher authorities because they think their boss will be favoured.

Zikusooka says an organistaion that values its workforce is supposed to have a protection policy for members faced with such situations. He also advises that amid the harassment, one should keep doing their job according to its description and other people watching will testify to your efficiency.

Start job seeking:

On the other hand, Marion Musiime, a human resource practitioner, says one needs to update their resume and begin a job search.

Share your burden

"Talk with friends and family outside of work without overburdening them by repeating the same issues day after day if you are not doing anything to improve your situation," she advises.

"Maintain a healthy lifestyle to avoid developing a stress related illness."

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