How to Thrive Under a Critical Leader

We have all been there. We report to a person who is a workplace bully. No matter how hard you try, at the end of the day, you feel like a failure. Meetings are depressing, work is overwhelming and, despite your best effort, you just can’t seem to please that one person who decides about your paycheque or career. How can you thrive in such a situation despite all that is going on around you?

1. Surround yourself with positive people

Every workplace has good people and bad apples. You need multiple positive people to balance off one bad apple. Find those who will become your cheerleaders will help fuel your fire and keep you excited. You might as well survive that one negative Nelly (or Neil).

2. Keep in mind that some people come into your life as a blessing and some as a lesson

What can you learn from your current situation? Do you need to toughen up? Do you need more patience? Do you need to stand up for yourself? Or do you need to make faster decisions? How can this person help you move forward and upward with your life? What should be your next step?

3. Propose a better plan

There is always a way. You can sit down with your leader or someone else to discuss what’s going on, try to resolve the issue and dissolve the conflict. Come up with a plan of action that changes the status quo. Don’t let things get off the rails, take action and change the circumstances.

4. Be the change

How can you set a different example? Can you be a light in the darkness? Can you bring smile and positivity into your current environment? Can you set an example of how things can be done differently? Your behaviour might inspire others to act differently.

5. Walk away

There are places and situations when you need to have enough courage and self-respect to just walk away. If you have done your best, acted differently, talked, proposed a better plan, and nothing changed, it might be time to move on. None of us can change the other person. If they choose to remain the same and the company is fine with it, your best bet might be to say “enough” to an emotional manipulator and bring your skills where they will be appreciated. It’s a mission impossible to thrive in a toxic environment. Your value is far too great to be wasted.

If you suffered under a critical leader, learn from it and never do this to others under your lead. I encourage you to be a leader who inspires, grows and supports others, helping them to reach their full potential. Choose to blossom into a beautiful rose in spite of those painful thorns.



Blogger: Silvia Pencak, founder & CEO of Powerful Life Consulting, a boutique consulting company located in Ontario, Canada.

Silvia is a consultant, speaker and an award-winning blogger. Her specialty is in change leadership and strategic team development. With hands-on experience on over 500 mission critical initiatives across four continents, Silvia helps business leaders establish proven, actionable strategies to keep essential projects on time, on budget, and on the mark with client expectations. Connect with Silvia at or on Twitter (@SilviaPencak).

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