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How to Find Zen With Your Horrible Boss

January 10, 2013, 12:00 AM

"Third prize is you're fired," snarls Alec Baldwin's character Blake in the film version of Glengarry Glen Ross. Blake is excoriating a group of real estate agents for their flat sales numbers. In response to this verbal abuse, the agents proceed to lie, cheat and steal in order to peddle shoddy real estate to uninterested buyers. 

Not surprisingly, Blake's scare tactics don't result in good outcomes. While this is a fictional scenario, it's also one that is all too familiar in today's organizational culture. According to the news site OnlineMBA, 44 percent of Americans report they have been "verbally or even physically abused by a superior at some point in their careers."

Horrible bosses are not only harming employees, they are costing U.S. companies an estimated $360 billion through "stress-related health expenses, productivity losses and the costs associated with high employee turnover rates."

The cost of bad bosses is broken down in this new video, courtesy of OnlineMBA:

So that was rather depressing. Is there anything we can do about horrible bosses?

There is a solution, says Kadam Morten, a Buddhist teacher and disciple of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, author of Modern Buddhism. We can change the way we think about horrible bosses. 

Here's what Morten means: Do bosses have special powers as stress-inducers? In other words, if your boss walks by a complete stranger does he induce terror? Unless your boss is evil incarnate the answer is no. According to Morten, the boss-as-stress-inducer is your creation. Your stress comes from the way you are perceiving your boss. In other words, your boss is like a mirror, reflecting back at you "your own uncontrolled states of mind," Morten says. 

In the video below, Morten explains why this is a good thing. "This is empowering because it means there is something you can do about it."

Watch here:

Image courtesy of Shutterstock


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