Own your part. Change your future

Bad Boss awarding winning book

Why this book?

I’ve worked with hundreds of team members and leaders across different sectors and industries. Time and time again, I see good people in tough (and even horrible) situations. The most frequent complaint or challenge is their relationship with their boss.

For the boss, the issue is often their relationship with their boss, and never-ending deadlines, increasing expectations, team challenges and unrealistic workloads.

For the boss’s boss, their lament is about what’s not working, and again, the challenges of a tough or toxic work environment.


This book isn’t a tirade about bad leaders or just a litany of bad boss stories. Instead, it’s a book of hope and inspiration.

We desperately need good leaders. Leaders who will:

- challenge any unhelpful leadership practices
- tackle significant issues
- bring out the best in their team

We also need happy, healthy and engaged employees – being all they can be each day.

Creating an environment where employees and leaders flourish is a team effort.

Regardless of your role – be it an employee, a boss or leader, the boss’s boss or a leader of leaders – this book encourages you to play your part. It challenges you to examine your role in the dynamic and to own what you can do to make relationships work.

This is not about settling scores or getting even – it’s about moving forward productively and positively. It’s about building your awareness, creating and implementing strategies you can apply, and then reflecting on your progress.

It’s creating the workplace where you excel.

Are you ready to be your best?

Bad Boss award winning book

Your Sneak Peek 👀

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your Special      offer


buy BAD BOSS today and get your hands on a whole heap of additional value.

Value Pack

Buy one copy in any format — print or ebook — and you’ll receive:

  • Bonus Program - Courageous conversations: Your step by step guide to navigating and succeeding with tough conversations. At your own pace, you can work through the techniques and exercises I use with my clients to uplift your capability
  • Bonus Manual - Two hundred and twenty questions to help you have the conversation you need. This manual is 34 pages packed with ideas to ensure you ask the right question at the right time
  • Bonus Guide - Finding your Edge: the ultimate guide to unlocking your potential at work and in life. A 100-page guide which takes you through thought processes, reflections and activities to shift your thoughts and actions. If you want more out of life, then this guide will show you how

Here's How You Do It

  1. Buy the book in whatever format you want (print or eBook) from your preferred retailer (Amazon, Booktopia or your favourite local bookstore). Or buy a printed book directly from Michelle here.
  2. Forward your purchase receipt to [email protected]. You’ll then receive an email with your downloadable bonuses, plus details on how to access the other benefits.


What Readers Are Saying

2021 Australian Business Book Awards Winner

Best Management and HR Book - Finalist
Best Cover Design - Winner



This a book full of insight, compassion and practical suggestions for managing your career, your organisation and yourself.

Professor Michael Gilding

Pro Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Business and Law, Swinburne University of Technology


As a Leader or Leader of Leaders, there are important reminders of the privilege and responsibilities held to support and coach others reach their individual or leadership potential as well as the personal reminder that Leaders never stop needing to develop themselves, reflect and potentially change to get the best out of others. A book I am sure you will continue to pick up, review based on point-in-time situations and take ongoing tips from for years to come.

Helene Gordon

Chief People Officer, Sensis


Michelle’s book, Bad Boss, is a wonderfully astute and practical guide in helping to deal with or improve your relationship with your boss.  Along the way, you may also find some insights about yourself and what you want to achieve. I know that I did.

Jenny Macdonald

Non-Executive Director


Michelle has again delivered a ‘must-read’ for both leaders and followers of today and tomorrow.

Angela Green

Financial Services Executive


The real beauty in Bad Boss is that it gives us all the opportunity to turn the mirror on ourselves to assess and challenge ourselves as a leader.  Filled with stories, challenging questions and conversation starters, Bad Boss allows us to step in the shoes of others in our organisation to consider leadership from different perspectives. We can all relate to stories about a bad boss, but what about when we’ve been the bad boss? If you have the courage to examine your own blind spots and are driven to change, Michelle’s latest book will help you become a better leader.

Julia van Graas

Co-founder - Spiique


Through this deft collection of frameworks and insights, Michelle provides a powerful challenge to take ownership of how we relate to each other on a human level with humility and authenticity.  Her personal reflections on how she’s refocussed her own approach provides a wonderfully simple message of hope for how we can evolve our relationships in the workplace….”I built lasting friendships and connections that enabled us to do more and be more.”

Daniel Madhavan

Chief Executive Officer, Impact Investment Group


Michelle makes a compelling case to truly understand the impact an authentic leader can have and offers surprisingly practical questions to generate awareness and actionable steps for both the boss and employee to own their role in cultivating a positive employment relationship.

Deborah Greenwood-Smith

Chief Operating Officer, Equiem


Being a follower and having a boss, being a boss and the boss of bosses are all transformative stages in a potential leadership journey. Michelle’s insights will help you to create a roadmap for your transformation into exercising better leadership!

Samantha Sharp

Director of Commissioning and Performance, Western Victoria Primary Health Network


Working through this book it became clear to me that through my leadership journey I have found myself in all three situations. If I had access then to the tips and tools in this book, the change required in all instances would have been far easier to navigate. If you are prepared to invest the time and effort to reflect, seek feedback and take action then the outcomes detailed in this book are well within reach.

Robert Ford

Chief Executive Officer, Victorian Leaders


At its heart this book is about hope and bravery and a must-read for anyone who wants to own their journey in developing themselves as a great leader.

Claire Cornfield

General Manager – Operations, HESTA


In Bad Boss, Michelle provides a comprehensive toolkit to build awareness of personal success drivers, but also fashion shifts and adjustments to create cohesive, high-performing teams that multiply value creation and increase engagement.  As in her previous books, Michelle does this in an easy to follow, relatable and intuitive way, applicable to almost any relationship-driven workplace challenge.

Richard Benjamin

Group Director, Strategy, Urbis


In the corporate world, leaders often feel powerless either working for a bad boss or if you are an ineffective leader.  Michelle’s book provides an excellent framework to help navigate a pathway to positively change the situation you may be in, whether you are early in your career or a senior executive.

Lynley Corcoran

HR Executive

About the Author

Michelle is bringing back the happy to workplace culture. The author of three books, and a global keynote speaker, she’s on a mission to help leaders, teams and organisations create successful workplaces - where people thrive, and progress is accelerated.

With decades of experience working at senior leadership levels, her recent efforts inspiring leaders and teams, and her ongoing research, Michelle is uniquely positioned to weave together experience, ideas and research to provide a thoughtful and practical roadmap for progress.


Take a look inside

Having worked with hundreds of leaders and team members, this approach is tested and proven. The book has three sections; one for each of the three pivotal relationships – employee, boss and boss’s boss. While each section has four phases:

Phase 1 – ASSESS

The starting point for every position and role in an organisation is to assess what is going on, what that impact is on you, and what may be the cause.

You’ll be asked to consider: is it them, is it me or is it the environment? (You’ll likely find it’s a combination of all three).

Phase 3 - act
Phase 4 – REFLECT

Throughout the book you’ll find practical actions and ideas to progress. As well, hear from leaders and employees who share their stories of initial pain and frustration, to ultimately positive activation and acceleration!

How this will help you

Release the pressure chamber

The day-to-day working environment often feels like a pressure chamber, right? Thriving in today’s working world is knowing how, where and when to find and operate the release valve.

Personalise your progress

Challenge outdated leadership practices, and build your courage, conviction and capability so you can be all you want to be.

Advance relationships

Take the edge off your stressful work environment by applying strategies and practical techniques to turn unhelpful relationships around.

Create a healthy workplace

It takes teamwork at every level to create an environment where everyone flourishes. Know the role you need to play to transform a tough situation into a thriving workplace.

Elevate your leadership brand

Know how to stay true to your values and principles, stand your ground, while elevating your brand.

Change your future

If you dare to own your part and take action, you’ll get better outcomes and greater career progress.


Want More?

Want to find out how Michelle can help you, your team and organisation thrive? Go to her website to find out how.

Book reviews


With Bad Boss: What to do if you work for one, manage one, or are one, Michelle Gibbings demonstrates a profound understanding of the modern workplace and she has the skill to communicate her knowledge in a palatable and engaging manner.

If just one book should be compulsory reading for everyone who has a boss – or is a boss – this is it. Bad Boss: What to do if you work for one, manage one, or are one is structured around its subtitle. Regardless of which sections may seem most pertinent to the reader, each is worth reading. The questions Gibbings suggest you ask yourself, listed under the heading ‘Time Out’, are worth devoting time to answer even if there is no management problem in sight: questions such as ‘Do you avoid saying “no”?’ and ‘Are you firing on all cylinders?’

The book abounds in good advice, much of it common sense. But in the hurly-burly of business pressures, common sense sometimes flies out the window. Much of the good advice is illustrated or supported by an apposite anecdote, and I was also pleasantly surprised to be reminded of the beautiful story of Ferdinand the bull – he who wanted to smell the roses. The story is used here to emphasise the value of being yourself, and not attempting an impossible character change.

As someone who spent 30 years or so as a professional manager in a large organisation, I was particularly attracted to the section on managing a bad boss. I found being the boss of an inadequate manager among the very hardest things to deal with effectively, and I think the self-aware and disciplined approach advocated by Gibbings would genuinely have helped improve my performance. Even so, it is notable that one of Gibbings’ solution to the problem is the traditional solution – the dismissal of the under-performing manager – although only after other options have failed.

It was not until page 143 of this excellent book that I felt the first twinge of disagreement with the author. Here, Gibbings quotes Rick Reilly’s analysis of Donald Trump’s golfing behaviour to explain his leadership style. Most readers are probably aware that Trump cheats frequently when playing golf – he typically has a badly hit golf ball moved to a better position and he lies about his scores.

‘As with every aspect of his life, for Trump it’s about winning. Never admitting defeat. Never admitting he is wrong. Putting himself first and using all the tricks in the book to beat his way to the top.’ That’s his strategy. On the surface you could say it’s working... but it is not a sustainable strategy over the long term.’

Trump’s leadership style may not – and most certainly should not – be sustainable. But judging by the public support for Trump, Gibbings’ analysis warrants more unpacking if it is to convince a wider readership.

While this book is meant to be read from cover to cover, it has an excellent index and could also serve as a useful reference book. It is definitely worth having on hand to look up a few pointers next time a bad boss rears their ugly head at work.

3.5 stars.


Publishing Arts Hub


Gibbings is right when she claims Bad Boss is for anyone who is in — or who is keen to avoid — a negative workplace environment characterised by ineffective leadership.

It’s sometimes difficult to realise, but bad bosses are not bad people, and the optimistic fact is there are concrete steps you can take to improve your situation. Believe it or not, as Gibbings shares wisdom drawn from decades in corporate leadership, it takes teamwork at every level to create an environment where everyone can flourish. You stand to gain better relationships and greater career satisfaction if you take action today and dare to examine your own role in your current situation.

A global keynote speaker, Gibbings is on a mission to help leaders, teams and organisations create successful workplaces — where people thrive and progress is accelerated.

What do you do if you work for a bad boss, manage one or are one? Structured around this subtitle, each section merits reading regardless of which one may seem most pertinent to you. It’s worth devoting time to the questions Gibbings suggests you ask yourself, which are listed under the heading ‘Time Out’. Take the opportunity to answer even if there is no management problem in sight: questions such as ‘Do you avoid saying no?’ and ‘Are you firing on all cylinders?’

The book abounds in good advice, and much of it is common sense, which in the midst of business pressures, sometimes flies out the window. Much of the good advice is illustrated or supported by an apposite anecdote. It is also important to stress the value of being yourself.



Bad Boss is a title that captures the gaze and curiosity immediately as it sadly is something everyone can relate to in their working lives. Unfortunately people are often subjected to more than one bad experience with a ‘bad boss’ that can have a lasting effect on their lives, both from a personal and workplace perspective.

Michelle Gibbing has taken her vast experience of workplaces, bosses good and bad, and life in general to craft what could easily be termed a manual on how to work with, for and manage the ‘Bosses’ in your life.

The underlying fact of the matter is everyone has a boss, no matter what level of workplace or Corporation is involved. Even the CEO is answerable to a Board, which are made of a raft of personalities, skill bases and personal ambitions, exactly the same as the workplace in any one business.

But how to understand, manage and learn from the experience is vitally important as you and your team work toward developing a positive and productive workforce and from a senior management perspective, developing your Business to become one of the businesses that attract the best of the best.

As Gibbings says, most people do not set out to be bad bosses; they simply do not know how to be bosses, good or otherwise which has a detrimental effect on the bottom line, personal relationships and a resultant toxic workplace culture.

Three distinct sections form the book, What to Do if You…. Work for one: Manage one: Are one: all return to the same key points: Assess, Strategies, Act and Reflect, all simple but all areas that take being honest with what is going occurring in the workplace, how everyone is creating the situation and how, with a change of direction or better management skills, change a can and will occur.

She also clearly states there are those in the Management structure who clearly delight in behaving badly, have little or no remorse about their actions and simply use others on their pathway to the top! Skills are presented in each of the four subject areas on how to manage when your boss falls into this category.

Bass Boss is not a book about bagging the boss, but one that encourages when the situation is dire, provides a pathway to better understanding the situation, a road map to a better, considerably less toxic workplace, based on ‘feeling, thinking and acting so you are your best’ which in turn provides inspiration and leadership to encourage those around you to be the best they possibly can be by developing their full potential regardless of the position held, be it boss or employee.

For anyone facing challenging workplace issues whether they are a ‘boss’ or not, Bad Boss is a must read as it provides an excellent, refreshing viewpoint and perspective based in personal experience to help ‘take the edge off’ and improve a difficult, often toxic and stressful workplace.


Blue Wolf Reviews


Self-awareness, self-reflection, clarity, consistency, hope and above all, courage...the vital fundamentals required to avoid ‘being’ or ‘working for’ a bad boss.

Michelle Gibbings’s book ‘Bad Boss’ provides a candid, insightful and organised approach to identifying and managing the traits of the ‘great’ and the ‘notso- great’ managers and leaders of the world. We optimistically like to reason that people don’t deliberately set out to be a bad boss, but occasionally they just don’t know any better, and are often shocked when their team thinks otherwise.

So, whether it’s that your boss’s tough or toxic work environment is making your life a living hell and pushing you to compromise your integrity and ethics, and you’re seeking to strategically influence their behaviour before you cash out. Or perhaps you’re striving to better understand your impact on others and elevate your ‘unconscious’ self to your ‘conscious’ self... this book is for you!

Michelle has succeeded in breaking down the jargon and provides real-life examples on how to get match-fit with your authenticity and priorities in your work life. She offers systematic time-out and self-reflection ‘sanity’ assessments that make it easy to identify the traps so you can continue to reflect, reinvent, influence and self-guide yourself and/or boss.

Naomi Spinks

Chief of staff