How To Deal With A Difficult Boss

In an ideal world, we would all have fantastic managers—bosses who helped us succeed, who made us feel valued, and who were just all-around great people. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

If you’ve got a lousy boss right now you have my sympathy. Truly. It can really siphon the enjoyment from what might otherwise be a rewarding role, leave you feeling undervalued, and wondering whether you should begin searching for something new.

Dealing with a relentless boss can be made effortless by following a set of guidelines.

1.  Make Sure You’re Dealing With a “Bad Boss”.

Before trying to fix your bad boss, make sure you really are dealing with one. Is there a reason for her behaviour, or are you being too hard on him or her? Observe your boss for a few days and try to notice how many things she does well versus poorly. When she is doing something “bad,” try to imagine the most forgiving reason why it could have occurred. Is it truly her fault, or could it be something out of her control?

2.  Be empathetic.

While this step may feel difficult, try to be the bigger person and reflect on what your boss might be going through. Is she dealing with a difficult manager or under extreme stress? Perhaps there’s something going on in her personal life that is affecting how she handles things at work. Practising empathy can help you understand their perspective and perhaps even realize that their behaviour towards you isn’t personal.

3.  Identify Your Boss’ Motivation

Understanding why your boss does or cares about certain things can give you insight into his or her management style. Try to figure out your boss’ motivation. Maybe it’s not that he really cares about how long your lunch break takes; he actually cares about how it looks to other employees and their superiors.

4.  Support their success

While it may sound counter-intuitive to support a bad boss in becoming more successful, there is absolutely nothing to be gained by making him look bad, going to war or facilitating his (or her) failure. If he is as bad as you think, he will likely do a pretty good job of that all by himself. Exposing his incompetence will only compound your own misery and may even damage your reputation.

5.  Workaround their weaknesses.

One way is to help your boss focus on his natural strengths. Another is to proactively work around his weaknesses. If you know you have a boss who’s disorganized, then help him to be on top of things rather than whining about his lack of organizational skills. Making 6.yourself indispensable and someone your boss can rely on to help him do his job is a valuable asset. By doing what you can to help your boss succeed, you lay a solid foundation for greater success yourself.

6.  Don’t Let it Affect Your Work

No matter how bad your boss’ behaviour, avoid letting it affect your work. You want to stay on good terms with other leaders in the company and keep your job.

7.  Take responsibility.

Is your boss bringing everyone else on the team down, or is she mainly focused on you? If you notice that you’re one of the only people that have a negative relationship with your boss, take a step back and ask yourself how it got that way. Step up and rectify the situation right away. If it isn’t the case, go ahead and vent…just don’t do it inside of the office.

8.  Act as the Leader

When dealing with an incompetent boss, sometimes it’s best to make some leadership decisions on your own. If you know your area well enough, there is no reason to not go ahead creating and pursuing a direction you know will achieve good results for your company. People who do this are naturally followed by their peers as an informal leader. 

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