10 Brilliant Tips for Dealing with a Difficult Boss
Congratulations! It’s your first day at work and you are thrilled to have been chosen among several other candidates for this prestigious job. Things get even better when your colleagues are more than happy to show you around the office block. You finally approach the boss’s chambers, and this is it! Your moment of reckoning!
As you step out of the office your entire world seems to collapse, you realize your boss has just shattered your dreams by criticizing you and walking over your ambitions. This is a classic case of dealing with a boss who is mean and quite judgmental. Now, the office begins to resemble a dreary old prison cell while your boss is the prison warden.
You now question yourself — Do I have to endure this for eternity?
Fortunately, the answer’s No! Dealing with a relentless boss can be made effortless by following a set of guidelines. The first move is to deduce the type of boss you will be working for, the section below goes in-detail on the kind of bosses you are likely to confront.
THE VARIOUS TYPES OF BOSSES YOU ARE BOUND TO ENCOUNTER
Before you find ways to tackle your boss, it’s important to decipher his personality and measure his temperament. This allows you to pinpoint the specific nature of your boss to better equip yourself and fend off any ugly attempts at taking you down.
The Narcissistic Kind
There’s nothing worse than having a self-centered, self-admiring, and self-obsessed boss constantly tell you that you are in the wrong. The narcissistic boss is the first to grab the spotlight for the achievements of his team and the last to take blame in a situation that calls for it.
Emotionally, the narcissistic boss will always feed off energy from his co-workers and will ensure you never win an argument as they prefer to keep things under their control. To achieve success in dealing with a narcissistic boss, it’s important to understand the term — narcissist.
Narcissists like to get under the skin of people by thriving on their bloated egos. They don’t miss an opportunity to embarrass and shame you to showcase their superior hold over you. In these conditions, it’s important to never provoke their narcissistic nature and get your tongue bitten in the process.
Don’t try and enable a narcissistic boss by trying to point out the truth, you will only encourage them to belittle you. Instead, focus on the crucial perspective of working in a big company to learn the ropes while you earn the trust of your peers. Sooner or later, your boss will come around to understanding your role and just how important you are to the team.
Here is a short video that demonstrates ways to deal with a narcissistic boss.
The Busy Bee
You’ve just finished a big report and are looking forward to showing it to your boss — except your boss never seems to be around or in his chamber. A boss that empowers you but is nowhere in sight when an urgent proposal requires his attention can get quite messy for the overall development of the company.
Apart from not being present, the boss spends his time doing non-constructive activities while adding his assigned work to your work pile. Overtime, it can get impossible to keep a track on his whereabouts and you are left feeling exhausted and frustrated due to the lack of support and feedback.
Dealing with this type of boss can be quite difficult as you are in no position to dictate their work agenda for them. However, if you were to pitch up an idea where it showcases the shortcomings of the company and why there is a lack of growth, it should get their attention enough to come up with a plan.
The absent boss should be notified that his presence is required in the company and that his insight is extremely valuable. It’s also a good idea to remind them that your current job is being affected due to the additional workload.
The Nosy Micromanager Type
Imagine having someone constantly breathing down heavily behind your neck while you try to get the work done —it’s not a pleasant situation to be in. The Micromanager boss will always try to throw in his input while obstructing your workspace. Overtime, this behavior can dampen your creativity and will certainly restrict you from developing your skillset any further.
Micromanager bosses tend to latch on to minor details and make a big fuss over it instead of concentrating on the bigger picture. It’s frustrating as an employee to lose their freedom of expression and give in to the demands of a stubborn and unyielding boss.
In these situations, it’s important to combat their overbearing nature by being proactive and checking in on the matter before you are approached. Since micromanager bosses are usually the hardest of the lot to please, you need to go the extra mile by being patient and taking the time to show them the full picture.
If all else fails, you could try being upfront about your situation to your boss and explain why he needs to trust you and leave you in charge. Request him politely to offer his feedback until after the project is complete and not before.
The Chaotic Soul
The fuming raging beast that awaits you at the gates of hell — that’s the feeling you get when approaching the “Chaotic” boss. While everyone often experiences a bad mood, the chaotic boss seems to be permanently affixed to this state of emotion.
The volatile nature of an angry boss can ensure the office environment is always tense and it’s impossible to get work done efficiently without constantly feeling nervous. Although apologizing often, even if it wasn’t your mistake, can seem like the solution, overtime, this leads to more outbursts due to your compliant nature.
To tackle this issue, you need to get to the root of the problem and understand why your boss is constantly in a foul mood. If he expects a specific standard of quality in his employees such as punctuality, on-time reports, and managing deadlines promptly, then this is where your area of focus needs to be. Improving on these areas can send a signal to him that you are trying your best, and this can open a warmer relationship between the two of you.
For more in-depth strategies to help you combat a difficult boss, the following section deals with 10 ways to help you achieve a calm and peaceful working environment.
10 TIPS THAT CAN BLOCK OUT THE ACTIONS OF A TENACIOUS BOSS
Tip #1: Determine the Situation You’re in Before Acting
“Don’t judge a book by its cover!”
Sometimes, we rely too much on our assumptions to draw a picture of an individual and this could lead to our downfall. If you’ve just taken up a new position in the company, it’s important to give the job sometime before you analyze the nature of your boss. It could be that your boss happened to be in a bad mood during the first week of your joining and that things could get better as time passes.
Your boss could be a perfectionist and may require things to be up to the mark, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing and could only improve your talents at a faster pace. There could be a management style that your boss adheres to and as a new trainee, it could take you sometime to adjust yourself to these requirements.
However, if things remain cold and damp for over a month or two, your boss could in fact very well be a difficult person to work with. In which case, the following tips below will guide you in these difficult situations.
Tip #2: Demonstrate Strong Qualities and Win Your Boss Over
Bosses are always looking for efficient employees to work with and this could be your chance to prove to them that you have all the necessary talents in you. Simple changes to your behavior such as showing up to the office on time, offering to handle a difficult project or staying back an extra hour to ensure the operations are streamlined can make the difference between a difficult boss and a satisfied one.
Exhibiting key skills can also prove to your boss that you can be relied upon and this allows them to feel comfortable which means lesser grueling sessions. Under the right circumstances, you could even receive a promotion and astonish your co-workers by showing them that even they can convert a raging bull into a timid mouse with the right Expertise.
Always remember that there is no substitute for hard work, but hard work alone isn’t going to win you the prized horse, it’s necessary to be strong-willed. When things still look shaky, it’s important to remain calm and move on to the next tip — Patience!
The below video showcases the right attitude needed to achieve success with your boss.
Tip #3: Practice Patience
Being patient has its own rewards in life and it’s not that much different in a professional environment. If you’ve just had a brutal session that had your boss performing a takedown maneuver on your recently envisioned project, remain calm. A calm personality showcases a mature individual that can solve any issue that life has in store for them.
By remaining composed you also dominate the situation and your boss will eventually begin to respect your levelheaded nature. As a bonus, your laid-back quality may begin to rub off on his heated personality and you may successfully defeat his aggression altogether with your passiveness.
Patience allows you to assess the situation and take the best route forward. Judging your boss and making a hasty decision can cause you to regret the decision for the rest of your professional career. Hence, it’s important to hold onto your emotions and carry a smile on your face.
Tip #4: Avoid Being Defensive
There may be several days in your career that seem like your resistance has been crushed and it’s time to take the attack to the opposition. A few angry words or an unending argument can ensure your boss sees you as a potential rival rather than a team player. This feud can carry on for months and can create an ugly atmosphere where you remain constantly frustrated and will make you think back to the times when you should have remained passive instead of defensive.
As the phrase goes — “I’m the boss and I make the rules”, there is no countering the fact that your boss will always hold more power than you. Unfortunately, even if you are right and your boss is wrong it’s necessary to remain silent and request for an opportunity to politely explain the situation without opposing the idea.
Being defensive can cost you valuable recommendation marks that could have potentially helped you in landing your next job. Avoid imposing language and stick to venting out your frustrations outside the office, your future self will thank you for enduring these difficult times.
Tip #5: Request for a Transfer
If you find yourself loving your job but are unable to cope with the stressful environment due to the presence of your boss, request a transfer. Major companies are usually accommodating for their employees to apply for a transfer to another department within the same enterprise. Provide a satisfactory reason as to why you are requesting a transfer to the HR team and discreetly move away from your current Situation.
It’s important to never blame your boss as the sole reason for moving as this could reflect poorly on your personal record. Find a way to convince your seniors that the change could bring the best out of you or that the other department is much more suitable to your working style.
This method ensures that you don’t face any awkward moments with your boss to confront his behavior and is a great way to continue working with the company you love so much. Hopefully, the situation turns into a momentous one with your new boss being far more approachable than your last.
Tip #6: Maintain a Personal Record of your Boss
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”
Life is full of uncertainties and the same applies to your position, in the long run, within the company. It’s necessary to keep track of activities and ensure that you maintain a log of all the events that occurred. Make it a point to safeguard important receipts and transcript every heated conversation that you ever had with your boss.
When the storm does arrive, these records can help prove your innocence against a mean boss accusing you of a mistake you haven’t committed in front of other senior members. If necessary, having a co-worker or your team testify to the hardships faced by you due to your boss can get him fired or transferred to another department.
This method should only be used as a last resort and if the situation has reached an escalating point. The documents should act as a protective vest that shields you from the incoming accusations of your boss and should by no means be used as a weapon to threaten your boss with.
Tip #7: Put yourself in your boss’s shoes and empathize
Your boss is as human as the rest of your team and as a fellow human, it’s your duty to understand the hardships faced by him on an emotional level. He could be going through a recent divorce or may be in a financial crunch to pay off his existing loans. The stressful phase faced by him could be the reason as to why he reacts the way he does.
Take time off your work and try to get behind the matter by directly offering to listen to his personal side of the story. By listening and offering emotional support, you open the doors to your boss accepting you as a friend rather than a co-worker and this could repair the rift between the two of you.
Remember to never try and pry open the issue if your boss isn’t comfortable sharing it with you. Respect his wishes and in time when he needs someone to share his ordeal with, guess who is his most trusted source to converse with?
Tip #8: Always remain one-step ahead
By mentally preparing yourself to be productive and hitting your deadlines way before their completion time, you give your boss no reason to find fault with you. Create schedules for any meetings that are upcoming, ensure you’ve set up ample reminders in the form of alarm clocks and sticky notes placed in strategic positions.
By acting on your own and being efficient in your work, you prove to your boss that you have the right mettle and a promotion can work in your favor. Eliminate any room for procrastination and realize that every time you postpone an important event, you invite the wrath of your boss. By weighing out the consequences, it’s an easy choice to make on which of the following path leads you to success.
Once you create the habit of being ahead of your office commitments, your boss will immediately get the point and move on to less productive employees in the company to unleash his outburstson.
Tip #9: Solve Interpersonal Issues
As a working professional, you may not necessarily see eye-to-eye with your boss on a personal level due to the difficult circumstances unleashed by him into your world. However, it’s critical to set aside your ego and take a moment to consider the fact that there could be several issues in the past that have piled up and have remained unresolved.
The situation demands that you politely approach him and have a face-to-face talk about all the outstanding clashes in the past and clear out any misunderstandings. Although this sounds like an extremely difficult thing to do, it’s the best move forward to resolving all conflicts in one long conversation. It also ensures that there is a healthy working environment between the two of you in the long distant future.
Never discuss office issues with your colleagues as this can prove costly to your career. If a jealous colleague were to spill the beans about you to the boss, you can bide farewell to any promotions that your boss may have had in store for you.
Here is an informative video regarding bosses that bully their employees and how to deal with such behavior.
Tip #10: Evacuate from the Constant Negative Space
You’ve managed to try everything in the book including the kitchen sink to close the gap between your steadfast boss and yourself. Unfortunately, there seems to be no solution appearing and things have only gone from bad to worse. In this situation, you must consider the most difficult option of them all — Offer your resignation and seek work elsewhere.
As bad as it sounds, this could be a new beginning for you and your career prospects. Take heart in knowing that you tried your best and gave it everything to iron out the issues that came your way. By leaving your company, realize that you didn’t just leave a good company, but the company lost a hardworking employee in you.
And who knows your new company could just be the perfect working environment you have always wished for with welcoming colleagues, large office space, a premium paycheck and most important of all — a friendly and productive boss.
BE A BETTER EMPLOYEE BEFORE YOU JUDGE YOUR BOSS
As a professional, it’s necessary to take a step back and start to evaluate yourself before you take the plunge and accuse your boss of being the main villain. Ask yourself questions like —
Am I reaching all the necessary goals required of me by the company?
Have I conducted myself unprofessionally during my time here?
Am I being selfish with my co-workers and if yes, how can I be friendlier?
Is there something I am unsure of which I repeatedly commit to anger my boss?
The answers to the following questions can be a better judge of the type of person you are. If the answers are all positive, then you are free to pass personal judgment on your boss. If the answers are neutral or negative, it’s time to take a good look at yourself and fix your own personal flaws first, before you contradict others.
By being a better employee, you motivate yourself and others around you to change in a constructive manner. Once you begin motivating others, your seniors and even your boss will begin to respect you for what you do and for all that you offer to the company. Rekindle the lost flame of encouragement and watch yourself grow leaps and bounds.
During the interview process, it would be a good idea to ask around and get information on the boss you will be working for. This will give you a good reason to judge the overall mentality of your boss and it will allow you to make a choice of whether you can tolerate the beast or better yet — not venture into the uncharted wilderness in the first place.
In the unfortunate event that you made it into the wasteland, you can always find yourself a way to keep yourself from being mauled by following the above guidelines and by maintaining a level-headed personality to serve as your guiding light.
Always remember that no one deserves to be mistreated for the job they perform, if all the above commandments fail, take the high road and seek out a better employer, it’s worth it in the long run.