HOW TO DEAL WITH A DIFFICULT BOSS
Photo by Hunters Race
In an ideal world, we would all have great bosses. But, as we all know, reality just isn’t like that.
Most of us have experienced working under a difficult (or sometimes terrible) boss! It’s a frustrating situation to be in, especially when you go out of your way to accommodate all the unpredictable issues your boss throws your way.
It can be hard to navigate this type of situation. And, the person you should be going to for help is also the person causing all your problems!
Unfortunately, a lot of the time, the only thing you can do is make the best of a bad situation and carry on doing your job. If this is the case and, for whatever reason, you just need to stick it out, here are our top suggestions for how to do this:
1. Work on your communication skills
Although it’s important to express honesty in the workplace, you should also aim to be tactful and thoughtful when it comes to your choice of words and your communication style.
This is particularly important when dealing with a difficult boss. Any behavior that might come across as disrespectful will only fuel the problem and increase tension between you.
Rather than focusing on the issues, you have with your boss, try and build a better working relationship. By improving how you communicate, you may start to see the situation improve.
2. Take responsibility when necessary
When you have a difficult boss, it can be easy to just blame them. However, sometimes the problematic relationship with them can be down to issues with both of your behaviors.
Rather than shifting all of the blame onto them, reflect on your own actions, and take responsibility for your contribution. You might find that you’re playing a part in the issues.
If you find that you’re adding to the negativity, try to take the initiative and work on improving your behavior. Otherwise, you run the risk of worsening the problem, and it will never be resolved!
3. Be confident and stand up for yourself
You should always be tactful and avoid extra conflict when dealing with a difficult boss. But, it’s also important not to be a pushover. If you feel like your boss is being unfair, speak up!
Make sure you set clear boundaries and don’t be intimidated. Stand tall and be confident. Additionally, make sure you speak clearly and directly, even if it makes you nervous.
You should always voice your concerns in a calm and professional manner. Then, make sure you give them a chance to respond so you can have a constructive conversation.
4. See things through their eyes
Misunderstandings are extremely common in workplaces and can very often be resolved with face-to-face communication and empathizing with the other person.
Try to see things through your boss’s eyes. Maybe they are under a lot of pressure or have strict deadlines and targets. They might even be having problems with their own superiors.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean that you should tolerate unhealthy behaviors. But, if you’re going to make progress and improve the situation, it’s a good place to start!
5. Understand their expectations and adapt
Another way to avoid conflicts with your boss in the workplace is to understand what their expectations are and adapt to them if possible.
Start by looking for possible triggers. Are there some things that cause meltdowns? If this is the case, recognize your own contribution and be proactive in avoiding these things.
You should also understand what their preferences are, as this can improve your relationship. For example, if they respond better to emails, try and use this communication tool if possible.
6. Remain professional at all times
This one is essential! If you’re dealing with a difficult boss, it can be tempting to complain to your colleagues, get involved in a conflict, or act in another unprofessional way.
However, you should avoid this at all costs! Make sure you remain professional. Speak to your boss in a clear and direct way and keep your conversations results-orientated.
Also, don’t let these problems affect your work. Stick to your contract and make sure all work is completed to a high standard. Otherwise, you could make the problem much worse.
7. Test different strategies to see what works
Lastly, it’s important to note that all work situations will be different. It’s important to keep an open mind and test out different strategies to see what works and what doesn’t.
You should also keep your options open as much as possible. In the long-run, changes aren’t always possible and, in some cases, it might be better to start looking for a new job.
In the mean-time, try not to let your boss define your job! Focus on the positive aspects of your position. We hope that these suggestions and tips will help you improve your situation!