4 Tips on Dealing with a Difficult Boss

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Difficult Boss
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In an ideal world, we’d all have great bosses—bosses who encourage our success, make us feel valued, and are simply wonderful people. Having a good boss means having a good mentor and ally on your career path. They can teach you valuable lessons that will benefit you for the rest of your professional life.

But what if your boss isn’t one bit like the above description. Unfortunately, that’s far more common, and it can really take all the enjoyment out of a job that would otherwise be very rewarding. A bad boss can make you so miserable that you’d start thinking about looking for something new and quitting.

Maybe your boss isn’t particularly good at managing their anger or managing anything for that matter. Maybe they’re an obnoxious micromanager. Or maybe they’re nice, but they’re simply incompetent. Still, if you’re reading this article, it means that you don’t want to quit just yet. Instead, you want to try finding strategies to make the best out of the situation.

So, without further ado, here are our tips on dealing with a difficult boss.

Figure Out Their Motivations

Understanding why your boss behaves like that will put you in a better position to turn the situation in your favour. Make an effort to put yourself in their shoes and see the world and your workplace through their eyes. Try to answer the following questions:

  • What do they care most about?
  • What makes them anxious?
  • Does it seem like they are trying to reduce certain behaviors in their employees and encourage others?
  • What behaviors are those?
  • What do you think motivates their preferences?
  • What about their own behavior? What do they seem to be trying to reduce or maximize? Why?
  • How important is it for them to impress other people?
  • What is their definition of success?
  • What is their definition of failure?

When you understand what motivates your boss, you can speak their language and frame your opinions and requests in such a way that they align with your boss’s basic values, worries, and goals.

Keep in mind that your boss may not know that they are a bad boss. For example, they might think that their hands-off approach gives their employees the space and freedom they need to feel comfortable at work. They don’t realize that you and your coworkers are struggling with the lack of feedback and direction. They think they’re empowering you.

On the other extreme, a boss that micromanages might do it because they’re anxious and don’t realize the harm they’re doing. They could feel overwhelmed and believe this is the best way to make sure everything goes according to plan.

Of course, there are bosses that are simply bullies, and they’re perfectly aware of how their behavior affects the staff, but they either don’t care, or they might even enjoy the sense of power they get from it. There are ways to work around that as well, and you’ll want to start by learning more about your right from reliable sources like CompensationCalculatorUk.co.uk.

Help Them Succeed by Working around Their Shortcomings

While it may seem counterintuitive to help a bad boss become more successful, you’ll have more to gain from it than if you tried to make them look bad. You’re probably not the only one that notices their shortcoming. Emphasizing these shortcomings will only make them more hostile towards you, and it might also damage your reputation.

Instead, you’ll want to encourage their natural strengths and work around their weaknesses. 

Let’s say that you have a boss who is great in meetings with clients and is always bringing in new business, but they’re extremely disorganized. This means there are a few things you can learn from them regarding soft skills while you’re helping them keep track of their meetings and important documents. This is a much more advantageous approach than simply complaining about their lack of organizational skills.

You learn how to be more persuasive, which can help you in your career. They have an easier time keeping up with their responsibilities, and you’ll also get on their good side because you’re helping them and you’ve shown that you appreciate their qualities. By helping your boss succeed, you’re actually helping yourself succeed.

It’s Always Best to Take the High Road

Allowing your boss’s bad behaviour to be an excuse for your own is never a good idea. It often happens that when people have to work with bad bosses, they start using this as an excuse to slack off. This might feel good in the moment, but you have to think about the long-term consequences. You’re still getting your paycheck, but you’re losing the chance to improve your professional skills or learn new ones that would give you access to better jobs and higher income.

If your boss also has bosses, they might actually be impressed with your ability to handle their behaviour professionally, leading to further opportunities.

We know it’s tempting to give in to the resentment you feel. You just want to mentally check out – go to work, go through the motions, get your money, and that’s it. But this will compromise your image in front of other managers and coworkers, as well as hurt you in terms of career development.

Speak Up

Our previous tips are by no means intended to encourage you to suffer in silence – quite the opposite. As mentioned before, many people just assume that their bosses know they’re bad and exactly what makes them bad. But in reality, that’s rarely the case.

Voicing your concerns gives your boss the chance to respond and change for the better. By approaching them with respect and a real desire to improve the situation, you may create new opportunities for collaboration, trust, and better outcomes for everyone involved.

And even if it changes nothing, at least you gave them a chance, and you gave yourself the opportunity to speak up, which feels a lot better than holding everything in and trying to get by. In such a situation, it’s important to accept the possibility that quitting may be the best option.

There are a few sure signs that it’s time to move on to something better:

  • You dread waking up because you know it means you need to go to work;
  • You keep counting the day until it’s weekend again and you can finally breathe;
  • Stress from work is starting to affect other areas of your life;
  • You spend more time thinking about how much you hate your boss than on the actual work;
  • Your self-esteem has plummeted.

If you find yourself in these signs and you’ve tried to find ways to get along with your boss, but without success, it’s time to let go and move on.

Remember that whatever your reasons for quitting, you must do so in a professional and dignified manner. While it may be tempting to leave in a blaze of rage and profanity, burning bridges like that does not benefit you.

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Chris Morgan
Chris Morgan is a seasoned writer with a passion for storytelling and creating engaging content. With a background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, Chris weaves words that captivate and inform readers. His diverse writing experience spans across various topics, showcasing his versatility and dedication to delivering high-quality articles. Whether delving into the realms of entertainment, technology, or lifestyle, Chris's writing style reflects his commitment to crafting compelling narratives that resonate with audiences.