You can’t choose who your boss will be, well, that’s usually the case for many of us. And when you’re unlucky, you can end up with a difficult boss that makes every day heading into work more painful than it should be. Most of us at one time or another have had the experience of working under a tyrant who somehow manages to climb the corporate ladder without a healthy dose of people skills or empathy. For anyone stuck working for a bad boss there’s always a large supply of sympathy going round. If you haven’t had a bad boss so far in your career then, you should consider yourself lucky and buying a lottery ticket may be a good idea. You are that lucky.
On a serious note, it’s frustrating, it’s nerve-wracking, and it can take everything in you to not just up and leave when working with a difficult boss. And that’s because leaving is the easy way out and not everyone has the resources to do so. So, in a scenario where you’re stuck with a difficult boss, what’s the best route to take? Read on for a few ways to navigate working with a difficult boss.
1. Be as professional as possible
It can be really demotivating to deal with a boss who seems to be failing at being a boss but the best move is to consistently be as professional as possible. If your boss’s leadership takes you down instead of uplifts you, then you have to work with them and not against them. Despite how negative they may come off, you still have to be polite and courteous at all times because your boss is still your boss—never come off as disrespectful.
2. Communicate, Communicate., Communicae
A difficult manager may not be even aware that they’re being difficult. One who seems to provide too much direction and is too much of a micromanager, without being aware of it, can sometimes make you feel like you’re being barraged with so many demands you can’t handle. The key to address this is proper communication.
Raise your concerns when needed and always be honest. If you don’t communicate properly or if you seem closed off despite having issues with what is being asked of you, this may even heighten the tension between you and your boss which is definitely something you don’t want.
3. Focus on your priorities
Focus on your tasks at hand. Your priority here is to deliver the work that is being asked of you. Although it may seem hard not to let your boss’ behaviors get to you, what matters for you right now is getting your work done so that your boss would not find you lacking in any area.
4.Try to know your boss’ motivations
Even how unreasonable your boss’ actions may seem, it’s good to try and know their motivations. You can do this by observing them and trying to know why they do what they do, in terms of managing their employees.
You may find out the reason as to why they may come off as aggressive or indifferent. It could be because they themselves are feeling extreme pressure to deliver well in their job. Trying to have an understanding of your boss’ behaviors can definitely help you in seeing things from their perspective.
As much as possible and if you can, try and empathize. All of us have a story to tell. All of us are experiencing something. And that includes your boss.
Your boss has to deal with a lot of things, including higher ups in the organization, and this may be very challenging for them. Although it’s quite arduous to try and relate with a boss who gives you negative feelings, maybe it’s worth a try to put yourself in their shoes just so you can try and make sense of the way they are toward you.
6. Be one step ahead
To avoid possible conflicts, make it a point that you are one step ahead. Anticipate your boss’ expectations so that you can be well-acquainted with their habits. Doing so can help you in knowing what is about to be asked of you or how your boss would react to certain things. This can show them you’re taking your job seriously and that you can manage to overcome challenges being thrown at you.
7.Take responsibility when necessary
A difficult boss can be a boss that may fail to provide the proper direction and feedback when necessary. If this is the case, then be ready to take responsibility in your team. Develop your leadership skills to make up for what your boss is not able to provide you. But also, be sure that you’re not coming off as someone who wants to take over. Instead, focus on having initiative and letting others follow suit in order to achieve good results is the goal.
8. Be a problem-solver
If your boss is being purposefully difficult, it’s most likely that you’re being left with a lot of problems that inevitably spill over to how you do your work. So, you need to be a problem-solver. Address the gaps that may have been caused by your boss’ management and work with your team to come up with the best solutions.
9. Know that your boss doesn’t know everything
Your boss does not know it all. A managerial title does not mean that they have an extremely expansive knowledge about everything. Once you realize this, then you can find more value to what you have to offer in the workplace. You can then provide your boss with your own opinions and insights while still remaining respectful and professional.
10. Consider your last resort
One can only take so much. So, let me ask you, can you still stay and deal with this kind of boss? If it’s already taking a toll on your wellbeing, then I suggest that the best move here is to find other career options. You may think that staying in a job no matter how challenging is a matter of endurance but if we’re talking about difficult bosses, then that’s no longer the case. Lay out your options, check in with your resources and consider your last resort. If it’s getting difficult to have any work done at all just because of your boss, then I’m telling you, it’s not worth it anymore.
You need to make a decision and you need to look after yourself. If you think that your boss won’t change anytime soon despite making the effort to address their toxic behaviors, then maybe the best move is to ask for a transfer or to leave. And in any move, you make, make sure that you’re putting your wellbeing first. No job or boss is worth more than your mental and physical health!
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