A Difficult Boss
Difficult bosses come in all shapes and sizes. They may be overbearing, inconsistent, demanding, incompetent, neglectful, and the list of deficiencies continues. Regardless of the situation, along with not following through on employee engagement survey results, a bad boss is the number one way to decrease employee engagement. Here are some tips on how to handle a difficult boss.
When you find yourself with a difficult boss, simply getting frustrated and complaining to friends won’t make the situation any better. In fact, it might make it worse. It is time for you to take charge, deal with the challenge in a positive way, and find means to continue to succeed and grow in your career.
Tips for Managing a Difficult Boss
- Own the Problem
First you need to exert some control over the relationship. You may not be able to change their behavior, but you can adjust your own. You can influence both the relationship and your future by performing at your very best – without fail.
Don’t give your boss anything to criticize and try to establish more open communication. Give them some gentle coaching and be straightforward about what you need to succeed. And don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. Bullies most often back off when their behavior is called out and their abuse can be slowly transformed into respect.
- Be Realistic
Understand that not all the problems you encounter in your job are due to problems with your boss. Be realistic in your expectations; every boss has strengths and limitations. Respect what they do right and be forgiving of their shortcomings. If needed, you can search for guidance elsewhere in your network – not as a crutch, but as a mentor and not to play politics at work, but to gain support for the learning you may not receive from your boss.
- Be Understanding
You can’t possibly be privy to the whole picture. Who knows what pressures your boss is under at work or at home? Take the high road and give your boss the benefit of the doubt.
They may not even realize the negative impact of their behavior. Just as you would with a wayward child, try to find the positives and recognize them aloud. Feeling appreciated is often the best way to encourage better behavior.
- Grow Despite the Challenge
Even in the most challenging situations, there can be valuable lessons learned. As an ambitious professional, you should be alert for ways to gain self-knowledge and manage your emotions appropriately. Be an astute observer of your boss’ behavior – positive and negative. Learn from both the good and bad experiences.
The Bottom Line
Most of us will at some time during our professional lives be forced to deal with a difficult boss. It is the way we choose to handle the situation that can help or hinder our future. Unless the situation is absolutely untenable, use it as an opportunity for learning more about yourself and others. To learn more about how to handle a difficult boss, download Is Your Boss Bad? 2 in 5 Managers Seem to Be