Horrible bosses are not just characters in movies and TV shows. Unfortunately, you might have to endure a few of them yourself throughout your working life.
Instead of remaining complacent and trying to endure your superior’s bad behaviour, here are a few tips on how to productively handle your difficult boss!
Stay one step ahead
Before you confront your boss, assess the situation. Ask yourself whether you have some level of responsibility for the damaged relationship with your boss, or whether other colleagues are in a similar situation and are also without fault.
If you are slightly to blame, own up to your actions and address them. But if you’re not, you might need to do some detective work. Understand what your boss cares about the most in a working environment, and what tends to trigger his or her meltdowns. This will give you more insight into their management style, and how to act around them.
Bonus tip: Take note of any negative incident that develops between you and your boss. This will serve as back-up evidence in case you need to bring up any issues later on.
Keep working hard
Don’t try to ‘even the score’ by slacking on your own work. Continue doing your job to the best of your abilities, and don’t let your boss’ constant criticism stop you. Stay on good terms with the rest of your colleagues, and try to be even more diligent than usual in your work.
Going the extra mile by, for example, anticipating requests before they come to you, might be enough to make your boss realise he or she is being too harsh on you.
Avoid open conflict
Adding fuel to the fire will only make your work life more unbearable. When your boss picks on you, no matter how relentless he or she is, give yourself time to calm down before responding.
Increasing the tension there already is can eventually compromise your professional reputation. Imagine if your future prospective employer contacts your previous boss for a reference, and is met with a very negative response. Not the most comfortable situation to face, is it? In case you can’t avoid this kind of situation, you can have a look at these 5 tips on handling uncomfortable conversations in the workplace.
Bonus tip: Open up to a trusted friend or family member about what you’re going through. Just make sure it’s not a colleague, or someone your boss might know. Again – don’t add fuel to the fire!
Brainstorm solutions and communicate them effectively
Study the conflict between you and your boss, and draft up a set of practical solutions together with ways of executing them. If there is anything that you can solve yourself, assess the resulting positive impact.
Talk it out without being aggressive, and be open to listen and learn from your confrontation. Think things through before you speak, and again take notes of everything said.
The important thing is that you stay focused on results. Rather than attacking your boss’ personality, treat the behaviour as an obstacle to you being able to achieve results.
Talk to other superiors
If there is no change for the better, despite your efforts, bring up the matter with another manager or supervisor. Involving a third party, who is at an equal level to your boss and has more influence than you on the company, can bring a solution into fruition much quicker.
You might also want to consider looking for other opportunities within your own company or department, where you wouldn’t need to work with your current boss. Leaving your job because of your superior should truly be the last resort.
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