The employee’s guide to dealing with a difficult boss
The relationship you have with your employer or manager plays an important role in ensuring job satisfaction.
. Unfortunately, not all managers are the way we’d like them to be. The truth is that in many situations they don’t match the image of the ideal leader in the slightest.
You have to understand that employers are human as well. They’re prone to making mistakes and they’re not always going to meet your expectations. But the real problems arise when their behavior goes to such extremes that they make life miserable for their employees. Dealing with a difficult boss can make you feel stressed all the time, underappreciated, frustrated, demotivated and ultimately, it can make you hate your job and dread every minute you have to spend at work.
So, what’s there to be done if you find yourself in such a situation? Should you suffer in silence or should you take action and try to make things work? We believe you can learn to cope with a difficult boss and make life easier for yourself. Here are our recommendations.
Decide if it’s worth making an effort
The first thing we recommend is to avoid making any rash decisions. Living in a state of constant stress and fear can seriously impact your ability to think objectively and act rationally, so you should take some time to reflect on your situation. It’s important to remember that even if you’re in a difficult position, you still have options, and it’s up to you to decide which option to choose.
Sometimes, the best thing to do is leave everything behind and change the work environment. It’s not being a coward or lacking professionalism; it’s taking care of your mental health and wellbeing. If you genuinely believe there’s no way you can continue working in your current workplace, there’s no point in continuing. But if you want to keep your job and you decide it’s worth giving it a shot, you have to learn some strategies and techniques that will help you deal with your difficult boss, and that will imply some effort and a lot of patience from your side.
Focus on your job
One of the things that can prove helpful is to remind yourself constantly why you’re there in the first place – to do your job. You wouldn’t go through all the trouble if you wouldn’t love what you do (or if you didn’t have bills to pay). So instead of focusing on your boss’ upsetting behavior, focus on your daily tasks and try to do your job as best as possible.
If you’re doing everything right, your boss will have less reasons to pick on you, and it will be easier to avoid unpleasant situations. And who knows, maybe you’ll get promoted to another department and get rid of your annoying boss for good.
Don’t be a victim
Sometimes, managers and people in leadership positions act unprofessional because they have a lot of power and they want everyone else to know they can do whatever they want. However, the truth is their powers are limited and even if they act like they’re the king of the castle, sometimes they’re merely employees with just a few more responsibilities and some subordinates they want to impress.
This means they have no real power over you, so you shouldn’t fall in the victim trap. Don’t be a sitting target. You have a voice, you can speak up, call them out when they cross the line and defend yourself. But remember to maintain your calm and do everything in a civilized and ethical manner.
Keep a safe distance
You know when two people argue and one of them simply stops replying and leaves the other one confused and at a loss for words? You can use a similar tactic to make your boss leave you alone. If your boss picks on you for no good reason, he might just be a drama queen that loves the attention. But if he’s getting no reaction from you and can’t pull you in his drama, he might get tired of it eventually and he’ll let you be.
So, this is what we suggest: be polite, set clear boundaries, don’t engage in any conversations that don’t fall in the category of professional interactions and detach yourself emotionally from workplace relationships.
Keep it professional
We know, it can be extremely difficult to maintain your composure and keep yourself from lashing out when you have to put up with a boss that is absurd and whose only purpose in life is to make everyone around them feel miserable. But you have to be the better person and adopt a professional attitude in all circumstances. No matter what happens, you have to keep it professional, so you don’t have anything to regret or reproach yourself later.
Keep detailed records
In certain unfortunate situations, things can get so out of hand that your boss’ behavior and actions can cause you serious psychological or physical damages. If this happens, you might be entitled to compensation for the damages and loss you’ve suffered. Resources like Compensation Calculator UK can provide more information and guidance in this respect.
You should never let serious incidents like these go unnoticed and unreported. So, the wisest thing to do is keep detailed records of all the events that affected you in one way or another, and make sure you don’t leave out any relevant information. This can prove very helpful if you decide to take legal action against your boss at some point.
Don’t let it jeopardize your career
Your boss might be toxic, your job might feel like a burden at the moment, but keep in mind one thing: you are not going to be stuck in this forever and you have a career to focus on. These things will pass eventually, so don’t let daily obstacles and difficult bosses stop you from achieving your professional goals and reaching your full potential.
Keep up with the top stories from Reader’s Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.