5 Ways to Work with a Difficult Boss

5 ways to deal with a difficult boss

All workplaces have a boss, but not all workplaces have a good boss, this is one of the sad facts of working life.

Here are some of the signs you have a bad boss.

The boss is never wrong – He or she never admits mistakes or finds a way to shift blame to others.

The boss has favorites – He or she favors some workers over others and is not shy about showing it.

The boss doesn’t hear you out – It’s the boss’s way or the highway, nothing else.

The boss has trouble making decisions – Is he or she reluctant to make crucial decisions and delays making them? Does the boss only decide when trapped in a corner?

If you have a boss like this how do you deal with it?

1. Make Sure You’re Dealing With a “Bad Boss”

Before taking action, make sure you are really dealing with a bad boss. Determine first if it isn’t actually you that’s being too hard on him or her, or being overly sensitive, or taking things way too personally.

Once you are sure it isn’t you ask yourself why the boss would behave this way. Is the boss acting this way for a reason? Is there something in his or her life that is out of control? Is he or she dealing with some difficulties right now?

2. Identify Your Boss’ Motivation

Understanding what your boss cares or doesn’t care about will provide insight into his or her management style.

For example maybe the boss really doesn’t care about how long you have lunch; the boss cares about how it will look to the customers and other employees. Or perhaps the boss doesn’t really care about how late you submit your reports as opposed to how accurate they are.

3. Identify Triggers that Set Him or Her Off

There are things that set different people off or flip their switches. For some bosses it might be some employees coming in late. For other bosses it might be repeatedly correcting the same mistake that an employee always seems to commit. It might even have to do with a disorganized office.

Knowing what the trigger is can help you make sure it never happens. For example you can come to the office 15 minutes earlier, make sure often-repeated mistakes never happen again, and encourage your co-workers to keep a clean office.

4. Document Everything

Document all interactions with your boss so you can refer back to them. Make a paper trail of instructions, requests, criticisms or corrections. If he or she likes to give instructions verbally follow up with an email outlining the discussion, something that shows he or she approved something. This is not to put the boss on the spot, but just so you can refer to them if he or she ever contradicts himself or herself. This is also so you can have ready proof if your boss questions your output.

5. Wait it Out

It’s always good to wait things out first, especially if you are dealing with a boss crisis. Timing is everything when it comes to dealing with other people, and when stress levels are high it might not be the right time to try and resolve issues.

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