How to deal with a difficult boss at work without losing your job

how to deal with difficult boss

Updates: 07/11/2014

We all have had bosses who may be difficult to handle with. Bosses who are unprofessional or inconsistent, or who put you in a no-win situation, backstabbing bosses. To help you find out the 18 ways on how to deal with a difficult boss at work without losing your job, here are different major types of difficult bosses and simply yet effective techniques you can apply:

How To Deal With A Difficult Boss At Work Without Losing Your Job 

I. How To Deal With Difficult Boss – Major Types Of Boss

1. The Micromanager

how to deal with difficult boss guideThose bosses who are micromanagers might obsess with perfectionist qualities. They can make you feel untruthful and creatively impeded. The thing to memorize about a micromanage is that he is probably not a bad guy. Even, he is conscientious, a bit of a perfectionist. He often worries that other people might not accomplish the tasks as his standards. So, the best manner to deal with this type of difficult boss is showing him that you are just as committed to the task as he is. Instead of waiting for his calls or emails of asking how things are happening, you had better actively send him a report to announce your performance. In case that you have questions, do not guess-call your boss to get the answer.

2. The Hand-Off Supervisor

Workers under this type of manager can work freely, yet lack of the detailed guidance. The hand-off boss will allow you to do your own best work, yet hang you when things go wrong. With this approach, you had better solicit feedback whenever possible. If possible, you can set up regular meetings in order to discuss the important tasks that matter to your current mutual goals.

3. The Workaholic

how to deal with difficult boss at workOf course, a proper strategy on work-life balance is not such as thing that this boss can get. He seems never stop working, thereby his employees are under pressure of nonstop working.

4. The Bully

The bully bosses try to intimidate everything in his path, or at least most things he perceives as weaker and smaller. With him, you will not see his screaming in his supervisor’s face, yet he might be well scream into yours as well as other employees’. For example, if you are sensitive about your shape, the bully boss might make fun of you for being overweight or for eating junk food during breaks.

To deal with this difficult boss, it is better for you to keep cool. Let his rant and rave, and calmly answer or questions him until he begins to run out of steam. Remember you should not yell back as well as react in any other way because it might damage your career and also can be considered insubordinate.

See: ways to boost communication skills quickly.

5. The Manipulator

how to deal with difficult boss program

In fact, the manipulator is often extroverted, physically attractive, and charming. However, you should not be fooled by the surface as underneath the comfortable, admirable mask, he might stab you in your back if it is necessary for his goals. The manipulator boss can use approval or disapproval to consolidate or to punish. Similarly to the bully, he is rather good at identifying your trigger points and make use of them quickly.

In case that you work for a manipulator, it is critical for you to disengage emotionally. Do not hope to be nourished by that boss, as he will not give you things you need. Just ensure that you set specific boundaries and do not back down. When he tries to persuade you to do something illegal or dangerous, avoid or turn that problem to the human resources.

If you want to know more about how to deal with a difficult boss, Emotional Vampires is the best guide you should read.

6. The Pessimist

As a boss, the pessimist may see everything in negative point of view. For instance, if someone forgets to invite him to a certain meeting, he will assume that he was deliberately left out for a certain reason. In his world, things and people seem to be a potential threat.

Hence, working under a pessimistic boss could be draining. Therefore, you should try to create as much space between that boss and yourself as possible. Once you have to communicate with him, be complete transparent. Stay out of the office politics as much as you could so that he cannot doubt your loyalty.

Learn simple techniques on how to deal with stress and how to handle office politics at workplace here.

II. How To Deal With Difficult Boss – Practical Tips 

1. Make Sure Your Boss Is A “Bad Boss”

Before trying to fix your bad boss, you should ensure that you actually are handling with one. If there is any reason for his behavior or are you being too hard on him?

In order to get conclusion, you should observe him several days and notice how many things he does well compared with poorly. As he does something “bad”, just imagine the most forgiving reason why it can have happened. Is it truly his mistake, or can it be something out of his control?

Check out: methods to think positively.

how to deal with difficult boss review

2. Recognize The Motivation Of Your Boss

It is important to understand why your boss cares or does certain things. This can help you get insight into his management style.

If you cannot figure out the rule, then figure out the motivation of your boss. Perhaps, it is not that he is actually interested in how long your lunch break takes; he actually cares about how it looks to different employees as well as their superiors.

3. Understand That You Cannot Change The Boss

how to deal with difficult boss pdfIf your boss is difficult to deal with, not just for only you but for others, then it might be impossible to change him. If this is the case, just use the chance to simply make him aware of your problems. At least, he could not say that he was never informed of your concerned.

Learn how to stop stress and depression in daily life and workplace effectively now.

4. Document Your Boss’s Behavior

Try to get along with your boss’s behavior. Yet, while doing that, you should document everything in a diary of questionable things which transpired between you and the boss, note down the dates, times, and detailed descriptions. Keep a file with supporting documents, emails, memos, and so on. You might wonder that why this matters. Well, when you are ready to take action, or the boss tries to fire you, this documented diary will be your useful evidence to present to Human Resources.

If you want to know more about how to deal with a difficult boss, Emotional Vampires is the best guide you should read.

5. Wait It Out 

If you are dealing with a conflict, just make sure you spend a moment to think before reacting. Timing is usually everything when dealing with a conflict with a boss. In some cases, it makes more sense to wait the situation out than to react it directly. If the boss has a lot of stressful problems this month, then he may not take as kindly to your issues.

6. Determine Triggers

If you cannot manage your anger at a time, then identify the triggers and be additional militant about avoiding those.  If so, you will avoid further conflicts with your boss.

7. Act As A Leader

how to deal with difficult boss downloadAs dealing with the incompetent boss, often is it better for you to make leadership decisions on your own. This tip on how to deal with difficult boss will be helpful if you are good at your area. There is no reason for you to not go straight ahead creating and following a direction that you know you will gain good results for the company. Obviously, you do not want to do things that undermine the boss; therefore, keep him in the loop.

If you want to be a good leader, then refer useful tips here.

8. Be Flexible

Some difficult bosses have a stoic work style. For instance, he might insist you work in cubicle which is adjacent to his office though it is, in fact, visually distracting and noisy. Rather than cringing at his rigidity, just communicate calmly and focus on shared goals between you and him and a creative solution.

9. Accommodate Your Boss’s Weaknesses 

If you know your boss is disorganized, rather than grousing about it, try helping him as you could. If your boss is usually late to the meetings, offer to kick off the next meeting for him. In case that your boss is slow to respond, keep working on the project while waiting to hear respond from him. Perhaps, you are giving your boss much-needed assistance to succeed, he will surely appreciate you it your help.

10. Do The Best Job As You Could

This seems so obvious, yet not simple. Continue to work hard and also be on time. If you have trouble with the boss, you obviously do not want to give them any ammunition against you. Too many times people will begin to lack off or stop working well or lose interest as they feel entitled to with a difficult boss. Yet, the advice is that you should not do it. You will never know who is listening or watching you. So, be careful and work hard.

do the best job as you could

11. Speak Up

If your boss gives you 3 projects and requires you to complete them quickly, raise your voice! Of course you need to work hard and show your ability to him. But, you should know your limits, and count the time and your energy to ask for fewer tasks. This is your right to do. The issue is just the way you talk to your boss.

12. Schedule An Appointment

Normally, you have a schedule to follow through a day and a week and a month. So make it clear, exactly for each appointment. By making appointments, you can get on the boss’s radar and be active to take control of all situations at work.

If you want to know more about how to deal with a difficult boss, Emotional Vampires is the best guide you should read.

13.  Know His Preferences know his preferences

Observe behavioral styles and preferences of your boss. Actually, this is a good way to satisfy him and stop hearing your boss’s complaint. For example, you just need to care about his gum chewing habit. If he likes peppermint favor gum and often chews it before working time, why don’t you invite him some? If he doesn’t reject, you should do it again. Pay attention to his characteristics, if he is introvert person, you should be careful with some personal conversations. He may not like it and even get unpleasant when listening to you. Moreover, pay attention to stuff such as his favorite color. If he likes black and plain colors, don’t get dressed in gaudy colors or supply him with colorful official equipment.

14. Ask Meaningful Questions

All bosses are busy, so don’t waste their time with “stupid” questions like “are you busy”. All you need to do is make a short question that focuses on what he can answer and want to answer. That’s enough!

15. Think Before You Speak & Get To The Point

Beside paying attention to meaningful question, you should think twice before speaking, too. Don’t make your boss suddenly get angry with your stupid answer or your boss will think you are playing with him or her.

Recommended reading: Anger Management Techniques

16. Confront With Evidence confront with evidence

When you are ready to say to your boss, do it in a non-confrontational way. Keep in mind that don’t make it personal. Try to use specific examples you’ve documented and ask for some tangible changes that can help you feel more appreciated and respected. When talking about your boss’ boss, be careful to let one of the 2 people know and have a bad image of you. If it happens, you may be fired immediately – such a bad situation that I don’t want to mention here.

17. Take It Professionally – Not Personally

Yes! If your boss is yelling, it feels personal. Just provide results, listen, nod and move on. This is the safest and the most professional way you can do to solve your boss’ bad behavior. Like a storm, when it’s gone, you will feel peacefulness and safeness.

18. Stand Firm – Never Cower If He Is A Yeller

In the best situation, if he strongly yells at you, don’t cower, don’t show the fear. Stand firm, keep the head held high! If you show your scare, you are giving your boss the satisfaction of lowering your honor. As you know, honor of an employer and an employee are the same. You don’t work with him to suffer from a judge, a criticizer or a yeller. If not, you should actively stop being his staff.

take it professionally - not personally

See: Job Interview Tips

The fact is, bosses are people, too. Most are not intending to be too difficult. Even, they either do not know how to deal with stress or lead people. If you are working with a difficult boss, then keep in mind the 18 tips on how to deal with a difficult boss at work without losing your job above, I bet that you will create a peaceful working environment, at least for you.

Leave your words at the end of this post if you have any further effective tips on how to deal with difficult a boss of your own. We will respond all soon!

If you want to know more about how to deal with a difficult boss, Emotional Vampires is the best guide you should read.

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