Horrible Bosses: How to Deal with Difficulties in the Workplace

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Is your boss a micro-manager? A narcissist? Maybe you are dealing with someone who’s extremely moody, hot one minute and cold the next?

How do you handle a difficult boss? My suggestion would be run and never look back!

But in all seriousness, a bad boss is a situation you want to try to get out of as soon as possible. A bad boss not only hurts your morale, which can hinder your performance, but can also cause your career to become stagnant. A boss who you work well with will support you and even help propel you forward.

However, changing jobs is not always easy, so you need to figure out how to manage until you have an opportunity to leave.

Here are some strategies to help you deal with a bad boss:

1. Take a look in the mirror. First, you should evaluate your own performance. Your boss may not have tact or the best communication style, but there could be something behind their behavior. Do some soul-searching.

Are you really doing what you enjoy? Are you giving it your all? Has your performance changed? Despite dealing with a poor boss, you should work extra hard to ensure your performance does not drop.

2. Get to really know your boss. Since you have to work with your boss, try to figure out what impresses your boss and what his peeves are.

Is your boss a stickler for punctuality? Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early, every single day.

Does your boss prefer face-to-face communication over email? Try to schedule daily face-to-face meetings to confer with your boss. Then, send a follow-up email just to document your conversation.

Is your boss a morning person? Approach your boss with new ideas and initiatives in the morning for the best chances of support. The better you understand your boss, the easier it will be to work with him. Who knows, you may even start to like the guy!

3. Office gossip travels fast. Someone somewhere thought your boss would make a great leader and gave him his position. Trying to undermine your boss and sharing tales of his poor management will not get you very far, and may even hurt you.

Badmouthing your boss can backfire and make you look like the one who doesn’t play well in the sandbox. Worse, your boss may discover what you are doing, and you are still stuck working for him.

4. Speak up. Sometimes your boss may not intend to be a bad boss. It may be worth sitting down and offering some calm constructive feedback. You may be surprised to find that your boss may even welcome your feedback.

But I caution you, delivery is very important. No one wants to be barraged with a list of all the things they are doing wrong. Focus on ways your boss can solve his flaws. Be clear with your boss on exactly what you need from him to do your job better and meet expectations.

5. Do not leave in a “blaze of glory.” Although you many get to a point where you just want to tell your boss off and walk out (perhaps daily), resist the urge to do so.

There’s been a trend of YouTube videos showing employees quitting in creative ways, including: having a marching band announce their departure, pulling an emergency slide on a plane and making a grand exist, and dancing around the office.

While these methods of quitting make for some good entertainment, they are not helpful for an employee’s future career prospects. It may even land you in legal trouble. Do your best to tough things out, and if you do decide to quit, do so in a calm professional manner.