One of the biggest nightmares at a workplace is how to deal with a difficult boss. Here we will discuss how you can work with a difficult boss and succeed.
You have probably been at this job for a while and you are wondering how you can impress that hard boss to get the promotion you desire.
Maybe you are new at your job and are not sure how to get along with your employer you find difficult. Or you simply have a new boss and you find them nagging! I will share with you tips and tricks you can use to impress a hard boss and succeed.
Who is a Difficult Boss?
For purposes of this article, a difficult boss refers to an employer, supervisor, team leader or anyone to whom you are accountable at a workplace but who you find to be hard to work with, impress or simply work without reprimand.
Ideally, a good boss is one who helps their staff to succeed. Good employers and managers employ different tactics to make their workers feel valued and appreciate their work output.
However, bosses can sometimes be extreme micromanagers. Outright workplace bullies who sometimes suffer from anger management problems. Incompetent and therefore incapable of dealing with highly knowledgable staff while at the same time unable to guide the less skilled workforce. Whatever the cause, if you are dealing with a manager who has any of the above, Welcome! You are dealing with a professionally difficult boss.
Working with a difficult manager or employer will require that you carefully and accurately identify why your boss either seems or is actually difficult.
One must be critical to observe if the difficult employer or boss is hard to them alone or to the entire workforce. Typically speaking how well you deal with a difficult manager will depend on your ability to understand what makes them difficult and getting away to work them without appealing to the “nagging triggers”
Tricks on How to Deal with a Difficult Boss.
Ok so now that the formalities are out of the way, I shall discuss some of the tricks and tips from top human resource consultants on how to handle a difficult employer, manager or supervisor.
If you consider your boss hard because you are paid a small salary, do not worry. Consider reading my article on: How to get a Salary Increment Without Asking.
1) Be 100% Sure that They are bad.
Do not fix what is not broken. Before you get any deeper trying to figure out how to relate with your bad employer, you must be 100% sure and correct that they are indeed bad.
People have bad days. Every one does including yourself. Do not use a one-off bad day to label your boss a bad manager. Sometimes, certain things happen beyond the control of even a very good boss. Before you decide you are dealing with a bad ‘man’ think through why they could be acting the way they are! Do not simply look at how you could have handled the situation but what could force one to do what they are doing.
In the same way, its very important that you remember, no one is perfect. It’s possible that your boss is flat wrong on this one but think of all the good attributes that they possess. If they score on many of those attributes but fail on a few others, you might have to just adjust how you relate with them on those they are not good at. Its human, they will not and do not have to score 100% for them to be great managers.
2) Do Not Let It Affect Your Overall Performance and Discipline.
You might have a bad manager at your hands but they are probably the only ones you are accountable to. Try as much as possible not to let one bad person turn you into a companywide example of a bad employee.
If you let a bad manager affect your discipline, even the good managers will start looking at you as a bad tomato that needs to be removed before it gets others rotten. Stay focused and keep improving on your performance so that you only have just that bad manager to deal with.
The whole organisation is not blind. If truly the manager is bad and you are not in any way to blame, it will be clear to the rest to see. Do not share in their bad manners by becoming indisciplined yourself.
3) Keep a professional distance.
One common thing with bad managers is that they do not seem to respect the limit of their managerial authority over you. They do not have any defined limits on your boss-subject relationship. They tend to intrude in everything however personal simply because they are your bosses!
If you are in a situation like this, you must set the limits and observe them. I am not saying you avoid your boss. What you need to know is how far you can go and do not cross lines with them. Do what you are professionally required to do and end there. Don’t discuss personal matters with someone who has no limits. Stay 100% focused on what your work relationship requires of you and do just that!
4) Figure Out What Motivates Their Actions.
I know bosses who would not ask you why you did not come to office IF their top managers were not around. Such people are motivated by what other people (especially above) will think of them. They are trying to impress someone watching.
This trick will help you know the potential triggers to their behaviour and help you avoid them. Managers who love to belittle their subjects in general meetings can be avoided by not appearing to suggest things out of the routine in general meetings. Try to get them on a one on one situation. Also appear to be seeking their endorsement when you pitch for new ideas. Avoid the triggers especially for anger management challenged managers.
5) Disarm Micromanagement – Stay ahead.
The less you invite supervision the more you will keep a bad manager at a distance. If you have reports to submit on Friday, have them ready and submitted on Thursday. You must at all times try to be one foot ahead of a bad manager so that you give them less and fewer reasons to micromanage you!
Without appearing to be the all-knowing, anticipate the tasks that your manager expects of you and get them done before they ask you to do them. Build a culture of self-supervision so that you keep your bad manager at a good distance.
6) Offer To Assist them
One way of dealing with a difficult boss is to offer to help them. The most tragic mistakes employees commit while dealing with hard bosses is to say, “that is your job”, assuming the boss knows it and trying to avoid the boss by simply doing ONLY their job.
Sometimes, a bad boss is bad because he is finding it hard to figure out how to manage some things. Its normal sometimes that one is stressed because they can not get the workflow to work to the result they need. They are generally challenged either at skill level or resources.
Helping a bad boss figure out the puzzle giving them sleepless nights and “mad” days will help you improve your relationship with them.
7) Do Not Die In Silence
If you believe something is not right, speak up. It’s possible that your boss does not even know that they are treating you badly!
I have known a person who went seven months not being paid while everyone else in the company was and they never had the guts to face their boss and ask why they were not being paid while everyone else was!
I finally decided to ask on their behalf and behold, the big man did not even know somehow an employees name had gone off the payroll! Do not talk in the corridors, seek a meeting with the bad man and talk to him about the problem at hand. Get heard before you throw in the towel.
8) Avoid Them At Entry.
If you notice a bad boss before you even join the firm, make the decision if the job is worth the stress coming your way. If you are not ready for the drama, turn down the job even before you start!
I know female friends who have refused to take on job offers because their would-be bosses started making sex suggestions the minute they went for interviews.
The advantage of early detection is you avoid several failed job endeavours on your CV. If you keep failing everywhere you go, soon society will assume you are the one with the problem.
9) Know When to Quit.
If you take the job and your boss becomes a problem try the tips above. If nothing works, know when to leave that job.
First, no job is worth harassment but even if you accept to stay in there you will be manuplated endlessly until you finally leave or get fired. When you have an unbearable boss it will lead to your exit however you try. If you can’t stand it, take the exit now rather than later.