In a perfect world, everyone would have a wonderful boss-managers who helped you achieve your career goals, who made you feel important, and bosses who spent time with influential people.
Regrettably, this is not the case. But, whether you are working with a manager with an anger problem, an incompetent one, or a micromanager, you are still expected to give your best and carry out your job responsibilities in the best possible way despite the unfavorable working conditions under your horrible boss.
To help you do this, we have sourced some of the best and most relevant tips on how to deal with a difficult boss for your benefit. You can try one of as many options as possible to find common grounds you can share with your boss – or at least help you stay in your right frame of mind before a better job opening comes your way.
Top 9 Practical & Helpful Tips on How to Deal With a Difficult Boss
Know what they love and adapt
Take time to know the behavioral preferences of your boss and let them guide you. Is he a fast-mover, and makes decisions easily? Does he think about things rather slowly, and require some time to process every information? How does he like communication? Does he communicate through email, one-on-one, drop-ins, or long memos? Your communication with your boss will become a whole lot easier when you learn how to match your style to his. Working with your boss preferences is one easy way of learning how to deal with a difficult boss without your boss being any wiser. And no matter the type of boss you have, this is one major leadership skill you must develop.
A discussion is always better than a confrontation
When you get criticized by your boss, avoid getting emotionally confrontational with your boss to avoid more serious conflicts. Rather, leverage on the criticism of your boss to create a topic for a friendly discussion on goals, interest, and problem-solving, you can also ask for his advice on any issue that bothers you pertaining your job roles. If your boss criticizes your performance, it shows they might have a better idea of a more effective way to get things done, so you can ask for advice on how you can do things better.
This is very important. Go with the right procedures for getting your complaints registered with Human Resources, or your higher superiors.
When it comes to how to deal with a difficult boss, it is important you maintain a professional demeanor and calmness. Never let your emotions get the better of you or get into any kind of shouting round with your boss. Avoid taking part in any kind of name-calling or rumor-mongering. Be as professional as you can be.
Managing your manager
One common source of conflict in the work place is when a new manager devises new ways of doing things. Such changes often occur in a reactionary way because the workers can keep doing things the same old way until the new manager shows up to say they are not being done the right way. Don't wait for your boss to criticize your work, make sure you have a very clear picture of what the boss wants and how he wants things done. This will avoid any miscommunication or misunderstanding in the future. A task can be completed in different ways, but discussing with your boss from the onset will enable you hear his views and share yours with him for sampling. Knowing what they like or hate will enable you avoid future criticism and conflicts.
Assess your performance by yourself
Before getting angry at your boss for his criticisms, make sure you take some time to assess your own work to enable you determine if you have been doing things the right way. Ask your colleagues what they think about your work before you criticize the opinion of your boss.
Get everything documented
If you decide to continue working with that toxic boss, you must make sure everything is documented. You will find this to be your major ammunition whenever a conflict ensues along the way. Document everything from your interactions with them to your performances to enable you remind them of your achievements when performance review time comes.
Make sure you always have a plan B
Most employees will not dare challenge their boss or at least talk to him about his unfriendly or sometimes rude behaviors for fear of being penalized or sacked. This fear becomes more intense when the boss in question is some kind of control freak and fears every sign that shows any of his subordinates might be a threat to his position.
Before you decide on the technique to adopt for addressing any type of conflict, it is always advisable to have a good plan B in case the original plan fails to pull through. Any viable alternative you can think of that will not bring you into an one-by-one confrontation with your boss can make a good plan B.
In this type of circumstance, a good plan B will be to get another juicy job offer before you engage your boss in the all-important attitude talk. When you do not have a plan B, you end up giving the abusive boss another reason to treat you unfairly because you have no other thing to fall back on when sacked. Having a plan B will give you the boldness you need to walk away from the job if you talk with your boss goes wrong. You must increase your power by having a good plan B before getting entangled in a conflict with your boss.
Get more support
If other workers share your concerns, it gives you additional persuasive power over the boss – that's the power of numbers. Attacking a single employee is easy for every employer, but when it comes to attacking all employees, it becomes a bit more complicated. Firing one of you is ok, but firing all of you will make him look unprofessional or even earn him a sack himself. One other important tip on how to deal with a difficult boss is to form an interdepartmental union.
Be an up-and-doing person
No doubts, one of the best ways to handle a horrible boss is to avoid having one at all. So before you accept any new role in that company or move to a new company, make sure you take some time to find out what the company culture looks like, the kind of leadership they tolerate and management practices that are obtainable there.
If it is an internal movement, network ahead to help you learn the type of environment you are about to get involved in and the key players in such environment. Do the leaders create an enabling environment for employees to give their best of do they just create fear of what might befall one if he/she fails to carry out his/her duties effectively?
If you are changing to a new organization, take time to do some researches to enable you to avoid jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Most times, people get so frantic to escape unfavorable work conditions that they fail to observe certain signs that try to tell them where they are going won't be better than where they are trying to escape. Invite anyone you know at the new company for coffee and ask relevant questions about the culture, worker engagement, morals, and management practices. Giving some hours ahead can save you some years of frustration.