Probably every single one of you reading this has had a bad experience with a bad boss. Bad bosses are everywhere. I don’t know where they come from or what makes them bad. Like bad wine, bad dogs, bad boyfriends, and bad takeout, they’re just there. However, every bad boss has a good side; even if you can’t get through to it, there are still lots of tips for dealing with an impossible boss that can make your professional life easier.
1. Don’t Be Emotional
Depending on what kind of traits the person has, there are different tips for dealing with an impossible boss. Often, however, a really bad boss possesses character traits that lead him or her to be harsh or overly critical. In those instances, the best thing you can do is keep your emotions in check. Don’t respond to that behavior emotionally, because that can lead to worse abuse. It can even become an ego thing, and you don’t want that kind of clash with your boss.
2. Plan B
When dealing with a bad boss, you’re likely to fear any kind of confrontation or discussion. That’s typical and understandable, so it’s always a good idea to have several game plans, just in case things don’t go as expected. Your Plan B may involve knowing that you’ve secured another job before talking to your boss about a touchy subject, or you may simply come into a meeting with several different possible strategies.
3. Discuss, Don’t Confront
Speaking of confrontations, don’t. You never, ever want to have a confrontation with a difficult boss. If he or she is critical of you, don’t immediately jump on the defensive. That kind of confrontation is going to lead to very bad things. It may gall you to do so, but counter criticism by asking for advice. Your boss may simply have a different way of doing things.
4. Check Yourself
This tip for dealing with an impossible boss has to do with yourself. Make sure you check your behavior first, and evaluate your performance on the job. Have you done anything wrong? Are you goading your boss on in some way? Sometimes we give out negative clues without meaning to do so, and that can be the cause of a boss’s bad attitude toward you.
5. Get a Mentor
Often, having someone to talk to can be extremely beneficial in many areas. By locating someone in your company who can act as a mentor, you have the opportunity to get good advice on dealing with the situation. You can see what good management looks like, and you will have someone to whom you can vent as well.
6. Make a List
Another tip for dealing with an impossible boss involves detailing all of his or her bad behaviors. You may never show this list to your boss, but the exercise can be a cathartic one. You can see in black and white what bothers you the most. In addition to letting you vent your feelings, this method may also help you imagine ways that you can counteract or deal with that bad behavior.
7. Know Your Limitations
A tiger can’t change his stripes, you know. If sitting down and talking to your boss doesn’t seem like an option, you may simply have to accept the fact that you cannot change your boss’s behavior. The person may just be difficult in general. From here, you can learn not to take things personally, and to stop demonizing your boss. He or she isn’t an awful person, just your boss – someone to be dealt with until one of you moves on to a different position or place of business.
There are always limitations on dealing with people. You can’t change everyone, and some people simply don’t want to change. Do you have any other tips for dealing with an impossible boss?
Top Photo Credit: Jueno [ Ricey ]