A Difficult Boss – How to Survive Them

A Difficult Boss – How to Survive Them

March 8, 2020 0 By Anthony Ekanem

Every job has stress, but the workplace environment can seem almost unbearable when working for or with an over-demanding or unfair boss. You don’t have to like your boss, but you need to be able to at least co-exist and co-operate with him or her for you to be productive and successful at your job.  There is no perfect solution for dealing with a difficult boss, but here are some suggestions that might make your situation a little less painful.

1. Think of Your Boss as Your Parent

The relationship between you and your boss can be likened to the relationship between a parent and a child.  Children, especially teenagers, often have problems with authority and this brings about disagreements with their parents.  Parents, most times, create rules that the child considers unfair. If the situation continues unchanged, the child moves out as soon as they are old enough to be on their own. Parents are not perfect so also are the bosses. They both make mistakes.

2. Do Your Best at All Times

“The employer generally gets the employees he deserves”, is a quote by Paul Getty. Make sure you are the type of employee you would want to have you if you were the boss. This may go against the notion of revenge and tucking it to an unfair boss whenever possible, but by doing the best job possible, you give the difficult boss less weapon they can use to make your working life miserable. Your boss will also think twice before getting you upset when there are other easier targets they can aim at.  Do not draw unnecessary attention to yourself. Unless you are the only one working with him or her, there should be other people to draw his or her wrath away from you. Let another person wear the target on their back.

3. Learn All You Can from Your Boss

We can learn something from everyone we come in contact with. While from a good boss, we can learn good managerial techniques, it is also true that from a bad boss, we can learn how not to act.  So, do not just suffer under a bad and difficult boss, gain something from the situation that will benefit you in the future.  Watch how he or she handles different situations and make a mental note of which techniques worked and which did not.

4. Forget About Yesterday

Yesterday is history. Try not to let issues of the past spoil your today. Instead, start each new day with a positive outlook. Tell yourself that today is going to be better than yesterday. Sometimes we get into a rut, expecting the worse to happen, and act accordingly.  You subconsciously force a person (in this case, your boss) to act the way you expect them to act. Make sure you are not unintentionally adding fuel to a fire. Starting each day with a clean slate is the best way to get past previous issues and differences. Holding a grudge will only hurt you.

5. Take Responsibility

Do not expect someone else to end your suffering. Complaining is easy, but it accomplishes very little or nothing.  Worrying about a problem will not make the problem go away.  If anything, losing sleep and dwelling on an issue will only make things worse. You will never be happy if you worry unnecessarily. If you are in a situation that is causing you pain, all you need to do is to take steps to improve the situation.

“Every man is the architect of his own fortune”, said the Roman Philosopher, Sallust. Have you looked for another job? Have you tried to improve your skills through in-house training, adult education, or online courses? Even the smallest step in the right direction is progress. A stubborn boss will not change their ways, but you can improve your own skills.   So, why not let your difficult boss be the motivation you use to better yourself?

Being Nice To Your Boss Can Help

There is a saying that “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar”. Being nice to your boss is a good way to test this theory. Everyone is always looking for ways to advance their career. Being nice to your boss can help make that advancement a reality.

Be respectful to your boss.  This is a good way to catch their attention. You don’t necessarily have to call them Mr Jones or Mrs Smith to show respect. First names are acceptable in some organisations. Volunteer to take on special tasks. If your boss is looking for someone to solve a problem or go the extra mile, be that someone. Even if you don’t succeed, at least they will know that you tried. In taking on a difficult task, you may learn something new, or have an idea of how to make the situation better. Good ideas and increasing work knowledge are what employers and managers look for when contemplating raises and promotions.

Have the habit of always going to work early. Being early to work makes a good impression on the boss. A person who is always late to work is going to be noticed. Occasional lateness is understandable. You cannot help that there was a wreck in front of you or you had a flat tyre on your way to work. Your Manager needs to know that they can depend on you.

Avoid conflict with others in the workplace. Involve your manager when there is no other solution to a situation. Ability to solve problems in the office and not aggravating the boss with petty arguments makes a good impression on them. Knowing that you can get along with your co-workers will make them available to solve larger problems.

Do not wasteful. Use the items provided to get the job done and don’t be wasteful. Also, do not take office items home. Additional expenditures are sure to catch your manager’s attention when examining the budget. By bringing down expenses, their budget goes down. A decrease in the budget is recognised by higher management. This way, the boss is recognised by his or her supervisors, and they know who made that possible and will appreciate you the more.

Be complimentary and be sincere. Everyone likes to know that they have been noticed. Your boss is not an exception. If you like their new shirt or if they handled a problematic customer that you had, let them know. Complimenting your boss in front of their supervisor is a conversation stopper. This lets top management know that you appreciate your boss.

Being nice to your “difficult” boss will pay off in the long run.