Most of us have bosses. That’s just how it’s going to be with vertical management structures.
The majority of people don’t like their bosses either, that part of the course.
However, that is something that can be address by both sides. Although most bosses are unwilling to change in my experience.
When someone is in a position of power, they find their own management style and typically stick to it. If you have a progressive, wonderful boss – you probably wouldn’t be reading this.
You’re probably looking for ways to deal with a mean boss, or a bad boss that also bullies staff. The good news is there are options, but it’s going to take some work on your side.
So it’s down to you to be the progressive, adaptive one. That’s fine, you’ll grow as a person and benefit from it in the long run.
If you suffering under a really terrible boss right now, you have my complete sympathy. I’d be here all day if I started telling you about some of the nightmare stories I’ve endured.
If can completely kill any enjoyment you’d get from work. It de-motivates people, and forms a toxic environment in the workplace.
It’s not always an option for everyone to just up and leave their job because of their boss though. So it may be a better option to consider how you could handle your boss a little differently.
Having worked with, and for many difficult, uninterested, and outright awful bosses in my corporate career. I developed quite a few leadership and progressive skills of my own working round them.
A study was conducted in Denmark, with 4,500 public service workers polled. The results showed that differences with bosses was the main cause for people leaving their jobs. Not the workload.
It went on to further prove that workload has very little impact on the reasons for people leaving their jobs. Which came as a surprise to many.
Bosses in particular typically have blinkers on and assume it’s any reason other than them why people are unhappy at work.
However set in their management style your boss may be, there are things you can do to manage them. The key here is to manage them, without making them feel undermined.
One way to do this is to think of your boss as a difficult client. So they are still getting their say from you, but you’re finding work-arounds.
Otherwise, settling for being unhappy, unmotivated, and disinterested will have a damaging impact on your career. Hopefully the following tips will empower you do make some positive changes.
Tips to Help You Deal with a Horrible Boss
Understand Their Primary Motivations
You can learn a lot about anyone by understanding their motivations. Find out what makes your boss tick.
- Why do they behave the way they do?
- What bothers them or gets them flustered?
- What are their weaknesses?
- How do they look for approval?
- What constitutes success and failure to them?
Once you get a good understanding of what drives this person. Their actions will become a lot more predictable, and easier to manage. You can start working and communicating in their ‘language’, you’ll notice differences almost right away.
If you are part of a team and you are being singled out look at why they are picking on you and not your other team mates.
Always strive to be the best team player you can be. Having support from the other members of the team will be reassuring, and help highlight that your unreasonable boss is the problem. Not your work or effort.
Identify Their Strengths and Weaknesses
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, even you. Someone in a position of authority will be working to try and hide their weaknesses, but this only helps you identify them.
The key here is to then support their success. This may not seem beneficial to you, but it is. There is no reason to try and bring down your boss, it only reflects badly on you.
The other part to this strategy is to avoid their weaknesses. Just as success is contagious, so are weaknesses. If your boss has some glaring faults, they will come out whether you help them or not.
So leave them to deal with their own weakness, you have yourself to work on. While invariably there will always be office politics to deal with. You play your part by being helpful, you can’t never look bad that way.
Never Lower Yourself to Their Level
Bosses can be involved in some incredibly unethical, illegal, and crazy behavior. Never let yourself get caught up in this, regardless how easy it may be.
If you have a boss that is largely absent, never start slacking off for this reason. You’re part of a larger organization, and you have your own professional integrity to protect.
Vent by complaining to your family and friends outside of work. But never let off steam around the office. This is very unprofessional, and more often than not will end up finding it’s way to your boss.
Likewise, if your boss is verbally abusive. Bite your tongue. Never be verbally abusive back. Your career will not be starting and stopping at this position you’re in now. You need to carry yourself professionally at all times.
Don’t Suffer in Silence
In one of my first office jobs I had a completely unreasonable and power hungry boss. Ultimately I left as I knew the environment was too toxic, and there was nothing I could do.
I left it until my last day to write an email to HR explaining all of my grievances and presenting my case in a professional and unbiased way. I was shocked when the head of HR contacted me and asked to meet up.
It was too late then. I had a new position and had moved on, but it did make me think. I should have spoken up earlier, maybe something could have been done. Maybe I could of helped others, I’ll never know now.
The lesson learned is that it’s always better to speak up than suffer in silence. Give you boss a chance to respond to how you’re feeling. There is a slim chance they are not aware of your feelings, and they may change.
Either way, at least you will know you tried.
Don’t Be Bullied by a Bully
This is something you need to manage tactfully, as it can escalate. But however it turns out, you cannot let a bully push you around. There is truth in the old adage that bullies are cowards.
If you know you’re doing the best you can, hold your head high. Don’t give your boss the satisfaction of pushing you around. They will know you’re doing a good job, regardless of what they say.
Make a journal of all the incidents involving your boss. You will need a decent amount of backup for when you come round to confronting them with your HR team. Act professionally and don’t allow emotions to get involved.
Never become confrontational. Go through the correct channels in your organization. If you’re in the right, and you’re boss is in the wrong – have faith it will all work out.
No one should be made to feel bad while at work. You have options, never feel like you’re trapped.
Hopefully these tips to help you deal with a horrible boss has given you some confidence to change your situation if you’re not happy.
If you feel overwhelmed with a search for a new job, or even the prospect daunting. You don’t need to.
Here are some great tips to keep you motivated while looking for a new job. Lot’s of actionable advice, and I know you will find a position more suited to you and you will be a lot happier.
If you are looking for some inspiring words, here are some quotes by Tony Robbins to lift your spirits.
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.