You perform a great job, display great skills and dedicate yourself to your job and workplace. Yet, somehow, it is never enough to satisfy your boss. Working with a difficult boss is draining. It can make your work life a living hell. Ideally, we would all have outstanding bosses—bosses who help us succeed, who make us feel valued, and who are all-around just great people.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Bad bosses range from working with a micromanager, showing favoritism toward one person, a flat-out workplace bully, or just someone who isn’t very competent. Regardless of your situation, you still have to make the best of it and get your job done.
Tips for Dealing with Your Boss
A bad boss colors everything: You might drive to work dreading your day. You might have a moment of hope when you submit your latest work only to have it criticized or ignored, and then your day is ruined. You might have a sick feeling in your stomach as you work. You might wake up from nightmares dreaming about your boss. A terrible boss is invasive to the heart, mind, and soul for many people.
Here are some tips I’ve devised to help you find a common ground with your boss, or at least to help you hang in there until you find a new gig:
Analyze your boss before making your decision, if they are a bad boss
Before trying to fix your bad boss, make sure you really are dealing with one. Is there a reason for their behavior, or are you being too hard on him or her? Take some time to find out if your boss or supervisor may have a problem with upper management. It’s possible that they are dealing with a micro-manager as well. Analyzing where they stand within the organization can give you some great insights on how to handle your situation and make you a more compassionate person. After all, your boss may not even be as bad as you think. You just have to get to understand their situation.
Identify your boss’ motivation
Identifying why your boss does or cares about certain things can give you insight into his or her management style. Pay attention to what they say and what they do.
Don’t let it affect your work
No matter how bad your boss’ behavior, avoid letting it affect your work. You want to stay on good terms with other leaders in the company (and keep your job!). If you need to vent, I recommend venting outside of work.
Stay one step ahead (especially with a micromanager)
Especially when dealing with a micromanager, head off your boss’ requests by anticipating them and getting things done before they come to you. If you notice that something isn’t right, don’t wait for them to come to you. Get it done. Chances are if your boss sees you’re reliable they may start to back off.
Set boundaries—distance yourself from unlikeable behavior
“Good fences make good neighbors.”Robert Frost
Working with someone who seems to have no boundaries means that you have to go ahead and set them. If you are uncomfortable speaking about personal matters, then say so. Your priority is to get your work done, not listen to grievances. If your boss says something inappropriate, speak up. Smiling or laughing nervously won’t make the problem go away.
Don’t assume they know everything
Just because someone has a managerial title doesn’t mean that they have all the right answers, all the time. They’re human too. They’re learning and they can make mistakes like anyone else.
Be a leader
Take initiative, but don’t undermine your manager. Make moves, but keep your boss in the loop.
If you think you have tried everything and are considering quitting your job just to get away, realize that there are options. Most people don’t understand that the boss relationship is like any other one; it needs to be fed and nurtured. Many employees think that just by doing their best job, or by being a model employee or by working harder and longer, their boss will recognize them and appreciate them. But if communication style, mis-matched expectations, or a value disconnect are at the heart of the differences, no matter how hard you work, your boss isn’t going to recognize it. Just remember, you can’t control what your boss does, but you can control how you react.
Have any more tips for dealing with a tough boss? Let us know down in the comments.
This article originally published on GREY Journal.