Wouldn’t it be exciting if all our bosses were great and caring? Unfortunately, that is never going to happen. At one point in our professional life, we are forced to handle problematic managers. Favoritism, unreasonable anger, blame for no fault of ours; the list is endless. Whatever is the situation, there is no choice, but to learn to cope up with the issue.
Following are 10 effective strategies to handle a difficult boss.
- Check if you have a difficult boss
Before trying to fix your manager, make sure that he/she is a difficult one. There may be a reason for his behavior. It can also happen that you are too hard on him. The best thing to do is to observe your boss for some time. Note the occasions he behaves badly. When it happens, try to understand the reason for the same. Check to see if it is his own fault. There may be something that you don’t know that is out of his control.
- Try to support your boss
The advice may appear strange. No one would want to support a bad boss. But fighting with him or exposing his weakness will only spoil your reputation. If you find it difficult to support him, leave him alone. Don’t try to expose him publicly. If he feels humiliated, he is sure to take revenge.
The feasible thing to do is to understand his weaknesses and support him. If you find him disorganized, help him be at the top of everything. This is far better than standing apart and complaining about his poor organization. If he is always late for meetings, be the first one to start it for him. If your boss is forgetful, offer to document his interactions. This will help you refer to his earlier statement if he contradicts it later. Keep on working on the project if your boss is slow to respond. All this will create an impression in your boss’s mind that you are someone he can rely on. Don’t expect an instant reward. But all your efforts are sure to pay you back in the long run.
- Refrain from a confrontation
When your boss gives you a hard time for no reason, you are sure to feel frustrated. At times, you may feel like yelling back at him and spill out all your thoughts. You may stand justified even if you respond hostility with hostility. But know that it is never going to benefit anyone. Don’t lose your cool at any cost. Maintain your composure and answer only when he calms down.
- Hold on to what you believe is true
Life is a great teacher. At one point, it will teach you to stand strong despite mounting pressures and hold on to your values. When you cling to your beliefs and views at all cost, others will treat you as someone with a strong character. Show the same with your boss. Let him see that no matter what he does, you are not going to change your perspective. This will never mean that you have no respect for your boss. It just displays your will power for everyone to see.
- Don’t take anything personally
Understand that your manager has no reason to hate you. Don’t take anything he says personally. Your boss too is a human being. He too has his own struggles to manage. It implies that he may tell you things he never means otherwise. A majority of managers are quite jovial once outside the office. And your boss is not going to be an exception.
- Don’t complain to HR
An organization’s human resource department works for it, not for you. If you approach it with a complaint, it is sure to report the same to your boss. A one-to-one solution is the only way out.
- Behave professionally
Don’t let your emotions gain control over you even in the face of harsh criticism. You may not be able to understand the accusations your boss makes. Still, it is always advised that you stay calm when responding to him. This is a must if you want to survive in the corporate world. Remember, you cannot afford to lose your job just because of an argument. It will be over, your job will be gone and you will have nothing, but a guilty conscience. Avoid it by learning to maintain your calm when in stress.
- Keep him informed of your progress
Maintain active communication with him. Let him stay informed of your progress in the project. Find out your manager’s preferred mode of communication. It can be a long memo, a quick email or one-to-one meeting. Whatever it is, understand it and act accordingly. Surprise is not a good thing, at least in your workplace.
- Stay positive
You may complain as much as you want to your spouse or to your trusted friend. But always keep a positive attitude in the office. You never know who is watching you. Even the walls have ears, they say.
- Know when to quit
You may be doing your very best. But if your boss’s behavior is having a toll on your mental health, just resign the job. You have to take good care of yourself. Just make sure that your boss has no reason to blame you.
Whatever is your salary, even if it comes up to millions, do not ever sacrifice your mental or physical health.