Dealing with a Difficult Boss

It seems that successfully managing a difficult boss is a challenge but often feasible. Some ways to deal with difficult bosses are:

  1. Understand the problem. – Recognize that, unless your boss is a bully, their behavior is probably due to ignorance.
  2. Manage your own negative emotions. – Do not engage in self-defeating behavior such as stonewalling, or counter-attacking your boss. Control your emotions.
  3. Talk to the boss. Tell him what you need from him in term of direction, feedback and support. Be polite and focus on your needs. You should discuss your concerns — not confront your boss. Telling the boss he’s a bad boss is counterproductive and won’t help you meet your goals.
  4. Try to support the boss. – Ask the boss how you can help him reach his goals. Make sure you listen well and provide the needed assistance. You will be seen as a team player and may be able to advance in the organization with or without your boss.
  5. Stand up for yourself. – Supporting your boss isn’t the same as being a doormat. Don’t tolerate being yelled at or otherwise treated badly. If your boss does something unacceptable, say so as directly and unemotionally as possible.
  6. Seek a mentor. – With the full knowledge of your current boss, find a mentor from among other managers or more skilled peers, to enlarge your opportunity for experience.
  7. Document the problem. – If your boss is a bully, keep a written record of incidents and when they occur. Where possible, have a witness.
  8. Ask for a transfer – If you think the problem is that your boss can’t – or won’t – change, and you like your employer and your work, ask for transfer to another department.
  9. Look for a new job. – If the situation does not improve, you may need to look for a workplace that does not tolerate bad bosses. Remember, you deserve to have a boss who treats you with respect.



About sabre23t

An analyst, researcher, civil engineer & information technologist working in a transportation company.
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4 Responses to Dealing with a Difficult Boss

  1. teckiee says:

    I think i read something about bosses in TheStar yesterday too. Thank god I have a good boss

  2. sabre23t. says:

    Hi teckiee. Lucky you. Now, I have to make sure that I don’t get into the difficult category. 😉 I did read that same article in TheStar yesterday. Prompted me to gather/write this blog. A quick google didn’t get that TheStar article, I think I need to go search directly their site.

  3. Kris Marikh says:

    I wonder what your subordinates think of you as a boss. I’m sure they would want to add further to the list … heheh! I believe you are one of the interesting ones. 😀

  4. sabre23t. says:

    Interesting ones eh Kris? As long as not demanding ones ok le kot. 😉 As to the subordinates, I’m debating sending the “boss quiz” to them. Hehe.

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