Almost everyone has had to deal with a difficult boss at some point in their careers. There have even been movies made about it. Remember 9 to 5? Four women kidnapped their misogynist boss and held him hostage until he changed his ways. More recently, in Horrible Bosses, three guys decide to hire a hitman to kill their awful managers. You don’t have to go as far as the characters in those films to deal with a manager you don’t like. There are other ways to handle it. Some of the strategies below may help you deal with that horrible boss so you won’t dread going to work.
Your boss is probably difficult for a reason. Give him or her the benefit of the doubt. Does he or she have someone above him who is demanding? They're probably passing along the negativity because he hasn’t been taught a better way. When you know what drives his behavior, it may be easier to deal with his tactics. In fact, you may realize that he’s not so bad after all. His approach to managing people may be what makes your team succeed.
If you feel you’re being singled out as a target for your boss’ behavior, talk to him or her. Ask what the expectations are of you and if you’re meeting them. You could very well not be on the same page when it comes to your job performance and that could be causing the conflict.
Once you’re armed with a reason for his behavior and his expectations of you, adapt your work style to match what they want. If your boss is a hands-on manager who likes to know the inner working of your projects, be sure to include them in all aspects of it. Copy them in on emails. Give a weekly update on your progress. He or she should appreciate your effort. If he prefers to manage employees by giving them free reign in how they do their jobs, they you should learn to work more autonomously.
If you’re constantly asking for permission to do things that they see as decisions you should be making on your own, then you’re going to have to step up to the plate. If you try these ideas and still find it difficult to get along with your boss, it may be time to talk to human resources. If your coworkers agree with you, then it’s definitely a problem that they should be made aware of so that they can have a talk with them. They may need to be reined in by someone higher up, or maybe he just needs a class in how to manage people effectively. The HR department was established in order to deal with these issues, so don’t be afraid to go to them.
If all else fails and you’re still not happy because of your boss, it may be time to move on. When you interview for new positions, take note of the personalities of your potential boss. Talk with people who work there, if possible. Ask for a tour of the office to see how everyone reacts to him. You want to make sure you’re not stepping into another situation with a horrible boss.
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