How to Deal With Difficult Boss
We cannot deny it that there are people having problems with their bosses. You can hear it from your friends or even read it online. Comments such as “My boss is a jerk or even she’s total a bitch.” There may be some who say that they are being treated unfairly by their supervisors or there’s favoritism in their group. They find their bosses so difficult to deal with that they wanted to quit their job. Is quitting your work the only solution?
Let’s face the fact. Your boss will always be your boss unless you transfer or get promoted to another department. Quitting your work is not the final solution. If you quit and transfer to another company, you’ll never know that your new boss might be worse than your last one. You may consider it as option, but I suggest that you put it off your mind first. But how do you think would you deal with such situations?
Always remember this - - - YOUR BOSS MAY NOT ALWAYS BE RIGHT, BUT HE HAS THE RIGHT TO BE TREATED RIGHT. If you feel that you can no longer respect him as a person; just try to respect his position. In this way, you will be able to stay calm and maintain an open-mind in your disposition. Here are some tips to help you deal with your “so-called difficult or bad boss” at work.
1. EVALUATE YOURSELF
Whether you have been with the company for a month, year or even more than 10 years, you need to evaluate yourself first before you start to hate your boss. Ask yourself these questions:
a. How well do I perform at work? Am I mediocre or an outstanding performer?
b. Do I perform my work with minimum supervision? Or do I need to be told on what to do with my assignment?
c. Was I able to meet the deadlines and sales quota (if any)? Or do I need to be reminded every time there is a project deadline?
d. How well do I follow instructions or orders from my superior?
e. How is my relationship with my co-workers?
Your answers to these questions will help you understand your present relationship with your boss. You need to look into yourself first before you can point out another person’s mistakes. Another way of evaluating yourself is to ask the opinion of your family, friends and co-workers. But you need to be open-minded to possible criticisms. Just think of it as a feedback. It will help you grow as a person as well as with your relationship.
2. GATHER FACTS ABOUT THE ISSUE
You need to be objective when you deal with your problem. For instance, you find your boss inconsiderate or unfair; try to list down the things that makes you think that way. Be specific with the situation. Do not include any hearsay because that is only rumor, which means it is not yet proven. To indulge yourself with gossips can elicit problems in the future. Get the positive and negative sides or its advantages or disadvantages to you; not to your group because you can only speak for yourself. You can ask others if they also feel the same way, but do not elicit an impression that you are complaining about your boss. You don’t want to create an impression that you are becoming an enemy of your superior. Be factual and open-minded. Also ask yourself, “What is my contribution or participation to that issue?”
Gathering facts will help you to become objective about the circumstances in your career. It will also help find possible solutions to your present relationship problems with your boss. It will help you determine factors to consider on ways to improve the situation.
3. DISCUSS THE ISSUE
Sometimes you may feel that your boss makes your workplace unbearable. But there’s nothing more relieving than to discuss the problem with him privately, but not in public. Engaging yourself with gossips will not help solve your dilemma. Going in public will just worsen the situation. Own your opinions or views and not from others. Be sure to tell him how you feel and what you want.
Be sure to check the appropriate time and place before you discuss any matters with your boss. This is another thing to consider when you engaged yourself in a discussion. You don’t want to talk to him in a middle of your meeting. It is not a good idea. Neither do you want to approach him when you can see that he is angry with your co-worker for whatever reasons. In short, your timing is important to have a healthy and successful discussion with him.
For instance your boss shouted at you in front of your co-workers because you submitted the wrong report. You felt that it was quite embarrassing. Do not answer back with another shout because it will heat up everything. Just try to answer him, “I apologize for my mistake, but I will get back to you as soon as I am done with the revisions. Please excuse me.” Then if you feel that you have already composed and calmed yourself, you can check if your boss is available and also in good condition to talk to you. It doesn’t have to be on that same day, but you can still do it the next day. You can say, “I understand that I made a mistake with my report, but I got embarrassed when you shouted at me in front of my co-workers. I felt I lost my respect as a person. I may not be perfect, but I consider myself to be a responsible employee. I would appreciate if you will not shout at me again. I would prefer to be treated with respect.” You can end your conversation by thanking him for his time and consideration about the incident.
If you notice in our example, there is a constant use of “I” in your message. Owning the situation will help you communicate properly with your boss.
4. BE ASSERTIVE
Being assertive doesn’t mean that you need to argue with your boss. You can express your opinion contrary to him without being offensive. Be tactful in pointing out something. Just remember that nobody is perfect and we all have our own imperfections. What you think is right may not be right for him at all; or it may not even coincide with the goal of your company. For instance, you can tell your boss “You may be right, but I suggest we can try to . . .” or “That’s a good point, but I think it would be better if we . . .” In this way, you may be able to tell him your views, but you still maintain a healthy discussion. Arguing with him will not become productive.
If you notice in our example, you use “we” rather than “I” when you give your suggestions (ex.: we can try to . . . or it would be better if we. . .) It only suggests that you are feasible to work as a team with your plans. It also implies that you were thinking of your group or company when you were formulating these ideas.
5. FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE SIDE
There are times that people confuse management style with bossiness. You need to be able to differentiate organizational skills versus bossy boss. There are times that in order to get things done, some supervisors or managers may become less democratic at work. They may give orders that may be more than you like, but they are not really being bossy unless it is a continuous pattern.
It would be wise to focus on the positive side rather than the negative aspects. In this way, you will be able to understand and empathize with the situation. You felt stressed out with your boss that you find him excessively irritating, but just come to think of it that he might be more stressed out than you are to meet the deadlines and quotas set by the company. If you focus on the positive areas, you may be able to have a chance to work hand-in-hand with him.
Putting your attention on the negative side can make you depressed and annoyed. It will not create a healthy relationship with your boss and colleagues.
6. USE HUMOR
Being funny is quite difficult if you are not that type of a person. I agree with that especially if you have a serious type of personality. But as the old saying goes, “laughter is the best medicine.” It would still be better if you exert effort to be humorous or witty; may it be about your work or not. However, making fun with the other person is another thing. That is not being clever because it can demean your boss or co-worker.
I had a former boss who was fond of challenging the employees. I had an incident where he asked me, “Is that your best?” I felt that he sounds so sarcastic when asking. I looked at him and just simply replied, “Oh yes I did my best, but if my best wasn’t good enough for you then you have to teach me.” I was new at that time and I don’t have any idea about his management style. But I guess, my response did work because he never bothered to check on me again. LOL! He may be annoying, but I later found out that he always asked the same question. He wanted to post it as a challenge to all employees to do their best. If you use a little humor rather than rumor, it will help you develop a harmonious relationship with your boss.
7. ASK FOR HELP
If you think that you have tried doing everything from steps 1 to 6 to make your relationship works with your boss, then try to consider discussing the issue with an authorized superior. You can discuss your concern with your Division Head or somebody of equal status to your boss such as the Human Resource Head. Remember, do not criticize your boss when asking for help. Explain your position or view about the issue and how it affects you. Tell them also the positive aspects of your boss. Do emphasize that you are asking help in order to improve the situation. Ask them for direct advice, if needed. Be objective.
Furthermore, you should bear in mind that you cannot directly change your boss or anyone else’s behavior. You can only change your own. You can only control your own mind and behavior. However, you can influence your boss or others to change. But first, you also need to be open to change in the way you think and do things. By doing so, you may be able to make a difference in creating a better situation. Do not let your emotions overshadow you. Be proactive rather than passive.
If you are already a supervisor, manager, executive, or business owner, I suggest that you should learn to read between the lines within your conversation in order to understand your subordinates and employees. Try to grasp the message through their body language, too. In this way, you will be able to create a healthier and harmonious working environment.
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- TINA V on HubPages
About the Author: Tina graduated with majors in Psychology and Business Management. She also studied Guidance and Counseling to enhance her...
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