If you work long enough, you will have to deal with a difficult boss at some point. Some people say “Wait them out until they get promoted or fired,” but that strategy does not always work.
Here is a summary of some good ideas based on a blog by MaryAnn Kerr. I don’t need these now, but I will remember them for the future!
1. Don’t Take it Personally! A difficult boss is usually this way due to their own personal issues rather than your competence. It’s actually kind of sad when you think about it. Do your best to accommodate their style and focus on your mission.
2. Look for Things They Do Well. Even difficult bosses have some positives. Try to remind yourself of this and the fact that they are doing the best they can in the moment.
3. Phone a Friend. You can vent and then you can also ask the friend to help you look at the big picture. Sometimes when a person is not directly involved, they can be a little more philosophical and give you a broader perspective.
4. Ask HR for Help. If things get bad then do not hesitate to go to your human resources department to make sure you understand your rights.
5. Carry On and Keep Your Head Down. Don’t let the boss keep you from performing your duties. Stay focused on your team and the people you serve. That is what it is all about.
6. Keep Your Options Open. The old saying about always “keeping your resume updated” now goes for LinkedIn as well. Ask that friend you called to look both over and give you some feedback.
7. Keep a Journal. This can help you process your thoughts and feelings, and could also come in handy if HR does need to get involved. It can also help you learn from experience as you reflect back on tough times.
A difficult boss can be annoying without being debilitating. Do the best you can with them, but do not hesitate to contact HR if they cross the line. Your well-being is #1!