5 Brilliant Tips for Dealing with a Difficult Boss

In an ideal world, we would all have fantastic managers—bosses who helped us succeed, who made us feel valued, and who were just all-around great people.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. But whether the person you work for is a micromanager, has anger management problems, is a flat-out workplace bully, or just isn’t very competent, you still have to make the best of the situation and finish your work.

To help out, the Ignite Your Potential coaches have gathered the best advice for dealing with a bad boss. 

1. Make Sure You’re Dealing With a “Bad Boss”

Before trying to fix your bad boss, make sure you really are dealing with one. Is there a reason for the behavior you’re seeing? Are you being too hard on him or her?

“Observe your boss for a few days and try to notice how many things she does well versus poorly. When she is doing something “bad,” try to imagine the most forgiving reason why it could have occurred. Is it truly her fault or could it be something out of their control?” Fast Company

2. Identify Your Boss’s Motivation

Understanding why your boss does or cares about certain things can give insight into his or her management style. It’s also a way to “manage up” (understanding what the demands are on your boss and how you can best support them. There are plenty of additional articles online specifically about this topic. Think of this as an opportunity to learn this useful skill.)

“…if the rules are totally out of control, try to figure out your boss’s motivation. Maybe it’s not that he really cares about how long your lunch break takes; he actually cares about how it affects other employees’ morale and the perception of their superiors.” Brazen Careerist

3. Don’t Let it Affect Your Work

No matter how bad your boss’s behavior avoid letting it affect your work. You want to stay on good terms with other leaders in the company (and keep your job!) If you are unable to do this… it’s time to begin a job search and leave before you sabotage yourself.

“Don’t try to even the score by working slower or taking excessive ‘mental health’ days or longer lunches. It will only put you further behind in your workload and build a case for your boss to give you the old heave-ho before you’re ready to go.” Work Awesome

4. Act as the Leader

When dealing with an incompetent boss, sometimes it’s best to make some leadership decisions on your own.

“If you know your area well, there is no reason to not pursuing a direction you know will achieve good results for your company. People who do this are naturally followed by their peers as an informal leader. Management, although maybe not your direct boss, will notice your initiative. Of course, you don’t want to do something that undermines your boss, so keep him or her in the loop.” Careerealism

5. Avoid Future Bad Bosses

When interviewing with a new company, do your research ahead of time to make sure you’re not getting into another situation with a less-than-ideal manager.

“Have coffee or lunch with one or more staffers at the new company. Ostensibly, your purpose is to learn general information about the company, how it’s functioning, and its culture. However, use this opportunity to discover as much about your potential boss as possible, without appearing creepy of course.” Inc.

Need more tips on how to deal with a difficult boss? Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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