It is bound to happen eventually. At some point in your career, you will come across a boss, supervisor, or manager who is bad or just seems to dislike everyone and everything. It can be frustrating to deal with, especially if you are working in your dream job. However, there are ways to deal with the situation professionally that will help you maintain your professionalism. So, here are some tips on how to deal with a bad boss!
1. Remain pleasant
Bear in mind that your boss is who he/she is, and it is not your fault. However, if you are rude back, your boss will only be worse. Be pleasant by offering something small or asking to complete extra tasks. Invite them to coffee or lunch, or tell them to have a nice weekend when you leave the office on Friday. Remaining positive will help you and will show others that you are not a bad employee and may help your boss have a change of heart.
2. Do not let it interfere with your work
Do not let your boss’ attitude interfere with your work. Keep up the quality of work you were hired for. If your boss is micromanaging, write down their tips and corrections and make sure to learn from these corrections and apply them to future assignments. Also, be sure to write down exactly what was said when your boss gave you a task to complete. That way you will have documentation of what was said in case a dispute arises in the future.
3. Keep yourself motivated
When you have a bad boss, you may begin to lose motivation. You begin to doubt your self-worth and skills, which leads to questioning to your career choice. It is important to remember what inspired you to take your job in the first place, whether it was the company’s mission or a personal stepping stone towards a larger goal. This will help keep things in perspective and will motivate you to push forward when things get tough.
4. Befriend coworkers and other managers
While it may be tempted to close yourself off from everyone in the office, other coworkers may be having similar experiences. It is true that misery loves company, but it is also true that talking to others in a similar boat can be great motivation and strength, especially if you are new. Making friends with other managers can help you have an additional resource to go to if you need to go over your immediate manager’s head for any reason. This is really good advice when it comes to how to deal with a bad boss!
5. Look at the motivation behind your boss’ behavior
It is easy to blame yourself and your faults for how your manager acts towards you, but this is not necessarily the case, especially if they treat everyone the same way. If they treat people with tough love, maybe they grew up in a harsh environment and they learned best through tough love. Maybe they are dealing with a difficult home life and have no outlet to take their emotions out on. Do not be so quick to blame yourself.
6. Set boundaries when needed
Sometimes, managers want you to do things at home or need you to stay a little bit later to help get things done. However, if these things keep occurring and are messing with your home life, respectfully bring it up to them. Tell them you are unwilling to work late if you are not getting overtime or if you have plans with friends or family. Let them know what time you shut off your work email at night and you do not take work calls or text at certain points of the evening.
7. Stay calm
If your manager is mad about something and is attacking you personally or you and your coworkers as a whole, remain calm. Take the advice with a grain of salt, as they are upset. Take a few deep breaths and process what is being said. After the meeting, go back to your desk and take a few minutes to decompress. If you have any questions, ask coworkers for advice before going directly to your manager.
8. Know your boss’ triggers
If you know your boss has particular things that make them angry try your best to not do them. If the things are out of anyone’s control, such as traffic, public transportation, or weather, do your best to follow what is happening with each of these each day so you know what to expect. This will help you know how you can help accommodate your manager to make them as happy as possible and to remain on their good side. This is definitely one of the most important pieces of advice when it comes to how to deal with a bad boss!
9. Anticipate needs before they arise
Knowing your boss’ triggers will help you stay on top of what they need before they ask. If you know they like a specific coffee order, buy it for them. Complete tasks you know are coming up before you are asked to do them. Not only will this help your boss be less mean to everyone, but it will help you stand out as particularly helpful and professional. Going above and beyond will help you shine in what is a difficult situation. This is a really important tip when it comes to how to deal with a bad boss!
10. Do not take things personally
It is easy to be upset when your boss lashes out at you for some reason, but try your best to not take it personally. Your boss may have other factors contributing to their bad day and you may be the only one they can take it out on at a given moment. Keep in mind all of the things you are doing right and look at how you have grown. This will help you keep a solid perspective on the situation.
11. If you have a question, exhaust other research before asking your boss
It is okay to have questions about how to do certain things, but try other means of research or finding the answer prior to going directly to your boss. Try searching for the solution online or asking another coworker. If you or the company did a similar project, use that as an example and model the current assignment off of that. This will show that you are resourceful and will eliminate aggravation on your boss’ behalf.
12. Ask to meet with your boss and explain your concerns
If you feel like you are doing everything in your power and the situation is not getting any better, arrange to have a meeting with your boss to let them know how you are feeling. Be respectful, yet firmly tell them that you are trying your best but you feel stressed and strained. Do your best to not blame them. Ask for advice and see how you can make things easier for them. If they are unwilling to listen, it may be time to move on to another job. This is really important when it comes to how to deal with a bad boss!
What are some other tips on how to deal with a bad boss? Let us know in the comments below!
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Ashley is a recent graduate from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA with her Bachelor's in journalism. She love writing articles about music and Philadelphia. Ashley would love to pursue a career in journalism in New York City.