Not everyone is blessed with great bosses who are supportive and encouraging. There are many different types of bosses and it’s not uncommon to meet some not-so-good ones in our careers. Having a difficult boss is one of the biggest reasons that people start looking for jobs, however a new job shouldn’t be the only way out. After all, there is no guarantee that the grass is greener on the other side, right?
If you really do like your job and looking for a new gig isn’t what you want to consider now, then these tips might be useful for you to figure out how to deal with the dilemma: awesome job, difficult boss.
1. Reflect on yourself
Before you put all the blame on your boss, take a step back and access the situation objectively. Have you considered if it’s you that’s the problem, or at least contributed to part of it? If you’re really as good as you think you are, there is no harm to analyse the contributing factors why you can’t work with your difficult boss and rule out your involvement. If you think he’s an absolute control freak who micromanages you all the time, could it because you haven’t proven yourself to be reliable or accountable? Or maybe your performance is not up to his standard?
Figure out the root of the problem and determine if there’s anything you can do on your end to improve the situation. If you’ve tried all possible ways to resolve the tension, maybe learn to adjust how you react to his behaviour instead. For example, instead of replying angrily when your boss text you after working hours, try to speak to him civilly about it and reach a mutual understanding about any after-work texting/emails.
When you think that your boss has no redeeming quality at all, try to be in his shoes and you might see things differently. Perhaps the higher-ups have been pressuring him on the sales target, or the team is not performing well and he is responsible for it. Sure, he might not be the best boss, but try to look at the bigger picture and don’t take things too personally.
2. Remind & recall why you love your job
It’s easy to forget your initial intent of joining the company, especially after working in the same company for years. Make a list of all the things, no matter how insignificant it may seem that you like about your job. It could be the 1-hour grace period, weekly office lunch, or the new standing desk that they got you recently. Every little thing counts!
Once you have the list, ask yourself if it’s worth it to let all that go for a difficult boss? Many people call it quit when things get tough at work, but if your boss isn’t causing you depressed or severe anxiety, try to focus on the positive things that are working well for you. Don’t let one person take away every other good part of your job.
3. Be patient
That’s right. Patience is indeed a virtue, especially in such tricky situation where you feel stuck. If you’ve evaluated all possible reasons and managed to rule out your involvement completely, then perhaps it’s true that your boss is an awful person. Unacceptable actions like constant verbal abuse even when you didn’t do anything wrong, setting unreasonable deadlines, or taking credits for work you’ve done are not something that can be covered up easily. In other words, it’s very unlikely that you are the only person experiencing such manipulation. Perhaps one day someone higher up will be aware of what’s going on and put your superior in his/her place.
If the bad behaviour just started recently, the more you should wait it out and see if it’s just a phase. Observe carefully if the outlash only happen once in a blue moon or on a regularly basis and if the reason behind it is valid. If it’s your wrongdoings that caused the outlash, for example you missed an important deadline or sent a confidential email to a vendor accidentally. You then have no reason to blame your boss from lashing out on you. Perhaps he could have controlled his temper but you should reflect on yourself too.
However, if the situation is not getting better or you really can’t deal with your boss anymore, it’s probably time to start your job hunt instead of hoping for the HR to do something about it. If you really like what do you in your current role, try looking for a similar position in other companies. Of course, if you’re certain that the current company culture is exactly what you want and you can get along with everyone except your boss, perhaps you can consider an internal transfer instead of leaving the company.