Who is a difficult boss?
Anyone who is a manager or supervisor in the workplace who causes others (read subordinates) to feel anxious, stressed or intimidated is a difficult boss.
What are the effects of having a difficult boss?
The following effects are often felt by those in the line of fire:
- Difficulty in concentrating and feeling frazzled and unable to work effectively.
- Easily angered
- Job dissatisfaction
How do you deal with a difficult boss?
- Never react to verbal abuse or harsh criticism with emotion. This will worsen the situation as it degenerates into a clash of egos. The key then is not to react, but to acknowledge and move on. By doing this, you effectively strip all of the power behind the verbal attacks from your abusive boss, without creating conflict.
- If your boss is an intimidator or a “control freak”, the best way of dealing with their behaviour is to remain calm and acknowledge their power by saying “You are right. I’m sorry”.
- Discuss rather than confront. If your boss criticises your work, then that means they have their own idea on how that work should be done, so seek their advice on how your work can be improved.
- Manage the manager. When you have a new manager you should take a proactive approach and be clear from the very beginning so that there is no mis-communication later on. Discussing issues at the very beginning will allow you to see things from their perspective as well as sharing your own with them. Get to know their likes and dislikes inside and out so that you can avoid criticism.
- Know that you can do little to change your boss. Therefore, it will be very difficult, if not impossible to change their outlook or personality. Do not expect to change how they behave, instead, change the way that you view their behaviour. Perhaps, easier said than done!
- Have a Plan B. It is the possibly the best alternative that you can come up with if you know you are facing conflict or negotiations. Your best Plan B would take the form of having an actual job offer in hand with another employer. Without this plan your boss will have more leverage over you because they assume you have no where else to go. Having a Plan B empowers you with the ability to walk away at any time should negotiations fail to yield the desired result. Increase your power and have a Plan B before you deal with conflict.
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