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0011_Ten tips for dealing with difficult bosses

Ten tips for dealing with difficult bosses

European Business Listicle 9/2018

We have all experienced it – our boss has unrealistic expectations, little understanding for mistakes, and no interest in the needs of the employees. Dealing with particularly difficult managers often causes unease, anger, aggression and, in some cases, depression. We have compiled 10 tips, which can help you to avoid this horrible situation and cope better with difficult bosses.

1. “I didn’t know that” – Avoid lack of clarity

Do you have the feeling that instructions from your manager are unclear or even incomplete? It is better to address such issues clearly and immediately. To work at cross purposes is not only annoying, but it causes unnecessary tension in the relationship between boss and employee.

2. “I am disappointed because …” – Talk about how you feel

If you think you have been wrongly accused of making a mistake, you should definitely address the issue. Do not simply absorb everything, but talk about what is bothering you, and why, in a clear and measured way.

3. “Next time it will be better” – Deal with mistakes constructively

Mistakes are completely human, and happen to all of us. It is important to explain them without putting yourself down. Explain errors confidently, and make suggestions for improvement. This way, you demonstrate a proactive attitude, and the ability to learn from your mistakes.

4. “Today I should just leave him alone” – Sit out tantrums

Sometimes even the best strategy simply doesn’t help. If the boss is steaming with anger, it is not a bad idea to wait, and tackle the situation when he has calmed down.

5. “Can I have that in an e-mail” – Get agreements in writing

Trust is good, control is better. Try to have important agreements or promises in writing. You are then on the safe side, and you can avoid arguments. With a difficult manager, this can only be an advantage!

6. “It’s my boss, not my family” – Don’t take things personally

Is your boss is being difficult again? Try not to take it too much to heart. You shouldn’t just put up with it but, every now and then, not taking everything too seriously can be calming.

7. “I recognize that from somewhere” – Study the behavior patterns of your manager

True to the motto ‘knowledge is power’, you should study the typical behavior of your boss and draw your own conclusions from it. If you know in advance that, with your manager, after point A often comes point C, you can prepare accordingly.

8. “How do you see the whole picture?” – Listen to the assessment of your colleagues

Do you have a problem with your manager, and don’t know what to think about the situation? Ask a colleague that you trust for an assessment. The opinion of a third party can often be very valuable.

9. “He has a sense of humour” – Find something positive about your manager

Even if the boss is difficult, there is usually at least one thing that is, on reflection, not so bad. Try to find something positive about your manager – even the little pleasures in life can make the day easier.

10. “Now I’ll switch off” – Clear you head in your free time

Of course, stress with the boss can’t always be completely avoided. At home, it is therefore important not to think too much about work and your boss. Try to switch off and enjoy your free time, and the time with friends and family.

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