deal with difficult boss

7 Tips to Deal with A Difficult Boss

best how to handle a narcissistic boss

What comes to your mind when I mention the movie Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year? Ranbir Kapoor and his good looks! Ofcourse. What else? Sunil Puri, the cantankerous bully, boss to a bunch of starry-eyed sales employees! We hated him, didn’t we?

A Danish study of 4,500 public service workers proved the adage that “people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers“. One of the researchers on the study, psychologist Matias Brødsgaard Grynderup, pointed out that, “We may have a tendency to associate depression and stress with work pressure and workload; however, our study shows that the workload actually has no effect on workplace depression.”

Having a difficult boss takes away the fun from work.

An observational study concluded that employees with toxic bosses were likely to have a life-threatening cardiac condition when compared to employees who have a healthy relationship with their bosses. So, yes, what seems relatively innocuous has such tangible effects on your health.

So, how do you deal with such a boss? You fight back? Daily? Do you whine about it? Regularly? Or do you get bullied?

No, you learn to manage such bosses and find a way not to let such challenging behavior affect the quality of your work.

Here are some tips for dealing with a demanding boss to save you from the Sunil Puris of this world. Read till the end to know about an act of self-preservation.

#1 Understand The Context

Before deciding the Modus Operandi of dealing with a demanding boss, you need to be absolutely sure that you are dealing with one in the first place. Why this caveat in the very beginning, you may ask.

In a professional setting, stakes are high, and a lot is on the line. You don’t want to read too much into a bad day at work and be at loggerheads with your boss. This might soil professional relations and even sour your interest in your job.

So what can you do to make sure that you are, infact, working under a complex manager? First, observe your boss. Was that outburst a one-time occurrence? Or is there a behavioral pattern you notice?

02 1Your boss:

➔ Micromanages everything that you do?

➔ Will not think twice before throwing you under the bus in a situation of crisis?

➔ Will not leave any opportunity to embarrass/disrespect you?

➔ Takes credit for your work?

➔ Gaslights you into believing that everything is fine and throws a “you are over reacting ya, Megha” when you try to bring issues up?

If the answer to even four of the above questions is affirmative, you sure have a demanding boss to deal with. However, if you find yourself in a situation where just letting this behavior go is growing, taking action is essential to improve your relationship with your boss.

1. Understand The Context

Before deciding the Modus Operandi of dealing with a demanding boss, you need to be absolutely sure that you are dealing with one in the first place. Why this caveat in the very beginning, you may ask.

In a professional setting, stakes are high, and a lot is on the line. You don’t want to read too much into a bad day at work and be at loggerheads with your boss. This might soil professional relations and even sour your interest in your job.

So what can you do to make sure that you are, infact, working under a complex manager? First, observe your boss. Was that outburst a one-time occurrence? Or is there a behavioral pattern you notice?

02 1Your boss:

➔ Micromanages everything that you do?

➔ Will not think twice before throwing you under the bus in a situation of crisis?

➔ Will not leave any opportunity to embarrass/disrespect you?

➔ Takes credit for your work?

➔ Gaslights you into believing that everything is fine and throws a “you are over reacting ya, Megha” when you try to bring issues up?

If the answer to even four of the above questions is affirmative, you sure have a demanding boss to deal with. However, if you find yourself in a situation where just letting this behaviour go is growing, taking action is essential to improve your relationship with your boss.

#2 Understand Their Motivations/Triggers

Managing your boss’s expectations is where you want to begin. Understand the motivations of your boss’s behaviour.

2. Understand Their Motivations/Triggers

Managing your boss’s expectations is where you want to begin. Understand the motivations of your boss’s behaviour.

Ask Yourself, 'How will you feel about it' - how to make a decision between two things

➔ What do they care about when reviewing a presentation?

➔ What for them qualifies as a successful meeting?

➔ What is their value system? (It might or might not align with yours)

➔ What makes him nervous?

Once you have a hold of this, you will be able to speak to their motivations and triggers. As a result, you will be better positioned to manage them, deliver results and avoid conflicts.

#3 Adapt to Evolve

From the long list of ‘types of bosses,’ let us pick a kind, say a Micromanager. A boss who wants to micromanage is a cynical person and lacks trust.
04 1You need to first identify this trait and realize that getting angry or resisting a conversation with your boss is just not going to work.

The boss likes a minute-to-minute update on the project you are working on? Give it to them. Get into a habit of giving period updates about your work.

If you keep at it, slowly, you will begin to cement trust with the boss, and they might as well realize that their compulsive need to manage you was unnecessary.

3. Adapt to Evolve

From the long list of ‘types of bosses,’ let us pick a kind, say a Micromanager.
04 1A boss who wants to micromanage is a cynical person and lacks trust. You need to first identify this trait and realize that getting angry or resisting a conversation with your boss is just not going to work.

The boss likes a minute-to-minute update on the project you are working on? Give it to them. Get into a habit of giving period updates about your work.

If you keep at it, slowly, you will begin to cement trust with the boss, and they might as well realize that their compulsive need to manage you was unnecessary.

#4 Empathize

What to do when your demanding boss answers to a difficult boss? What if all the rather harsh feedback you have been getting is just a spillover from a meeting with their ‘difficult boss’? What do you do in such a case? You empathize.

05 2Understand that there is nothing in it for you by making him look bad or putting him in a difficult situation. You will have to find a way to work around their weakness and even shield them if necessary. Treat this as an exercise in trust-building.

If your boss is running behind their deadline, offer to help. If your boss is forgetful, you try and keep a tab of all the details on a project.

The reward in such a situation may not be immediate, but you will reap its benefits in the longer run.

4. Empathize

What to do when your demanding boss answers to a difficult boss? What if all the rather harsh feedback you have been getting is just a spillover from a meeting with their ‘difficult boss’? What do you do in such a case? You empathize.05 2 Understand that there is nothing in it for you by making him look bad or putting him in a difficult situation. You will have to find a way to work around their weakness and even shield them if necessary. Treat this as an exercise in trust-building.

If your boss is running behind their deadline, offer to help. If your boss is forgetful, you try and keep a tab of all the details on a project.

The reward in such a situation may not be immediate, but you will reap its benefits in the longer run.

#5 Pick Your Battles Wisely

Remember that your workplace is not a battleground, and you cannot constantly be at war with your boss.

06 2They are going to be times where you would want to call out your boss’s toxic behavior, yell back at them or stop performing well because nothing seems to add up. Don’t do it.

Picking a fight now and then or whining about your boss’s misdemeanors might label you a slacker. And you are always running the risk of internalizing your hate for your boss. You will not even realize that it has begun to reflect in your work.

Handling a demanding boss with tact will set you apart and keep you focused on your work. That is why you are there anyway, remember? The Work. Take the high road to keep your integrity intact.

5. Pick Your Battles Wisely

Remember that your workplace is not a battleground, and you cannot constantly be at war with your boss.

06 2They are going to be times where you would want to call out your boss’s toxic behavior, yell back at them or stop performing well because nothing seems to add up. Don’t do it.

Picking a fight now and then or whining about your boss’s misdemeanors might label you a slacker. And you are always running the risk of internalizing your hate for your boss. You will not even realize that it has begun to reflect in your work.

Handling a demanding boss with tact will set you apart and keep you focused on your work. That is why you are there anyway, remember? The Work. Take the high road to keep your integrity intact.

#6 Talk to Your Boss

Do you feel demotivated, targeted, or left out because of your boss’s behaviour? Talk to them.

6. Talk to Your Boss

Do you feel demotivated, targeted, or left out because of your boss’s behaviour? Talk to them.

Talk to your Boss - handle an irritating boss

Schedule a meeting with them to take issues up and have an open and honest conversation about how you feel. Try not to get carried away by your emotions, lay things very clearly and precisely, and do not pin blames on them. Do not enter the room with a notion that the person is rigid and would not be open to feedback. Approach the situation with trust, honesty, and no prejudice.

Walking upto your boss’s cabin to address your concerns might not be the easiest thing to do, but it can prove to be highly effective in setting things straight with your boss.

#7 Keep A Detailed Record

Document. Document instructions, important notes, minutes of the meeting, and even conversations.

08 1It will keep you on the top of your game. You will be better prepared; the notes will come in handy during research for a project.

Find yourself being at the receiving end of abusive behavior from your boss? A detailed record will come in handy while taking the issue up with higher authorities at your organization.

A flimsy complaint with no or unsubstantiated claims will not help in taking your case forward. However, concrete evidence corroborated with well-documented references of your personal experience will only make your case stronger.

7. Keep A Detailed Record

Document. Document instructions, important notes, minutes of the meeting, and even conversations.

08 1It will keep you on the top of your game. You will be better prepared; the notes will come in handy during research for a project.

Find yourself being at the receiving end of abusive behavior from your boss? A detailed record will come in handy while taking the issue up with higher authorities at your organization.

A flimsy complaint with no or unsubstantiated claims will not help in taking your case forward. However, concrete evidence corroborated with well-documented references of your personal experience will only make your case stronger.

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Congratulations! You have successfully read the seven tips that will improve your relations with your demanding boss and make working a wonderful experience!

And since you stayed with us till the end, you surely deserve a helpful bonus tip! 

word image 8

Congratulations! You have successfully read the seven tips that will improve your relations with your demanding boss and make working a wonderful experience!

And since you stayed with us till the end, you surely deserve a helpful bonus tip!

Setting Boundaries: An Act of Self Preservation

In his 2016 book, Research in Occupational Stress and Well-Being, Seth Spain, assistant professor of Organizational Behavior at Binghamton University, defined bad bosses as “dysfunctional” or “dark.” While the former kind was found to lack skill and was just bad at their jobs, the latter types were mean, abusive, and downright toxic. Unfortunately, there is only as much you can do to deal with such bosses. You can only find ways to work around such behaviors.

Set Boundaries -handle angry boss

Demanding bosses often tend to become bullies and thus your worst nightmares! You will have to set boundaries in self-preservation. If you are doing your job in the best way you can and your boss still cannot get enough of criticizing you, put your foot down and stand up for yourself. Bullies get their power from people who get henpecked and cower under. You don’t give such people the satisfaction of asserting dominance over you. Instead, you ask questions and hold the boss accountable if required.

If you find yourself worrying about your boss’s behavior to a point where you have begun to underperform, you need to take a step back and reflect. First, ask yourself if you want to put up with such behavior. Then, go easy on yourself and realize that it is not always your job to empathize, especially with a bully.

A difficult boss is an occupational hazard at best. Dealing with them is not the only thing you want to do at your workplace. Recognize your emotional bandwidth to deal with a toxic work environment and leave if you have to; it is only for the better.

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I hope this wonderful piece helps you solidify your relation with your manager and boss. Do comment DEMANDING if your boss is a demanding one. We would love to hear from you!
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