Dealing With a Difficult Boss

A bad boss can quickly turn a great job into a nightmare. If you’re dealing with a less-than-pleasant manager, you probably live your work life on the edge.

Not everyone is management material, and, unfortunately, people who don’t have what it takes are often promoted to this line of work. Use these tips to get a better handle on your difficult boss.

Recognize Behavioral Triggers

There’s a good chance your boss isn’t unbearable all the time. Certain actions likely set them off, so pay close attention to the types of situations that precede a bad mood. When you know what triggers their anger, you can steer clear of these behaviors and help others do the same.

Mirror Their Communication Style

Get on the same wavelength as your boss by learning and adopting their preferred communication style. For example, if they’re a micromanager, provide regular updates on projects, even if you don’t have much to say. You’ll also want to be cognizant of their preferred medium, because you don’t want to constantly email a boss who prefers in-person conversations.

Stay One Step Ahead

Please your boss by learning to anticipate their requests. It’s hard to find fault with an employee who is always working on — or has already completed — assignments before they’re asked. Making your manager’s life easier is a great way to get on their good side.

Stand Your Ground

It’s not acceptable to speak to your boss in a disrespectful manner, but it is perfectly okay to stand up for yourself. If they belittle you, refuse to listen to your ideas or otherwise cross a line, find a firm — yet polite — way to explain their behavior isn’t okay. In some cases, they might not realize how terrible their conduct is. Speaking up might even earn you some well-deserved respect.

Determine What Motivates Them

Many of your boss’s negative reactions probably baffle you, but there might be good a reason for at least some of them. Try to put yourself in their shoes to understand their point of view. For example, if they’re a real stickler for the company dress code, it might be because human resources gets after them when their employees don’t follow the rules.

Try Not to Take It Personally

If your boss has a difficult personality, that has nothing to do with you. It can be hard not to take their bad attitude and negative comments to heart, but remember, they’re the one with the problem, not you. People like that lash out at anyone in their path, and right now, that happens to be you. Try your best to let their bad behavior roll off your shoulders.

Know When It’s Time to Quit

Some difficult bosses might be good people who put on a tough exterior, but this can’t be said for everyone. If you feel like you’ve tried everything to form a better relationship with your boss, but your efforts have been met with nothing but rudeness, it’s probably time to move on. You’re a fantastic employee anyone would be lucky to manage, so find a boss who deserves you.

Working for someone who treats you poorly can be mentally and physically taxing, but you don’t have to take it. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you find your next behavioral health position, contact us today at (513) 651-9500 or by email at

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