How to Deal with A Difficult Boss

Nothing can make a job more unpleasant than a horrible boss. It can make a good job bad and a bad job unbearable, leaving you feeling undervalued, depressed and exhausted.  

And there isn’t just one kind of bad boss. You could be dealing with a micromanager, someone who shows blatant favouritism, a boss who has anger management issue or has a serious case of absenteeism.  

Before you fire up the job searching sites, check out some of the things you can do to deal with a bad boss.

1. Understand Their Motivation 

In any relationship, if you know what makes a person tic it can be a lot easier to understand their actions. Take some time to look into the way your boss behaves and their style of leadership. This will help you get to know the triggers that cause them to act in a negative way towards you or more positively towards others. You can also understand how to deliver the results they’re looking for and manage your own expectations.

2. Don’t Let it Affect Your Work

It can be tempting to let a horrible boss influence the way you do things. If your boss is never there it can seem appealing to slack off or if they insult everything you do you may feel like not even trying. Don’t let that happen. You should also make sure that you take the high-road. It can be easy to gossip and bad mouth your boss to other employees, but this only reflects negatively on you. Remember, you may need fellow employees and this job as a reference one day.

3. Speak Up

The only way to create change is to voice your concerns. It may be possible that your boss doesn’t even know that they are creating a bad environment in the workplace. Approach your boss with some of the issues you have been dealing with in a calm manner. If things don’t change or you don’t feel comfortable going to your boss, go to your human resources department to discuss some of the issues. If you don’t have an HR department, or things are getting out of control contact, Occupational Health and Safetyor the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

4. Focus on Your Mental Health

Bad bosses can make anyone stressed out and not able to perform their daily work responsibilities. Try and use some stress management tools. Takes some time out to do some meditation at work or go for a nice walk outside at lunch. Talk to your friends or family about your issues. If these tools aren’t working try reaching out to professional mental health resources such as the Distress Centre.

5. Get Representation

Dealing with a horrible boss can make you feel powerless and alone. If you have the representation of a labour union it can make things a lot easier. With a union, you have a collective agreement that outlines exactly what is expected of management and employees and if any of this is violated you don’t have to be afraid to speak up. You also have a Shop Steward in your workplace looking out for employee rights every day. Basically, you have a team to stand behind you when dealing with bad management.

Dealing with a bad boss every working day can make you feel hopeless. No matter what, always remember that you’re not alone in this. People in every industry and at every level deal with bad management. Just know that you deserve better and you can make a change. 


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