Dealing with a Difficult Boss

Many of us have dealt with a prickly boss.  Often difficult bosses are people who like to be in leadership roles but are not necessarily good leaders. 

A difficult boss may:

How can you work with a difficult boss?

Take a moment to reflect on who else in your life may have related to you in this dismissive way.  If you had a parent, lover, friend, who related to you in a destructive pattern, did you respond to them by setting clear limits, becoming helpless, or having outbursts?  You want to separate your previous experience from your current work experience.  Do not get caught in an emotional tangle and let your emotions burst (or deflate) with your boss.  Instead stay in the present, remember your priorities at work, and set clear limits with your boss.

The Harvard Business Review published a series on managing up targeting how employees can develop positive relationships with their bosses no matter how challenging the boss may be.  One of the key factors to managing up is to be a competent employee.  We can become more competent by honing our skills, taking classes, reading, receiving mentorship, and other resources.

The last tip is to show your integrity.  Be a team player by volunteering for the tasks others may not want to take.  Show self-control in how you communicate and act.  Just as we teach children to help their peers, as co-workers we can also help our colleagues.  By acting as a team player with integrity, you help build trust in your work relationships.  Trust is a major factor in building a positive working alliance.

What would a positive productive relationship with your current boss look like?  Now take a little trip into the future- imagine you are talking to your future self who is experiencing this positive productive working relationship.  What would your future self advise you to do?  Perhaps your future self would tell you to focus on the bigger picture, keep your goals in the forefront of your mind, set clear limits, show your expertise and integrity.