We are not guaranteed to get along with everyone we meet. But what do we do if the person we have difficulty getting along with is our boss? You are likely stuck with this person and your job depends on you being able to get along.
How to Deal with A Difficult Boss
Get acquainted with your boss’s irritants. If the last employee was fired for consistent tardiness, make it a point to arrive early and leave late. If she is allergic to cologne, use good judgment and refrain from spritzing your morning scent.
Do not arrive empty handed. When taking a meeting with your boss, always be prepared with a notepad and writing tool. It’s unprofessional to show up ill prepared and then have to ask your boss to wait while you get something to write on. (This one makes me very crabby!!!!!)
Put it in writing. If you have a boss that constantly changes the direction of a project, immediately after your meeting, email an overview of his or her directives for confirmation, including a projected date of completion. When your boss changes the terms, you can refer to the original request and alter the deadline date as needed based on the additional time it will take to go in another direction.
Compile a list of concerns. Keep your list factual and omit any emotions or feelings. Do this for several weeks and see if his behavior is temporary or a recurring trend.
Schedule a meeting to discuss your concerns. If your boss is making your workplace miserable, consider an informal, emotionless discussion regarding some of your concerns. She may not even be aware of her behavior and while you run the risk of offending your boss, it is also an attempt to make a difficult situation better.
Let your boss know that your goal is to make him look good. Reasoning with your boss and requesting his assistance may (or may not) help him understand how his actions affect your work. “I want our company to shine and it’s important to me to create an excellent proposal package. Therefore I need clear directions and concise objectives.”
Take a close look at your own behavior. Do you always run 5 minutes late? Need weekly time off for personal appointments or consistently acquire a new illness? The message you are sending may be part of the issue.
Tips on how to deal with “Difficult Boss Styles”:
Unaware. “I’m sure you are not aware that you often change your mind midway through a project and have given me 3 different directives on the current project that I am working on. This always resulted in a delayed completion date and you get frustrated with the delay.”
Still needs improvement. If your boss has stated that he realizes he needs to work on his attitude: “I appreciate the fact that you are sensitive to your own body language. I know you are attempting to reduce your eye rolling but please be aware that correcting me in public or making a fist are still mannerisms that make me feel uncomfortable.”
My way or the highway. This is a sign of a bully. After several attempts to rectify a bad situation, you might consider asking for a transfer and putting down in writing the reason why. In this economy, it’s difficult to just quit a job unless your health is being jeopardized and you are losing sleep due to stress. Limit exposure to your boss and utilize email to check facts and offer feedback.