If you have ever experienced a screaming, micromanaging or unpredictable boss, you’re not alone.
Learning how to work with a prickly supervisor can help you make the best out of a tough situation. Your patience may be tested, but you can still persevere and stay on track with your career goals.
Here are 8 strategies to help you handle a difficult leader.
1. Get Inside your Boss’s Mind
Understand their motivations, pet peeves and what makes them happy. Take note of when their temper tends to flare. Let this insight guide you in finding a way to work towards a common goal of cooperation.
2. Look at Your Own Behavior
Evaluate your contribution to the friction in the relationship. Do you consistently arrive to the sales meeting five minutes late? Do you sense your boss doesn’t think your input is valid? Have you done your homework before meeting with a client? Take an honest look at what you can do to improve the relationship.
3. Follow Up in Writing
This is especially important if your boss tends to change their mind or forget what was said. After meeting, summarize the information discussed in an email, and include any further actions that need to be taken. If they come back later to question what you are doing, you can reference the correspondents as a reminder of the previous instructions.
4. Be Impeccable
There can be temptation to let your work slide when your boss is negative. Do your best work at all times and maintain a good attitude. Give proactive updates on projects instead of waiting until you’re asked. When a meeting starts, be there early, prepared and ready to engage. A solid performance on the job along with a positive outlook can keep you out of a grumpy boss’s cross hairs. Pick the right mode of communication. If your boss is truly intolerable, limit your exposure as much as possible. Emails are efficient and remove the face to face struggle.
If your boss’s behavior is affecting your attitude or performance, request a meeting to discuss your concerns. Assume they are unaware of their behavior and its impact. Have a conversation like such: “You may not realize, but you have a tendency to raise your voice and roll your eyes when you disagree with me in public. It makes me feel uncomfortable and disrespected.” The key is to let him or her know how their behavior affects your productivity and ultimately, their business. Ask for suggestions on how you two can build a better relationship moving forward.
6. Remember You Have a Choice
It’s easy to feel trapped in a job you are unhappy in, probably because of the steady paycheck it offers. Keep in mind you always have options to improve your situation such as seeking a transfer to another department or looking for a new job altogether.
7. Forge Alliances Elsewhere
Build relationships with others in the company. You will begin to feel more valued and the connections may lead to other opportunities under different supervisors within the company. Look for support and guidance from another seasoned professional in your company or industry.
8. Avoid Complaining
Refrain from gossip and badmouthing your boss to others at work or in your professional circles. Nothing good comes from being labeled as a negative employee. Constantly complaining has the potential to damage your reputation and career.
You may also like 4 Ways to Maintain Your Composure Under Stress. For more of Diane’s etiquette tips read her posts on Inc., subscribe to her articles on The Huffington Post, “like” The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook, and follow her on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. Buy her new book, Modern Etiquette for a Better Life here.