The second article in a new series where we take an in-depth look at common workplace problems.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in a world where every manager is good one. However, we do live in a world where you can choose to respond professionally and make the best of the situation.
How to tell if your boss is difficult:
We could go on…
Before you go running for the hills to find yourself a new job, try dealing with the situation head-on, by following these tips:
You may be asking yourself ‘how did this person become a manager?’. Just remember that sometimes the best employees don’t have good management skills. They may have worked their way up by being good at their jobs, but just can’t handle leadership. In that case, the best way to deal with the situation is to be forgiving and try to support them instead of finding ways to attack or undermine them.
Consider that they may be dealing with demands and pressures from higher up in the company.
When they ask you to do something that you can show you’ve already done, they may start to trust you more to get the job done without them telling you every step of the way.
What motivates your boss? What do they care about? What parts of their work do they love and hate? Use actions and words to highlight to your boss that what you’re doing is in line with their values. Use language that appeals to them, know their preferences and adapt to them.
If your boss is incompetent, they will already be doing a good job of making themselves look bad – chances are, you’re not the only one who has noticed. Instead, focus on doing your own job well and work around the weaknesses in their management – whether it is organisation, team building, or thinking long-term instead of only reacting to immediate projects. This will make you indispensable to your boss and hopefully give you long-term rewards.
If your boss takes lots of time off, doesn’t do much work, or has a lack of motivation, for instance, make sure that you stay focussed and don’t start to copy their behaviours. Equally, if your boss is confrontational or angry, don’t respond in kind. Think about your own reputation further down the line in your career – this person won’t always be your boss.
This can lead to a toxic work environment. Don’t be afraid to address your concerns, but do it in a respectful way. Make a list of the issues, how they can be solved practically, and show you want to work together going forward to reach the company’s goals.
If you think you may be dealing with a bullying boss (or co-worker), there are some things you can do to try to resolve the situation: