People decide to leave jobs based on the people they work with, especially their boss. Dealing with a difficult boss is demanding at best and emotionally stressful at worst. It can impact work performance, sleep habits, home life, and working relationships, even outside of the one with your boss. A terrible boss is invasive to the heart, mind, and soul for many people. Many employees think that by just doing the best job they can, by being a model employee or by working harder and longer, the boss will recognize them and appreciate them. However, if communication style, mismatched expectations or a value disconnect are at the heart of the differences, no matter how hard you work, your boss isn’t going to recognize it.
It is of no surprise that employees who quit their jobs are most frequently leaving their bosses, not necessarily the company. Before quitting the job, here are few ways to help manage a difficult boss.
While this step may sound difficult, try to be the bigger person and reflect on what your boss might be going through. Are they dealing with a difficult manager or under extreme stress? Perhaps there’s something going on in their personal life that is affecting the way they’re handling things at work. Practising empathy can help you understand their perspective and perhaps even realize that their behaviour towards you isn’t personal.
Vent outside of the office.
It’s healthy, normal, and totally necessary to process your emotions, especially when you’re under constant stress. Otherwise, you may find yourself with pent-up anger, ready to blow at any moment. ‘Feel all the feels’ by talking it out with a friend or family member, and then let those feelings go. This will make you and things around more pleasant, and you’ll have a greater capacity to handle whatever your boss throws your way on the job.
Incorporate mindfulness at work.
It drastically lowers stress levels, which is critical when dealing with a difficult boss; practice focusing on the present moment. This means not dwelling on what your boss said to you yesterday or worrying about what they might say tomorrow. Another tip is to focus on your breathing. The next time your boss says something that is about to throw you into a tailspin, sit and practice deep breathing, repeat until you feel calmer. Simple exercises like these will help you keep your cool and allow you to look at things with a clearer head.
Reflect on the relationship.
Is your boss bringing everyone else on the team down or are they mainly focused on you? If you notice that you’re one of the only one having a negative relationship with your boss, take a step back and ask yourself how it got that way? Is there a concern regarding your performance? Did something happen that they expect you to take responsibility of? In case, the last one seems a better fit in this situation, we suggest you try and rectify the situation as soon as possible. If it isn’t the case, go ahead and vent; just don’t do it inside of the job.
Think and talk thoughtfully.
Talking less and listening more is the best thing you can do to have a good working relationship. Try to not let yourself become too angry and do not get offended easily. Keep calm knowing that you can only do your best. This is a professional trait that sometimes is undervalued, but can have a real payoff.
Avoid being petty.
Backstabbing and gossiping are unprofessional; and not a nice thing to boast. This should not be practised in the workplace because this only destroys the relationships and the desire to cooperate.
Dealing with a difficult boss is not a joke. If you’ve practised these techniques and still find your boss to be intolerable, refresh your resume, and consider leaving ASAP. Staying in a toxic work environment isn’t worth it. The last thing you want to do is compromise your sanity or your health in a negative environment.