Career Coach Tips on How to Deal With a Difficult Boss
Work can be stressful at the best of times, and no one needs added stress. Your boss should be a leader who guides you with their knowledge and passion, helping you to do your best work. Unfortunately, some individuals get into positions of power with a range of less-than-desirable traits, which do not serve their dedicated team at all. Some leaders can be tyrannical and angry, leading you do feel anxious about your work day ahead and making you nervous to make mistakes. So, how can you best cope in a situation like this? Ashley Stahl is a Career Coach, Author and Speaker who specialises in finding people their best career fit, empowering them to refuse to settle for anything less in their chosen paths. Read more to see her tips on how to deal with a difficult boss.
1. “My boss assumes I have done something wrong and she/he isn’t willing to listen my explanation.”
Ashley: If you want this issue to get real attention and value, email your boss to ask for an appointment time to discuss “workflow.” By making this an appointment and not a casual hallway conversation, you’ve already given it focus it wouldn’t have otherwise gotten. Start the conversation with sharing your fear (within reason) and your hope. For example, “My fear when scheduling this meeting was that I wouldn’t say perfectly what I’m hoping to get across, my hope is you can bear with me so that we can have even stronger workflow and results.”
From there, when you sit down in the office, steer clear of any character statements or blame with your boss. Instead, make sure to use “I,” “me,” and “my,” statements. For example: “I tend to struggle when,” “my judgment call was X,” etc.
2.“My boss is constantly has a really rude, bad manner. What should I do?”
Ashley: If your boss is toxic, it may just be time to go. That being said, maintain professionalism at all times, and if their tone is really unkind, fearlessly ask (with kindness): “I’ve noticed sometimes it feels for me as though I’m [insert the issue here: disappointing you, in the way, not living up to what you’re hoping for], does this feel accurate? Am I misunderstanding the situation perhaps? What can I do to make things ideal here and support you as an employee?”
This curiosity, willingness to confront, and refusal to make assumptions should at least bring this to your boss’ awareness, and the curiosity will either inspire them to open as to what you can do to help their situation, or it will make them take responsibility for themselves. If neither happens, it may be time for a new job.
3. “My boss isn’t happy with my work performance. How do I earn his or her trust back in a short period of time?”
Ashley: The first step to any healing process is to validate the other person, and the second one is to take full responsibility. Validating your boss could look like, whether you agree with them or not, letting them know you understand their feelings are hurt or see where they’re coming from. Validation can also look like sharing what they said that makes sense to you. From there, taking full responsibility for where you could have done better, or where you missed the mark, is key to healing your relationship with your boss and getting back on the path to trust.