In an ideal workplace, we would all have a wonderful boss who helps bring out the best in us and makes those very stressful days at the office manageable. However, the reality is that some of us do have to deal with a difficult boss, whether as an entry-level employee or mid-career professional. They may come in different forms – the micromanager, the inept supervisor, or the temperamental boss.

Working with a demanding boss certainly has its role in not only shaping our professional lives but also in affecting our mental health. Difficult bosses and unjust management practices are the main culprits affecting the morale of employees. A bad working relationship with bosses has also been connected to workplace depression.

On the contrary, there is a strong link between a good boss and engaged employees. If bosses are able to create an environment where their team members feel valued and appreciated in the company, employees would become more satisfied and enjoy performing their work.

Managing Your Situation

One of the first few solutions that may come to mind would be to simply resign from your job; however, leaving a difficult boss may just lead you to another. Here are some approaches you can take to possibly overcome the situation:

1) Watch for Triggers

If your boss is impatient, this approach may help. Ask about deadlines and set expectations upfront before embarking on any task. Be proactive in providing regular updates to assure your boss that you are on top of the task.

If one of your boss’s pet peeves is tardiness, try to arrive at the office a few minutes earlier everyday. The key is to understand the situations that would trigger your boss’s displeasure and avoid them.

2) Know Your Boss’s Preferences and Adapt to Them

Take note of your boss’s preferences and try to adapt your working style accordingly. If, for instance, your boss would rather receive updates on projects through emails than face-to-face meetings, write to them.

Working with your boss and not against them is an effective way to manage your boss. This will also help you manage your boss’s expectations better and paint them as a competent leader.

Tip: Put yourself in their shoes. One of the best ways to improve your relationship with your boss is to try to see things from their perspective. What are some of the challenges they face in a position of leadership? What goals do they want to achieve? How would you manage if you were in a similar position? These are the factors influencing your boss’s behaviour in the workplace.

3) Speak Up

If the situation does not improve despite your best efforts, it is time to speak up. Consider arranging a one-on-one meeting with your boss to voice your concerns. Be concise about the improvements you are seeking in the workplace. Avoid assuming your boss would not care less about how you feel and that they would not be receptive to constructive feedback.

You could also raise the issue with the human resources (HR) department. Share with them instances of unjust behaviour displayed by your boss, and explain that you have attempted to improve the situation and still have the desire to do so. By taking this step, you open windows of opportunity to improve your working relationship with your boss.

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