Managing That Horrible Boss

Most of us have been there. We’re in a job role we would ordinarily love if it weren’t for our horrible boss. You try to find joy in what you’re doing, but your boss wreaks havoc every time you attempt to move forward.

It’s a terrible spot to be in when you love what you’re doing and are good at your job but are regularly brought back to a negative reality when your boss gets involved.

Who can you talk to, especially if your boss is the core authority?

If the situation is awful, with no other options for a reprieve, it may be time to leave. But before you take that drastic action, ask yourself, “Have you done everything you can to make things better without giving notice? “Is there a way to “manage” the existing environment?”

We’re all human, and you should rule out any underlying variables responsible for your bosses’ behavior. Consider putting yourself in their shoes, but first, forget they’re your boss, and look at your current situation from an outsider’s point of view.

If you’ve reached this point, you may not feel comfortable speaking to them openly. This scenario is unfortunate, as many times, a reasonable conversation could go a long way to clearing the air and repairing a negative situation.
Let’s first try to determine the “why” for the behavior you find to be unbearable.
A clearer understanding of what influences his demeanor gives you a more straightforward path to what prompts certain moods.
  • What does he consider a successful outcome? For example, how does he measure project results?
  • What is his worse fear? Does he have superiors who evaluate him as harshly as he judges you?
  • What makes him smile? Does he love it when you finish in advance of a deadline?
  • What makes him frown? Does he get grouchy when people don’t think on their feet and provide input during a meeting?

If you can figure out some of the above, you can try alternating how you approach him by simply rephrasing a sentence, performing a task differently, or doing more things he finds smile-worthy.

Help to Facilitate the Success of Your Boss

If your boss is the company owner or a division or department leader, you could share their success if you’re willing to help make it happen.

Why should you help someone who has been a bad boss? Is it possible that they have a weakness preventing them from accomplishing their own goals at a peak performance level? If you’re up for it, this could be a way to shine in their eyes.

For example, if they’re not great at keeping a project moving forward with all parties involved, perhaps use your project management skills to help manage that process. And at the same time, you could bring a focus to their strengths, boosting their ego.

It would be best if you didn’t attempt to “outshine” your superior in front of others but instead worked to make him look good behind the scenes. These actions go a long way, and there’s a strong chance their demeanor could change toward you, especially when you reduce their stress level. Others will know who is doing what, but by demonstrating that team attitude while becoming indispensable to your boss, it’s most likely the world as you know it at the office could change for the positive.

You may soon find that you’re the go-to person when they need assistance which could open more doors for you.

Horrible Bosses – Trailer

Quitting is not an option, so, with the benefit of a few-too-many drinks and some dubious advice from a hustling ex-con, the three friends devise a convoluted and seemingly foolproof plan to rid themselves of their respective employers…permanently.

LS3 is not recommending this behavior, and this video is included for the purpose of a good laugh.

Voice Your Feelings

Before you give up:
  1. Consider privately requesting a meeting to share your feelings with your boss.
  2. Use this opportunity to discuss how you feel openly.
  3. Preface the conversation with something non-threatening to set a more relaxed, non-judgment zone. For example: “I would love the opportunity to talk to you about some of the areas of discomfort I’ve been feeling, and hoping I can speak openly as I value your input.”

Write down your thoughts in advance so that you don’t miss anything, and ONLY include areas that directly affect your performance or morale. If your list is too long, there may be no hope of arriving at a “happy medium.”

Getting too petty or into the weeds isn’t productive. And, whenever possible, include a solution to something currently challenging.

During the meeting, keep the following suggestions in mind:
  • Allow them to respond without interruption. You may be surprised to find they have similar challenges or feel the same way.
  • Always keep your voice neutral. Scream at the top of your lungs if that’s how the meeting is going. But ONLY in private after you’ve exited the building for the day.
  • No blame games, as you’re both adults and can accept constructive criticism. This could quickly become a learning exercise for both of you and a starting point for future communication.

It’s incredible how you can misinterpret behavior and if you genuinely love your job, do all you can to make it a comfortable environment for everyone involved. And, of course, if nothing works, it’s time to move on once you’re secured another position.

For both employers and employees, if you’ve reached the point of no return, we’re here to help you take the needed steps to move on to the next opportunity.