4 Techniques to Help You Deal With a Difficult Boss

difficult-bossEditor’s Note: This is a guest post from Adrienne Carlson.

If life could be split into two general parts, work would take up one compartment and personal life the other. While we tend to put our personal relationships on a higher rung, work too is significant in the larger scheme of things because it puts food on our table and provides us with the money we need to lead a comfortable life.

So when your work life is not satisfactory, your personal life suffers too, because as much as we may try to keep the two like parallel lines that never meet, the fact is that they are like train tracks that tend to cross over and merge once in a while. So if you have the misfortune of working with a boss who is difficult, your work tensions may spill over into and ruin your personal life, which is why you must know how to deal with superiors who make your work life a heavy cross to bear.

A few ways to deal with a difficult boss are to:

1. Keep a low profile

If you feel your boss is picking on you for no reason at all, the best thing to do is keep a low profile and stay out of his/her hair. Give them fewer chances to take off on you by keeping to yourself and letting their ire subside before you run into them again. Most bosses go through phases where they tend to pick on employees for a certain period of time. A friend of mine ran into some trouble with his boss even though he was not at fault. The problem arose because a few people who were against him at the office bad-mouthed him and their boss was biased enough to believe them without giving my friend the benefit of the doubt. Instead of arguing his case (which was a pointless exercise as his boss was a jerk), my friend chose to avoid getting in his way, and in a few weeks, this issue was forgotten. So if enough time goes by and you deliberately avoid adding to their irritation, something else invariably crops up and you find that you’re off the hook.

2. Don’t neglect your work

If you’ve been doing your job effectively and continue to prove yourself, you don’t give your boss additional reasons to be difficult towards you. There was a problem at work recently that arose because of payment issues – my boss felt I was taking too much time off and also demanding a higher salary. I felt that I was entitled to raise because my work proved it, and my time off was due to mitigating circumstances. Instead if arguing my point, I dedicated myself to proving my worth through my work so that my boss would not grudge having to pay me more. Some superiors tend to pile work on those who they know are capable of getting it done (even when it is beyond the call of duty) and who they know cannot refuse to comply to an order. Instead of stressing yourself out because you’re not able to complete all this extra work, explain to your boss firmly but politely why it is not possible to take on more work than you have at the moment.

3. Know when to stay silent

Very often, superiors hate being proved wrong, especially if it is in the company of people who work under them. So in situations where you know you’re right and your boss is wrong, it’s ok to be magnanimous and stay silent instead of risking your boss’s ire and fire. Even if you’re being taken to task for no fault of your own, sometimes it’s better to just apologize and get on with your work. You save yourself further harassment from your boss if you restrain yourself from arguing with him/her. None of us like to be proved wrong, especially if we’re in a position of considerable power. So putting yourself in your boss’s shoes (no matter how distasteful that must be), could help you understand and accept this situation.

4. Leave the office at work

No matter how difficult your boss is, you must learn to leave the office behind after your work day is done. If you carry all the tensions and stress associated with the job back home, your personal life is going to suffer too, so if things are really bad, it’s better to ask to be transferred or search for a new job and quit once you’ve found one. Your health is important and if your relationship with your boss is affecting it adversely, you must not hesitate to quit.

This guest article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of accelerated online degrees . Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address: adrienne.carlson1@gmail.com.

Need a boost to your work happiness? Then check out the Happy at Work Project and start one yourself.

* Evita over at Evolve Beings has a really amazing guest post called Redefining Success: Why I Quit My Job.

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* Image courtesy of Symic

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