In an ideal workplace, we would all have fantastic supervisors and managers who help bring out the best in our work and make those very stressful days at the office manageable. But the reality is, whether we are new employees or mid-career professionals, some of us may actually need to deal with a difficult boss.
They can come in different forms – the micromanager, the inept superior or the temperamental boss – but they are similar in the sense that they can make our working experience rather unpleasant.
It’s not my work. It’s my boss.
Working with a demanding boss certainly has its role not only in shaping our professional life but also in affecting our mental health. A study published in the scientific journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine revealed that the amount of workload has little to do with people leaving their jobs.
It’s actually an unfair boss and unjust management that are the main culprits when it comes to affecting the morale of employees. Not having a good working relationship with superiors has also been connected to workplace depression.
On the contrary, there is a strong link between a good boss and engaged employees. According to a research by global management consulting firm, Gallup, managers account for 70% of variance in employee engagement. If bosses are able to create an environment where their team members feel valued and appreciated in the company, they become more satisfied and enjoy performing their work.
Managing Your Situation
Though it can be tough to go to work knowing you have to face your boss, ultimately, it’s our ability to manage the situation that will help us overcome it. So how do you deal with a difficult boss?
While the easiest solution would be to just leave, the reality is that there are many types of bosses out there who may not suit our personalities nor preference, and leaving one may just lead you to another. Instead of taking the easy way out, try these approaches first:
Watch for Triggers
If your boss is impatient, this approach may help:
Ask about deadlines and set expectations upfront before embarking on every task. Initiate to give regular updates to assure your boss that you are on top of the task and working on it.
The key is to know what situations that will trigger your boss’ displeasure. For example, if one of your boss’ pet peeves is tardiness and, try to get to the office 15 minutes early each day.
Know Your Boss’ Preferences and Adapt to Them
Take note of his/her preferences as well and the things that bring out their good side and try to adapt your work style accordingly.
For example, if your boss prefers getting updates through e-mails rather than long meetings, then match your style with that. Working along with your boss and not against him/her is a good way of managing your boss without them even noticing.
This will help you manage your boss’ expectations better and also help your boss look like an effective leader. And making your boss look good may actually have more benefits for you, too as we explained on our post: How to Get a Raise Without Asking.
Extra Tip: Put Yourself In Your Boss’ Shoes. One of the best ways to improve your relationship with your boss is to try to see things from his/her perspective. What pressures are affecting him/her at her leadership position? What goals does he/she have to achieve?How will I manage if I were in a similar position? These factors may all be affecting your boss’ behaviour at the workplace.
If things don’t improve after you’ve made changes to your approach, then it’s time to speak up. First, try to set a one-on-one meeting with your boss to voice out your concern. Be very concise about what you want changed. Don’t prejudge your boss and think that he/she could care less about how you feel and won’t accept any feedback.
You can also bring your case to the HR. Show them the documented instances you have been jotting down and explain that you have already tried to adjust and make things work better and you still have the desire to do so.
It may be easier to just suffer in silence or vent to your colleagues about it, but by letting HR know, you are at least giving your boss the chance to respond and explain the opportunity to improve the working relationship.
Liked this post? Check out more valuable info that can help improve your career: Here Are 5 Myths That Are Holding You Back From Success In The Workplace.All content is produced and published by IMPACT! Brand Communications.