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How to Handle a Difficult Boss

One of the most common reasons employees quit their jobs is because of a difficult boss. If you find yourself in a situation where you find it nearly impossible to work with your boss, then it's time to take action to improve your relationship, or to think about further steps to take if you feel that the situation is out of your control. If you focus on being constructive and on keeping your cool, you may be surprised by how easy it is to handle a difficult boss after all.

Part 1 of 3: Improving your relationship

    1. Talk to your boss about it. You may feel like the absolute last resort is to actually talk to your boss about the problems you're having, but that's where you're mistaken. If you really want to improve your relationship with your boss instead of waiting for things to get worse, then the best thing you can do is ask your boss if you can schedule a time to talk and be honest about your feelings while maintaining your professionalism. Once you have face time with your boss, make eye contact, speak clearly, and let him or her know what the problem is.

      Make sure you focus on how your problem is with working with your boss, not your actual boss or some aspect of his or her personality. Talk about how you're having trouble communicating, which is making it more difficult to meet objectives, or say something else about how you're struggling to meet deadlines because of changing expectations. Frame the conversation so it sounds like you want your company to succeed, which can only happen if you and your boss work better together.

      It's important to choose your words carefully. Avoid any personal attacks that may offend your boss, and focus on discussing your work.

      Picking a time to talk in advance will keep your boss from being caught off guard and will give the situation the seriousness that it deserves.
  1. Work with your boss instead of against him or her. If you really want to improve your relationship with your boss, then you should work with your boss to improve the state of your company, instead of against your boss. Though it may feel good to make your boss look stupid at a meeting or to send a passive-aggressive email to your boss, in the long run, this won't do any good for your relationship and it won't make you feel any better. Furthermore, making your relationship with your boss even worse will make it harder to get your work done, and at the end of the day, nothing is more counterproductive than that.

    Help your boss achieve his goals by being helpful, present, and supportive. Even if he's difficult to deal with, your life will be easier if you move with the grain instead of against it.

    1. Keep track of all of your conversations. Keeping track of all of your conversations, whether it's through emails or memos, will help you be on top of your situation with your boss. Doing so will be helpful for two reasons. First, having a record or everything your boss said will help you in the event that your boss gives you confusing instructions or claims he or she didn't say something that he or she really said; you can use the written communication as evidence. Second, having a record of everything your boss says to you can be helpful if your relationship is so problematic that you want to discuss the situation with a supervisor; in that case, you'll have written proof that something is off.[3]

      If you're really struggling to communicate with your boss, then try to make sure that all of your communication happens in front of someone else, so that you have evidence of what happened if your boss tries to deny it.

      Document everything that you feel is relevant to your concerns with your boss. You may want to purchase a pocket planner so that you can enter the issues on the appropriate dates. Keep this private. You don't want to pull put the planner and scribble notes in front of him because that will cause more anger. You are keeping notes for your own sake, so that you have all your concerns backed up with facts. 


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