Your alarm goes off. It’s time to get up and face yet another dreaded day, rendered so by that one person in the workplace that drives you crazy way too many times throughout your eight-hour shift – the boss. For whatever reason, you don’t seem to be getting anywhere with the person in charge. Your high hopes that things will somehow improve by circumstance or divine intervention, or indeed your own efforts clearly isn’t happening, and being your boss’ subordinate is reaching an unbearable level.
Try your best not to fall into complete career despair. Regardless of the snags which are beyond your control, there are still ways to alleviate some of the stress and tension at work. Remember that in most cases, your suffering is shared by probably most of the staff who are working under this person’s command, though it may be an unspoken truth. You’re not alone. The following tips might help you cope with the anxiety that difficult bosses tend to fester:
Focus on what makes you happy
If you’re one of those fortunate people who actually loves their job in its entirety, this can be used to overlook the problematic supervisor’s flaws. Letting some things go will give you the freedom to pursue your passion for the job and excel in your work performance in the face of turmoil and challenge. However, if you’re one of those people that doesn’t really love their current state of employment, focus on what makes you happy outside of work to keep you motivated to deal with the immediate situation involving the difficult boss. Focus on how the money you’re earning contributes to your stability at home with family and friends. This’ll also help you get by until you can make good long-term plans.
Remember to chill out – I know that this can be extremely difficult at times, but when moments of frustration and anger occur, take a step back and try to relax. Don’t respond in animosity in the heat of the moment. Just be cool. I know from personal experience that getting yourself to calm down during a verbal attack can be laborious, but well worth the effort. After all, it beats being jobless, doesn’t it?
It might even be a good idea to talk things through again with the boss after both of you have had some time to clear your heads. It’s easier to make good decisions when you’re calm and rational. Relaxation and calming techniques such as taking some deep breaths may also help alleviate some immediate tension.
Give them the benefit of the doubt – It helps to be reminded that others don’t always know exactly what’s going on in this person’s life outside of work, or sometimes inside the workplace itself. When we don’t have all the facts, it’s easy to draw foregone conclusions about someone else’s troublesome behaviour. If the difficult boss’s behaviour seems erratic and suddenly disheveled, these are good indications that something else may be going on that may not have anything to do with you or your work performance.
Always do your best – Even if your difficult boss doesn’t praise, appreciate or even recognise all your hard work, don’t stop trying. If you keep giving it a 100%, the reasonable side of your boss will eventually acknowledge your efforts, whether they point it out directly to you or not. Other people will also notice your work, and these will include important individuals such as company executives or your boss’ superior. Your strife within a difficult working environment can earn you a reputation for being a hard worker and a problem solver. The more you work at this, the more you’ll see others come to you for your advice on important matters. In the long run, this will significantly pay off in your professional life.
Ask for advice – While some may believe that asking for advice or help is a sign of weakness, it can also be a sign of strength and leadership being demonstrated. If your boss complains and dresses you down in the presence of your colleagues, use it to your advantage to resolve the problem by asking for their advice. When they all know that the boss doesn’t like your performance on a certain matter, you’re in a position to ask more openly and directly for suggestions on how to deal with them and the challenge at hand. There are actually professional career coaches and employment agency resources where you can source advice and suggestions on how to deal with your boss.
Look at last resorts – For those who’ve spent way too many hours trying to resolve matters involving a difficult boss, it will eventually become clear that you’ll have to move on to looking at last-resort options. This can include reporting the problem by whistle blowing to the boss’ supervisor, applying for a transfer to another division, or simply quitting the job upon finding new employment. Sometimes, formulating such last-resort plans can actually help the current difficult situation get better because at the back of your own mind, you feel you have an ‘out’ from the circumstances. When we have an exit strategy, it actually relieves some of the stress of the situation that comes with the unknowns of the future. Also remember that if you’re planning to leave, getting a reference and a recommendation from colleagues you can trust will help you secure good employment elsewhere.