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Dealing With a Difficult Boss

It can be a difficult situation when you find you are dealing with a ‘bad boss.’ A ‘bad boss’ may take credit for other peoples work, not give credit when credit is due, be moody and short tempered, or buckle under pressure – leaving the rest of the team without support.

Unfortunately if you have a bad boss or manager, you may find yourself becoming disengaged with your work and the organisation will suffer.

It is important that you take the following steps towards taming a bad boss, as although it may seem a challenge, it will be worthwhile in the long run.

The steps to dealing with a bad boss

The following dot points are the steps you should take when dealing with a difficult boss.

Understand your boss

Identify if your boss knows they’re bad.  There is a high possibility they do not realise the effect of their actions on others in the workplace, however there is also the chance they do. Remember, the term ‘bad boss’ is in the eye of the beholder, the term can change depending on the employee’s needs, circumstances and the boss’s skills.

Try and see the situation from your boss’s point of view, they may not have the same values as you, see their lack of support as empowering their staff, or perhaps the demanding workplace tasks have gone past their abilities.

Communicate

Talk to your boss. Make it clear to your boss what you as a team require as a leader in terms of direction and support. Make sure you do this in a polite manner to insure the talk doesn’t backfire and create more of a problem. Work towards providing the needed assistance your boss details.

During the talk make sure that you ask your manager how you can assist in reaching their set goals, and make sure you listen carefully to their reply.

Get a mentor

Seek out a mentor from other managers in the workplace (with your boss’s knowledge), so that you have the chance to broaden your experience working with a range of different people with broad skills and knowledge.

If you have done all the above and you are yet to see an improvement in your boss’s attitudes and actions, it may be worthwhile taking the issue to their boss or your workplace HR team for them to deal with.

Wait a reasonable amount of time for your boss to adapt their actions. If you still see no change you should approach other people who have experienced the same problems and approach your boss’s manager.

Again if there is no improvement , you may want to investigate transferring departments or looking for another job.

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About the Author: William Lang

William Lang
Bill Lang has over 25 years professional experience working as an organisation strategy and development consultant and C-suite Executive Coach. Early in his career he worked with KPMG, McKinsey &Co., Bain & Company and AXA as an Executive. His clients operate in over 50 countries and on all continents. He is former member of the Melbourne University Commerce Faculty and holds a MBA(Harvard) and B.Comm/LLB (Hons). He is the author and creator of the Scores on the Board skill development and improvement system.

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