5 Brilliant Ways to Work Smoothly with a Difficult Boss

| 4 min read

A difficult boss is invasive to the heart, mind, and soul. You may be dedicated to your work and your organization, meet deadlines and be every client’s favorite, but when your boss is difficult he or she never gets satisfied.

The question is, is it possible to work under a difficult boss and still thrive? Sometimes your chances for growth and promotion are high but you are tempted to leave because you can’t stand your boss. Are you going to turn your back on your promotion because of your boss’s behaviour? Let’s take a look at ways you can gain a common ground with your boss despite his difficult nature;

1. Carefully Observe Your Boss’s Behaviour

Before you try to fix the problem, first find out if you are truly dealing with a difficult boss. Is there a reason for his or her behavior, or are you just being too hard on him or her? Observe your boss for a few days and try to notice how she relates to you. Does she highlight your good works at all or you keep making mistakes that bring out his or her worst?

Is she always finding faults and hammering your flaws? Or is the attack a personal one? These are the questions you should ask yourself as you observe to find a solution. If she doesn’t give you good enough reasons to happily correct your wrongs and treats you with disrespect, then you are dealing with a difficult one. Having ample information about what the problem is, will then inform your decision on what your next step should be.

2. Identify Triggers

Like many people going through anger management therapy, your boss could be having serious anger management problems. Identify what triggers her meltdowns and be extra militant about avoiding those.
They could be the simplest and even trivial matters but, as long as they make him flip, you should never downplay its effects. For instance; you forgot to knock before entering his office, misspelled a word or arrived to work at 8:05 a.m instead of the regular 8:00 a.m. Once you are able to identify his or her triggers, you are on your way to a smooth sailing at work with your boss.

3. Find Out What Motivates Your Boss

A good option for you in handling a difficult boss is for you to find out what motivates him or her. Perhaps it’s not that he really cares about how long your lunch break takes, perhaps he cares about how it looks to other employees, clients, and other superiors.

Once you play by the rules, your boss will have very little to complain about and will be happy with you because you make his work easier. Especially where you’re working for a younger boss, you can get closer to him during lunch and engage in such interesting topics like sports or even a movie depending on where his interest lies. You can only get an insight into her management style, once you gain an understanding of exactly what he or she cares about.

4. Stay One Step Ahead

Is your boss a micromanager? Does he like to closely observe and control your work without giving you room to operate on your own? Then your solution is to complete your assignments ahead of time or on time by anticipating his next move. Draft of your schedule on your desk to show your work’s progress even before he asks you. He or she will realize with time that, you have your responsibilities on track and there is no need to watch your every move.

5. Don’t Let it Affect Your Work

No matter how difficult the situation is with your boss, avoid letting it affect your work. Make efforts to stay on good terms with him or her and with the other leaders in the organization.

Don’t try to even the score by working slower, or taking excessive days off or long lunches. It will only put you further behind in your workload and give your boss good enough reason to let you go once your behaviour gets out of control.

Indeed some bosses are difficult to work with. They are intimidating, extremely fault-finding and hammer more on employees’ mistakes but never highlight their successes. However, you have the power to change the narrative and this is why these tips are important to help you arrest the problem. If the situation gets totally out of your control, you can escalate the matter to the appropriate authorities or at the extreme, look for opportunities elsewhere where you can thrive. 

Are you working under a difficult boss currently? Share your experience with us in the comment section below.



Nelly Sadongo-Bawa
Social Media and Community Marketer at Jobberman Ghana || Blogger || Motivator || Radio host || "Knowledge is like a garden. If it is not cultivated, it cannot be harvested."