TIPS FOR DEALING WITH A DIFFICULT BOSS How to Communicate with Mars when You’re on Venus
If you’ve held a few jobs, there’s a good chance you’ve dealt with a difficult boss.
How should an employee deal with a difficult boss? How do you best
communicate with someone who likes chocolate when you like vanilla?
If you read the studies, the # 1 reason for dis‑satisfied employees and low morale
is bad bosses. Typically, people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses.
Because every situation is different and calls for a different way of handling
problems, there is no blanket “how to handle a bad boss” statement. But here are
some general communication tips:
1. Don’t Get Personal. Take the emotion out of your voice and presence
when you approach your boss. When you are ready and can be calm, even
if he or she is the jerk of the year, schedule a formal meeting and tell them
that you would like to talk about ways to work together more effectively
and productively. Approach your boss as if he/she was a child. If you
become emotional, the child will continue to test you. But if you are
focused, straightforward and come across as meaning what you say, the
child will be more likely to back off and obey.
2. Before speaking to your boss, create an action plan. Develop two to three
key points that bother you about your boss‑‑‑not their personality—
remember, take the emotion out of this, but two or three points that
impact, affect or prevent you from doing your job. Then come up with
alternatives or solutions to that behavior and explain how communicating
it differently will make you more productive and efficient.
3. If this doesn’t work and your boss is totally unreceptive, then go to your
HR department, but make sure you write down the problems and issues
and back them up with examples to help the HR person understand. For
example, instead of saying, “My boss yells at me and it’s inappropriate.”‑‑
think about what is inappropriate and offensive. The screaming does not get you in trouble, but the use of foul language does
Remember, it’s important to act professionally at all times. Unfortunately, the
nature of the workplace is to gossip and vent especially when the boss is terrible
or offensive. But be careful not to spread rumors or talk behind people’s backs.
That can come back to haunt you and make you look like part of the problem,
instead of being part of the solution.