5 Ways To Deal With A Difficult Boss, According To An Expert

5 Ways To Deal With A Difficult Boss, According To An Expert

Posted In: Career & Business | Tips

Your workplace can be a fulfilling place to learn and grow, but it can also be overwhelmingly stressful because of a difficult boss, here’s how to work with one

Your career path is either sparked by passion or by necessity, whatever reason for being where you are working, the last thing you need is dealing with difficult colleagues or especially a boss. We chat to Johannesburg-based career coach Judith Matthis on ways to deal with a boss that is hard to please:

What should one do if they notice that their boss is difficult to work with?

‘Each person’s response will be unique, but from a coaching perspective, the key is to make a conscious decision.  In dealing with difficult work situations, I usually help my clients to reflect on the situation by:

Firstly, considering the reality of the situation.  Is your boss always difficult to work with? Is he or she likely to change? Have you tried to communicate your needs? Is there scope to improve the relationship? What about their style don’t you like? What personal (values/personality) clashes are you experiencing?  Try to avoid focussing on how you think your boss “should” be, and rather take an honest look at what the reality is.

Secondly, decide how to deal with it. Once you have had a fair look at your relationship or experience with your boss, then you can start to think about what to do about it.  There are always options, and it is helpful to think through what they are before you react.   You may decide that it’s too difficult for you to work with your boss, and so you look for other job options.  You may decide to attempt to work with your boss despite the difficulties as there are other benefits to your job.  In this case, you would consider personal strategies for dealing with it, such as understanding your own triggers and learning to set boundaries.

READ MORE: 5 Ways To Make Your Boss Like You, A lot

Please share 5 ways employees can deal with a difficult boss without taking it personally

Understand your own personal triggers.  What is it in you that gets triggered by your boss’s behaviour?  For example, a boss who never gives positive feedback may tap into your own fears of not being good enough.

Notice your own thought patterns around your boss and whether you are exacerbating the situation. For example, “I’m not good enough to get any praise” feels quite different to “my boss doesn’t give staff praise”

Be quite clear about your boundaries, so that you can set them with your boss.

Ask yourself “what is my business and what is my boss’s business?  It’s helpful to distinguish between what you can and can’t control (your business, for example, your thoughts and behaviour you can control; other people’s business, for example, your boss’s behaviour you can’t control)

Try to shift your attention to the work that you are doing, and everyone else who you deal with who you experience in a positive way.  In this way shifting your focus and energy away from your boss.

For career coaching services contact Judith on: 

E-mail: judith@spaciousminds.co.za

Contact: 083 658 4879


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