Throughout your career, chances are that you’re going to have to contend with a difficult colleague. Though it can be a bit tiresome working alongside someone at a similar level of seniority as you who rattles your cage a bit, there are usually ways that you can resolve these issues without any significant impact on your position in the company.
But what can you do if the person who’s grinding your gears is your boss? Bad management is one of the most common reasons that employees become unhappy at work or even leave their job altogether. Also when you may love the role you are working in, the workplace can become a toxic environment if you have a poor relationship with your manager.
So how exactly can you go about handling a lousy boss?
1) Put yourself in their shoes
Try to put yourself in the mindset of your boss and understand why they do what they do. Think about what their role is in the company and what drives them. Some things to consider are what their key objectives are, what are their most important values and what is expected of them. If there is pressure on them to drive the team to meet specific targets or to keep the business running smoothly, this burden may be taken out on you as an employee.
Once you can see things from your boss’s perspective, you may be able to adapt the way you do things to accommodate their expectations or to at very least tolerate their moods!
2) Speak up
If something is bothering you to the point that it is affecting your work performance or happiness in your job, it’s best to get it out in the open. Try to catch your boss in private and discuss the issues politely and professionally. Being open about how you feel is a much better option than just sitting and stewing over things that are winding you up and most of the time your boss will appreciate you being honest. You may then be able to work around your differences and come up with a way to resolve the problem.
3) Don’t bad mouth your boss to your co-workers
As tempting as it may sometimes be when you’re feeling worked up, don’t whatever you do have anger fuelled rant to your colleagues about everything you dislike about your boss! You never know what might make its way back to them and any concerns about their management style are much better heard from you than second hand. Risking them getting wind of your negative comments can only make your relationship worse, or even get you in trouble.
4) Support your boss and help where you can
If you have a poor relationship with your boss you may feel unwilling to help them out, however, in the long run, it will benefit you much more to help them achieve their goals and look good. You can do this by assisting them where possible. If you have noticed that one of their weaknesses is a lack of organization, you could offer to do their filing for them or remind them of upcoming events on their calendar. If you help to keep things running smoothly and bring success to the business, you will, in turn, be considered an asset to the company.
5) Don’t let it affect your attitude
If you allow your boss’s behaviour to have a negative influence on your own, you will become as bad as them. It’s easy to develop a sour attitude towards work when you aren’t happy with the way things are being run, but if you begin to slack off, or your work performance slips, it will only reflect negatively on you. Keep focusing on achieving your best and maintaining positive relationships with the rest of your colleagues.
6) Take a look in the mirror
Before you go and place all the blame on your boss, have a look at your own behaviour. It’s possible that you could be held accountable yourself for your poor relationship with your boss. Are you cooperative? Are you completing your work to a good standard? Are you communicating effectively?
If you feel it could be partially or even entirely your fault after all, think about what you could do to improve your behaviour and make the changes. Over time you may find that things improve!