Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.

~ Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) ~

How To Handle Your Dratted Boss

January 21st, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 19 secs

No need to play hard ball with your boss.

If you’re lucky, your boss is a gem and you look up to her or him with profound admiration. But if they are the rule rather than the exception, then your boss is a problem.

One US based site cited by Forbes found 75% of employees said dealing with their boss was the hardest part of the job. Why? What is it about bosses that leads to so much tension and animosity?

For starters, the relationship between a boss and an employee is meant to rest wholly on performance. This in itself can lead to considerable tensions, simply because people perceive effort differently. Usually, bosses regard worker commitment as a key area of difficulty, believing staff don’t work hard enough.

But ask most employees and they’ll tell you that their boss is unrealistic and even counterproductive to getting things done.

So, what can you do about a boss who’s never satisfied, and seems to be aiming for the Most Irritating Person Of The Year Award? Here are a few tips:

  1. State what you are doing and going to do in terms of the purpose of your efforts. You boss may not fully understand your job so it’s helpful to tell them.
  2. Put everything into a positive context.  Instead of going to your boss with problems (yes, I know that is meant to be their job), always bring two or three solutions to the problem with you. That way, they are more likely to view you as a solution seeker rather than a nuisance ruining their golf game.
  3. Actively refuse to take their offensive comments personally. Even if your boss has the manners of a boar feeding on slops, never give them the privilege of retorting to their put downs. Besides, it only makes them worse next time.
  4. If you are being bullied, figure out your limits. If you were a business owner and your client did that to you, how far would you tolerate their behavior? In the same way, be polite but firm about what is and isn’t reasonable. Whatever the situation, they don’t own you.
  5. Work well and regularly tell your boss about your achievements. Be someone they think of when they consider a champion of productivity.
  6. Thank your boss now and then for anything that they do which is good. True, they may seem alien and make weird noises like Chewbacca when they haven’t had their coffee. But, deep down, there’s something human inside them that appreciates praise too.
  7. Be your own boss. Set your own bar higher if you can. Or else, declare what your genuine standards are. If you are an independently motivated worker who continually aims to do a good job, your cranky boss has even less reason to be “pesty” about. Better yet, you’ll also be working your way to a promotion or future career move.  Who knows? Maybe one day they’ll be working for you!

Finally, if your boss is much worse than a nuisance, consider getting help. Some bosses are adept abusers and the scope of a blog post cannot address that. If you’re truly stuck, feel free to send me an email, The least I can do is offer more specific advice.


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