Dealing with a nasty boss

The quality of your working life pivots on the quality of your relationship with your boss. All manner of challenges are manageable with the right boss. But also, everything else can be great about your job but with a bad boss, work won’t be a happy place. So what to do?

First of all you need to work out your sphere of influence. In other words, what can you change and what can you do nothing about. You are very unlikely to be able to make changes to your bosses behaviour because to change someone, you usually need a good relationship with them. Be wary of saying the following to yourself or out loud:

  • Why should I have to…
  • He really should
  • He shouldn’t

Because these are wishes not workable plans. Think about what YOU can do. If something in particular is upsetting, what changes can YOU make? Of course there are limits to what you can change but try to focus on the possibilities. So your boss behaves badly in meetings, what can you do about this? Do they behave better when certain people are there? Are there ways you might be able to get feedback to them? Can you change the agenda so the bad behaviour is less likely? Can you reduce the frequency of them? Can you alter the format?

Maybe the answer is no to all those questions, so find other ones. You do have more choices than you probably think you do. What you need to do is find what you can control and leverage that.

But the main point is that people find it difficult to change especially when it is deeply engrained habits. And they will only change if they want to. So if your boss doesn’t want to change – perhaps not acknowledging there is any need for them to change –  it isn’t going to happen. What you can control is yourself. So what are you going to do…

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