When Your Boss Becomes Your Enemy (Handling a difficult boss)

As you evolve to the peak of your career, you will, at one time or the other, experience a difficult boss. He/she may be sexist, racist or just insulting and for minor reasons, too; and every time that happens, you feel inadequate or totally fed up. Though you love your job, your enthusiasm to work gradually fades away and you cannot wait to leave for a ‘better’ one. But you cannot keep running. Who knows? You might encounter a worse boss in a new place. So, you have only one option left – deal with it.

…And here are 7 ways you can deal with difficult boss and be happy:




1. Analyse yourself first.
Does your boss always complain about you because you arrive late to work every day or you turn in your reports late every time? Or perhaps, you have been backstabbing him and he has got a whiff of it. Judge your attitude to your work (and to your boss) and if you find yourself guilty (you cannot lie to yourself), then you need to do one thing – change your attitude.

2. Re-position your thinking.

Since you cannot change your boss, then you have to modify how and what you think of him. Acknowledge the fact that you have a boss who does things you cannot control and try never to respond in kind to his insults because that makes you exactly like him. So, adjust the way you think and view situations from the positive angle.

3. Keep a track of your accomplishments.
Make a record of all you have achieved as well as the praises you have received from other bosses and colleagues in the office. Be detailed when you write them down – reflect what you achieved, its significance, consequences averted etc. and how they have contributed to the progress of the Organisation. This is what will speak for you when you are called upon to defend yourself (if the case arises).

4. Find a mentor within the Company.
Develop a mentoring relationship with another boss in your office. Even if you have a good boss, having a mentor (at a managerial level) is advisable because besides offering good advice and recommending you for promotion, he can always stand and speak on your behalf at board meetings, especially when your boss is part of the Management.

5. Employ humour.
Humour has the capacity to make unpleasant situations look good. It makes us deal with emotional turmoil and provides an escape route from depression. When at work, use humour to make light those ‘bad’ moments and you will scale through the day. However, be careful not to make expensive jokes that will make fun of your boss. If you are not good at making humour, it is better to keep quiet than to make the situation worse.

6. Report your boss.
If you have employed other means and they have not worked, then you have to resort to this tip. This is important, especially when harassment is involved. But, be sure you have a mentor or trusted colleague to back you up or else, you will be termed ‘the office trouble maker’. If your boss has the highest authority, then you may have to start looking for somewhere else to work.

7. Learn from experience.
Every experience counts. The previous one was horrible because you were not prepared for it. Now, you understand your boss better. You know what he likes and hates. Now, you understand he likes meeting deadlines and appreciates punctuality. Now, you have learnt. At the next encounter, you will be better prepared.


Have you experienced an enemy-boss at your work place? How did you handle the situation?



Nathan Jeffery
Notification Bell