15 Effective Tips For Dealing with A Difficult Boss

It’s been a few days since you were chosen among several other potential candidates for your dream job. Your colleagues are so excited to have an extra team member. Your boss walks into the office and summons you. In your mind you scream, “this is it!” However, when you walk out of his or her office, you feel like a loser. You realize that your dreams have been shattered by your boss. He or she criticizes and blames you for everything you do.

The majority of employees across the world know what it feels like to work with a mean, negative and judgmental boss. Such employees describe their jobs as a prison cell where the boss is the prison warden. Do you have to experience this regularly until you retire? No!

Dealing with a difficult boss is not easy but you can always do something to improve your situation. Remember, a negative working environment reduces your productivity and performance in the long run thus slowing down your career growth.

Apart from that, it’s also bad for your physical and mental health. So, how do you deal with a difficult boss? Here are fifteen proven methods that will help you solve this problem. Let’s get started!

1.    Think before acting

In most cases, we don’t take the time to think and analyze the situation objectively before acting. And this leads to failure and unhappiness in the long run. You should avoid relying on your assumptions about your boss too much. They could be wrong and this will affect how you work and relate with others.

If you’ve been hired recently, it’s important to give your boss and your job sometime before judging and creating assumptions. Your boss might be having a personal or financial crisis and that will affect his mood. Things can get better as time passes. Don’t take things personally.

If your boss is a perfectionist, he or she will want things to be done up to a certain mark. And this is not a bad thing. It will improve your skills and quality of work in the long run. The management style that your boss goes for might take you some time to adjust. Therefore, be patient.

If things remain the same for more than two months, your boss could be a difficult person to work with.

2.    Win your boss over with your qualities

Every boss wants to work with highly-skilled and effective employees. And this could be the best time to prove to him or her that you have all the essential skills and qualities needed. Simple positive changes in your behavior such as managing your time effectively, offering to work on difficult projects and staying back for a few hours to ensure all projects are completed can win over your boss.

When you exhibit essential skills, you prove to your boss that he or she can rely on you. And this will make him or her comfortable around you. You’ll be surprised to receive a promotion by developing and improving essential skills gradually. Your boss isn’t going to notice your efforts on the first day or week. Be patient and calm.

3.    Patience pays

As the popular saying goes, patience pays. This not only applies in the personal but also the professional world. If you’ve had a grueling session with your boss, remain calm. A calm personality is always attractive. It shows that you are a mature human being who can solve difficult issues effectively.

By remaining calm, your boss will start respecting you. And you’ll eventually rub off his aggression with your passiveness. Being patient will help you analyze the situation objectively and make informed decisions. Judging your boss and being equally aggressive will slow down your career progression. Keep calm and smile.

4.    Don’t be defensive

Being calm and patient might turn out to be extremely difficult especially if your boss is always attacking you. However, arguing with your boss will make him or her see you as a potential rival instead of a team player. Working in such an ugly atmosphere will stress and frustrate you.

Keep in mind that your boss will always hold more power even if he is right or wrong. Therefore, being silent and requesting an opportunity to explain yourself politely without opposing his or her ideas will be beneficial to you in the long run. Being angry and defensive can cost you valuable recommendations which could have accelerated your career growth.

5.    Request for a transfer

If you love your job but can’t improve your productivity and performance due to your boss, you should request a transfer. Big organizations usually accommodate employees who apply for transfers to other departments within the same organization.

Provide a good reason as to why you are requesting a transfer and move away from the difficult boss in a discrete manner. Avoid blaming your boss as the main reason for transferring as this could negatively impact your record.

Think of other ways to convince your seniors that the transfer will positively impact you and the other department. By doing this, you’ll avoid facing awkward moments with your boss. And it’s one of the best ways to continue working with the organization.

6.    Have a personal record of your boss

Nothing is permanent in life including your position. Therefore, it is important to keep track of your activities to ensure that all events are maintained. Consider safeguarding important transcripts of all heated conversations that you had with your boss.

When the storm arrives, these records will help you prove your innocence against a difficult boss who might accuse you of a mistake that you didn’t commit. If needed, have a co-worker testify the hardships you faced while working with your boss. However, this should be used as the last resort when the situation has greatly escalated.

7.    Put yourself in your boss’s shoes

At the end of the day, your boss is a human being just like you. He has his strengths and weaknesses. You should listen and offer emotional support instead of creating a rift. If your boss is having a stressful phase, support and treat him like a friend.

8.    Always be prepared

Being prepared will help become more productive and hit your deadlines easily thus giving your boss no reason to blame or criticize you. The best way to be prepared is by working with a written plan. Being independent and effective will prove to your boss that you are fit for a promotion. Procrastinating and postponing important tasks or activities will invite the wrath of your boss.

9.    Identify what irritates your boss

After working with a difficult boss for a few months, you’ll get an understanding of some of the things that piss him or her off. Take a look at the things around you that might set your boss off and ensure that he or she doesn’t come in contact with them when you are around. Other times, it could how people communicate, behave or do their work that pisses him or her off. Avoid such things too.

10. Express how you feel

One of the best ways to deal with a difficult boss is simply expressing yourself. Telling him or her how you feel when he or she acts in a particular way can improve your relationship with your boss. When you communicate and express yourself you’ll make amends with him or her and this could improve his or her behavior in the long run.

11. Accept him or her 100%

Over time, you’ll realize that your boss has the best intentions for the organization and his employees at heart. In most cases, bosses are elderly people. Therefore, trying so hard to change him or her is nearly impossible. Keep in mind that he would have never been a boss if he weren’t a capable and intelligent individual.

12. Hold on to your beliefs

No matter what you are going through, you should never give up on your beliefs. People of character are people who cling to their beliefs no matter the cost. No matter how difficult your boss is, always hold on to what you stand for politely.

13. Don’t be fragile

Nothing appears more unprofessional than an employee who bursts into tears when his or her boss becomes difficult. Your boss is likely to take advantage of your weakness in the workplace. Therefore, be strong and stand upfor yourself.

14. Take a break

While working with a difficult boss, it’s important to take breaks regularly and discharge buildup of adrenaline. One of the best ways to relax is taking your dog for a walk, meditating, journaling and spending time with loved ones. Don’t allow negative emotions to buildup in your body as this will negatively affect your health.

15. Don’t let it get too far

If your boss is being difficult with you most of the time, go up to him and ask him why he behaves in a particular way. If you realize that he or she dislikes you for some shallow reason, don’t tolerate such nonsense. You should consider resigning to look for another job with an accommodating boss.


These are some of the best tips that you can follow to ensure that you handle your difficult boss in the right manner. Keep in mind that most bosses are difficult to bring out the best in you. If it goes too far and you can’t handle it, don’t hesitate to ask for a transfer or quit.


Tobias Foster is an experienced journalist and editor for resume writing services with a 5-year work experience and great ambitions. He enjoys researching and writing about marketing, business, and philosophy. He has a wealth of knowledge in these fields. He has truly mastered his craft.


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