5 Tips for Dealing with a Bad Boss

Summary: Dealing with a bad boss is no easy feat, but it's not impossible. Learn how to manage the situation with these five helpful tips.

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They say people don’t quit jobs – they quit bosses. You might love your job and even love the company, but if your boss is making your day a living hell, then sometimes it’s just too stressful to stay. But, if you don’t want to quit your job and want to make the best of the situation, then you need to find a way to deal with your bad boss. 


According to Wrike, a whopping 94% of US workers reported feeling stressed at their workplace in 2019. That stress comes from an unreasonable workload, lack of job security, feeling underpaid, and trouble getting along with coworkers. Forbes reports that 75 percent of American workers said their boss is the worst thing about their job, and 65 percent would take a new boss over a pay raise!


Bad bosses come in many forms. Some are micromanagers who need to be in control, refuse to delegate, and won’t let you make any decisions. Others are bullies who insult, harass, and publicly humiliate. Others are simply indecisive, poor leaders who have trouble communicating and don’t know the first thing about managing people. No matter the type of bad boss, working for them can bring constant pain and frustration. Gain valuable insight into the traits of a bad boss that cause employees to quit by exploring our blog post "Why Employees Quit Their Bosses". 


If replacing your current manager is not an option, then try these five tips for how to deal with a bad boss:


1. Make their life easier. Ask your manager how you can help them achieve their goals. See if there is a particular project that they could use extra help with. Help them to see you as someone who can relieve some of their burden. Start with smaller projects or quick wins and gradually progress to more significant projects. Ideally, as they have more success, it could lessen the strain on your working relationship. 


2. Pick your battles. Sometimes, letting the small stuff go and focusing on the more critical issues is easier. If you are in constant conflict with your manager, try backing off on some minor issues and save your energy for the ones that matter. Your manager might learn some flexibility from you.


3. Stay Cool. Maintain a professional attitude and keep your emotions in check, no matter what. As infuriating as it can be to report to someone rude and disrespectful, you must maintain your composure. Losing your cool will only damage your professional reputation. It’s time to go to HR when things get to that point. 


4. Find an ally or mentor. Is there a leader in another department whom you respect and trust? Try working more closely with that person and carefully ask for advice on how to get along with your manager. They might provide a fresh and helpful perspective. Discover the benefits of mentorship and other techniques that boost your productivity.


5. Wait it out. If your manager is terrible enough, they are likely dealing with conflicts with others in the organization. If they cannot do their job well, then there is a good chance they will be shown the door. In the meantime, document all of your problematic interactions so that you will be prepared if and when HR begins to ask about their behaviour. Sometimes, outlasting the bad boss is the only way to deal with them. 


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