Working for a difficult manager or a just a flat-out bad boss can be a demoralizing experience. Difficult managers can leave you feeling undervalued, or even questioning whether you’re in the right position. Before you throw in the towel and start sending out resumes, consider the ways in which you can alter your own behavior. Sometimes managing your manager or “managing up” can make all the difference.
“I have witnessed many different bosses in my long career; you can learn a tremendous amount from the good and the bad. Embrace the opportunity to develop yourself into the best boss by taking the great qualities from each one. Remember the kind of boss that you don’t want to be, Tailor your style to each person you lead and move more towards being their mentor in their career,” says Sharon Tsao, CAO & EVP Sales, Marketing, Accounting.
Make Your Manager Look Good
Yes, you read that correctly. One of the best ways to deal with a difficult boss is to go above and beyond to help him or her succeed. Working slower, ignoring directives or taking mental health days and extended lunch breaks to get away are tempting, but they will only hurt you in the end, as it gives your boss actual reasons to be on your tail.
By doing everything that is expected of you and more, you take the high road and you limit your boss’s ability to find things to pick on you for. Keeping yourself off the radar will not only help you maintain your sanity with your boss, but it will make you a more valuable employee, as well.
Learn To Anticipate Needs
If you can anticipate your boss’s needs before they land on your desk, you’ll limit your stressful interactions with your boss. This is an especially great strategy for dealing with micromanagers. Getting ahead of tasks or needs will show a micromanager that you are, in fact, on top of things and do not require constant reminders. Micromanaging can be a difficult pattern for people to break, do don’t expect miracles. At a minimum, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you are capable, whether your boss acknowledges it or not.
Document, Document, Document
If you have a boss that contradicts himself or herself on a regular basis, documentation is your very best friend. If your boss requests something from you verbally, sit down and immediately type out an email confirming that request. “Hi, Bob! Per our conversation about the TPS reports, I just wanted to confirm that you want them all to have a cover sheet and you now need them by 4:00 pm EST on Thursdays.” If your boss does not reply, forward the email back to him the next day to nudge him into replying in the affirmative. That way, if he says he told you noon on Wednesday with no cover sheet, you’ve got your rear end covered, in writing.
Documentation is also critical if you feel your boss is engaging in abusive behaviors. Document times, dates, the situation and any witnesses to the interaction(s). If the situation should escalate, you’ll want details on your side if HR must get involved.
If the situation with your boss doesn’t improve, you might want to consider sitting down with someone from Human Resources. If you believe the behavior is abusive or discriminatory, or if you are being sexually harassed, don’t put it off – consult with HR immediately. Abuse, discrimination and sexual harassment are not situations you should ever have to deal with from your employer.
If you are looking for talented professionals for your human resources department, contact the professional recruiters at Contemporary Staffing Solutions today. Our recruiters can help you develop strategies to build an efficient, effective team.