Most of us have experienced working with a difficult manager and it truly can seem impossible to find a positive in such adverse circumstances. But rest assured there are effective and worthwhile ways to deal with having a difficult boss. While the following advice won’t solve all of your problems or change your manager, let’s consider some actions you might take to improve your relationship with a difficult boss.
First, for better or worse, the boss is in charge, whether you like it or not. That means, at some point, you need to defer to them and be professional enough to understand the hierarchy. If it means being patient and biting your tongue at times, then so be it. There is no value to you in losing your job or damaging your reputation by getting in a needless argument and causing irreparable damage.
Always be professional
No matter what, always make it a point to be the most professional person in the team. Regardless of what your boss does, or how difficult they may seem, recognize that their issues are theirs alone, and they aren’t your problems at the end of the day. All you can control is yourself, so control yourself professionally and make it happen effectively each and every day.
Never lose your temper
No matter what happens, don’t lose your temper. Learn to take a deep breath and work on changing the focus of your thinking. When tempers flare, you run the risk of losing all that you’ve accomplished.
Find constructive ways to work
No matter what is happening, you still need to get work done, right? Find constructive ways to work around any barriers and problems. Make sure you are productive and efficient.
Have an open dialogue and conversation
Above all, be open and have an honest (but respectful) dialogue with your manager. Whatever is causing the relationship to be a difficult one, by opening up a positive dialogue you might be able to assist them and help them achieve some of their goals, thereby improving your relationship. A little conversation goes a long way when approached effectively and positively with your manager. The flipside to this is to never, ever engage in passing negative remarks or disparaging comments about your manager.
Many experienced people, when reflecting upon their career, will tell you that some of their most valuable experiences occurred when working in adverse conditions. They stress that this was not obvious to them at the time, but most agree that with the benefit of hindsight they benefited from toughing it out rather than bailing out.