"I think there is beauty in everything. What 'normal' people perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it."—Alexander McQueen

"I think there is beauty in everything. What 'normal' people perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it."—Alexander McQueen

woman feeling stressed at her boss

Surviving and Dealing with a Terrible Boss

At some point in every employee’s life, they have encountered working with a difficult boss. There’s the supervisor who takes all the credit of a successful project the team has worked hard for. How about the perfectionist keeping a close eye on everyone’s move, whether it’s availing giclee printing services for the marketing campaign or writing the straightforward quarterly financial report? Whatever the kind of terrible behavior they exhibit, there’s no doubt about the number of nightmares and stress they bring to the workplace.

In fact, according to the survey by Randstad US, 60% shared they considered actively quitting or leaving their jobs due to terrible management. Meanwhile, 58% were willing to take a pay cut if it meant working with an emphatic and understanding boss. That goes to show the impact of leadership on employee turnover and motivation.

Sadly, it’s not as easy to say goodbye to the company and search for greener pastures. There might be financial constraints stopping employees, such as monthly mortgage payments or sustaining the lifestyle of some family members. In this scenario, they have no choice but to deal with the quirks of their bad bosses.

Here are some techniques employees can use to survive working with their supervisors:

man meditating at work

Know what motivates your boss

It’s easy to paint your boss as the bad guy, especially when he is bringing the team down. However, gossiping behind his back and whining to colleagues won’t solve the problem in knowing how to deal with him. These actions might even make it worse if your boss finds out you’ve been badmouthing him, making the situation tenser and more unbearable.

What employees can do instead is to practice empathy by understanding why your boss is acting that way. Is it because the board of directors is pressuring him to deliver ambitious sales goals, or he’s experiencing family problems that are taking its toll on his mental health? These reasons don’t justify his terrible behavior, but knowing them can help employees watch out for triggers and find solutions to go around it.

Anticipate what your boss wants

When you know the reasons why your boss is acting that way, you can be one step ahead. Take, for example, a micromanaging boss. Instead of waiting for her to give piles of requests, accomplish them already before she even asks. If she’s micromanaging because she’s making up for her lack of knowledge on the project, then you can send her regular update reports and draft an FAQ document for reference. These actions will show that you are someone she can trust to do quality work, and she might leave you alone because of it.

Always keep receipts

Despite the best techniques in improving relationships, you might just be dealing with a bully or a mean person. When this happens, it will serve you well to keep any evidence that captures his bad behavior and unfair treatment. Your case would be more persuasive if you decided to file a report with the human resources department because it’s hard to talk your way out of situations when there is concrete proof presented. It’s also recommended keeping a copy separate from corporate servers because you never know who can tamper with what’s stored in it.

In an ideal world, everyone is blessed with a supportive boss and mentor. When that doesn’t happen, employees can consider practicing empathy, anticipating the next steps, and keeping receipts to survive working with difficult supervisors.

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