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How to Cope with Difficult Management in the Workplace.

Management plays an integral part in the modern workplace dynamic. You expect your manager to (at worst) have the required leadership skills to steer their teams in the right direction. Great managers will go that additional step further encouraging an esprit de corps among you and your colleagues, while also supporting you as an individual. Sadly, these types of bosses are few and far between and not many people can relate in enjoying such a privilege.

In contrast, bad management can be detrimental to you and your colleague’s work life. Poor leadership skills and bad boss-employee relationships can often result in a disrupted, and occasionally even hostile, workplace environment, having adverse effects on employee wellbeing and thus culminating in lower productivity. Whilst this is far from an ideal situation for anyone to find themselves in, questioning your boss’s integrity and leadership is a daunting prospect and one which is preferably avoided. Recognising this, we’ve put together some useful tips to make dealing with difficult bosses more bearable …

Find out if the feeling is mutual: there is the possibility that your boss feels the same way about you as you do about them, giving the illusion that they’re a bad boss when in reality, it’s your own fractured relationship which is the cause for office tensions. If you suspect this may be the case, try opening a dialogue with your boss and resolving any issues you have face to face. You may find that once you’ve engaged in a professional discourse with each other, resolving future issues will be less of a problem and will come more naturally.

Make sure it isn’t just you: if your colleagues don’t seem to take issue with your boss’s actions quite to the extent that you seem to, then perhaps you are the one with the problem. It’s quite possible that you dislike your boss on a personal level and it’s this overbearing antagonism which has pervaded your judgement. As a result, you’ve convinced yourself that they are a bad boss without any real rationalisation in doing so. Try and identify what specifically makes your boss “bad” and if your findings point mostly to their human traits and less to their managerial aptitude and approach, you may want to take a step back and reconsider whether they really are bad at their job or whether you just take offence with them as a person.

Follow your gut instincts: if you are absolutely positive that your boss is in the wrong over a particular decision, do not be afraid to take matters into your own hands and follow a course of action that you know will be benefit your work. Most bosses will appreciate you striving to achieve better results for your company, however, be sure not to completely undermine the choices your boss makes.  This, more often than not, will be interpreted as deliberate insubordination and can lead to further strains in your relationship, so be sure to keep your boss in the loop and to seek out their approval. Results get you noticed, the route by which you take to get to them will often be overlooked.

Empathise with them: try and remember that your boss is human like you, and that they too go through the ups and downs of everyday life. Everybody has their off days, so next time your boss does something that leaves you feeling cold and contemptuous, attempt to ascertain whether there may be some particular reason for this behaviour. Of course, some actions are inexcusable and cannot be dismissed as the result of someone going through a rough patch, but more often than not, there will be some identifiable factor making them act a certain way. It might be worth asking your boss if they require any additional help and being nice in an attempt to see whether this has any lasting effect upon their mood. However, you shouldn’t need to be a sycophant in order to get your boss to be nice to you, so be wary of whether your best intentions are being taken advantage of.

Quit: If all else fails, try and find a new job. Check that when looking for a new job, you use your prior experience to ensure you don’t end up in a similar predicament. Search for the signs that you may be dealing with another tricky boss: do they come across as insincere? Does there seem to be a nasty streak? Do the employees look happy or do they look impassive and/or disenfranchised? Try to take all of these factors into account when going for job interviews at new companies.

​Finding your dream boss may seem like a pipe dream to many, especially if you’ve had to put up with bad management for an extended amount of time, but nevertheless, you should never settle for anything which actively causes you discomfort and makes you question whether it’s even worth going in to work. Believe it or not, most managers will have your best interests in mind; it’s part of the reason why they get to where they are in the first place. So, try and stay positive and remember you always have a say in how you work and who you work with.

Do you happen to be looking for a new job? Begin your search here!