Last year Gallup’s World Poll released staggering statistics. They surveyed employees from 160 countries and found only 15 percent of them said they felt engaged at work. Of other 85 percent, many were okay with their company or organization; they just said they don’t like their boss. If you’re in that 85 percent, maintain your focus and keep a tough boss from ruining your week with these tips.
Step Back and Evaluate
Sometimes employees get stuck in a loop of working hard hoping to gain approval, praise or promotion and receiving the opposite. They get angry, resentment grows and conflict may occur. After a while, the employee might decide to do better, work harder or put in more hours and the cycle starts over again.
If that’s you, it’s time to break the cycle. Take some time to ask yourself the following questions:
- What motivates your boss to exhibit the behavior that causes problems? Do they have higher-ups applying the same pressure? Are there factors or requirements making them feel out of control, so they take it out on those nearby? Understanding motivation might help you be patient with them.
- How do you react when you feel opposition? Do you resentfully take longer to do a task or hide until things blow over? Are there other more positive ways you could respond?
- Are there pet peeves you could be extra diligent to avoid? If dress code violations set him or her off, don’t see how close to the line you can skate before you get an email rant. If deadlines make her nervous, don’t wait until the last minute to turn in your part of the project.
Dealing with a difficult boss is like many other relationships. Sometimes finding an acceptable compromise or putting in extra effort isn’t about giving in to unreasonable demands; it’s about preserving your sanity.
Communicate More Effectively
If you feel like you need more feedback or direction, ask your boss if you can schedule a meeting to help improve your job performance. Have a frank discussion about what your boss feels are your most important duties and why.
Listen for the goals behind the words. If you feel your boss is willing, explore ways to prevent future misunderstanding and frustration without placing blame.
Further improve communication by repeating back the message. For example, if your boss says, “Get me that now,” compliance might not be possible in the next 60 seconds, but don’t panic. Repeat back something like, “Sure, I will before lunchtime be okay?”
Find a trustworthy person who is thriving in the workplace and learn from them. Don’t choose the group that gossips or gripes, look for someone who can listen and support from a position of positivity and understanding.
If your job is making your life miserable and nothing you do seems to help, it may be time to change positions. Watch for openings within your company and see if there’s the possibility of a transfer or start researching employment at another organization.