6 Types of Difficult Bosses / Managers & Tips to Deal with Them

difficult managers, difficult bosses

How to Deal with Difficult Managers & Bosses ??

People do not leave their jobs; they leave their managers. The reason behind looking out for a new job is not always because of the nature of the work that frustrates people or the long hours or even the low pay; it’s also the employee’s manager that sends them running.

If you have ever had a difficult manager, it is more likely that you would have faced your own issues, but the typical complaints involve poor communication, impractical demands, poor listening skills and inadequate support. In most cases, managers comprise of a combination of all of these traits. However, the brighter side is that it’s in your hand to improve the situation.

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Why is it important to find a way to work with a difficult boss?

A difficult boss can throw some serious challenges at the workplace. So, one should maintain a healthy relationship with your manager as it is considered as the most critical relationship at work. If your relationship is not that good, it can negatively impact almost every aspect of your work life.

If you are dealing with a difficult manager, the first instinct might be to resign from your job. But there are many benefits that can be achieved from addressing a difficult boss. A few of these benefits include:

How to Deal with Difficult Managers & Bosses ??

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How to deal with Difficult Managers??

It’s not a herculean task, one has to just spot and observe the behavioral patterns of your manager and try understanding them. Listed below are six types of difficult bosses – maybe yours is one of them, some of them or even all of them.

  1. The Slow-Coach: As the name suggests, the manager takes a lot of time to do things, which affects your way of working. These bosses are not likely to make prompt decisions and usually procrastinate. A decision needs consensus, and that is slow.

    What to do about it?

    To deal with such managers, one should initially accept their way of working rather than fighting it. If you are aware that decisions will take time, then schedule your work keeping this in mind.

    The idea is to steadily influence your manager by assisting him/her to notice the repercussion of causing delay. Or support and help him/her to hasten up the decision making process. Check with your boss about the factors involved in taking a decision. Get relevant data, if required and bring a team together where their consensus is required for taking the decision.
  1. The Despot: The despot rules with an iron fist. These managers are very strong with their opinions and consider the decision taken by them as final. They prefer things to be done THEIR way. The despot doesn’t encourage team member’s ideas or decisions.

    What to do about it?

    An ideal way to deal with such managers is to be inquisitive & ask questions, instead of sharing your ideas. Questions allow the despot to remain in control as it’s their choice as to what happens next. One can phrase the ideas, answers or statements in the form of questions.

    They love to confront people. So open hostility is not advised, as you will lose in most of the cases.
  1. The Bigot: These managers have a lot of preconceived notions. It could be to do with your gender, sexuality, race, creed etc. Or they could have strong choices like being a democrat or liberal. There could also be a possibility that they simply don’t like you due to reason best known to them. It is basically your manager’s issue and not yours, but one needs to work around it.

    What to do about it?

    If your manager makes discriminative actions or statements evidently then you have to escalate the matter to the HR and follow it up with a formal grievance process. But if the injustice exists in a subtle manner, then it’s difficult to build a case.

    A solution to this is to get into a cognitive dissonance; i.e., two people with different opinions getting along and arriving at one common viewpoint. So, it is possible for your manager to both dislike you as well as like you at the same time. For instance, you come to know that your boss dislikes being indoors and enjoys playing and talking about sports. If you love sports too, then it’s something you have in common. Your mutual love for sports is a possible source of building a relationship.

    To deal will such managers you need to find out more about your manager in order to discover if both of you have anything in common and then work on it.
  1. The Inspector:  These managers love to micro-manage team member’s work. They give importance to detail; they have a habit to check all your activities and spoon-fed you to achieve precision. You don’t have a free hand and it gives you a feeling of working in an automated mode.

    What to do about it?

    The reason behind such behavior is that your manager poses difficulty in delegating work. The best way to manage with such bosses is to be proactive; anticipate what they want, even before they ask for it.

    This is a long process of learning your manager’s expectations and delivering them as required. This is not an overnight activity, you need to become as skilled as your boss and create that trust factor.
  1. The Scaredy-Cat: These managers are insecure and they don’t believe in their own capabilities. They fear that their subordinate will take over their job. These managers avoid giving you projects where you will shine.

    What to do about it?

    You may be better than your boss or you are perceived to be better, still you have to be responsible for your work irrespective of your boss supporting you or not.

    When dealing with such managers you need to assist your boss by showing the larger picture. Highlight the benefits of their supporting you. Try these simple tricks:
    • When taking credit, mention the support of your boss and describe the environment he/she has created that helped you succeed
    • Acknowledge and appreciate your boss for their support.
    • Always consult your boss while taking decisions rather than going ahead alone
  1. The Winger:  These managers believe in their gut feeling rather than giving importance to relevant experience or skills while taking decisions. He /she ignores the external and internal environment while taking a decision which leads to a negative impact on your work and you have to mop up afterwards.

    What to do about it?

    To deal with this, you need to give advice in a subtle manner whilst maintaining respect towards his/her experience. Get involved in the decision-making process, do all your research on factors affecting the situation and provide your boss with different options.

    Avoid proving your knowledge in front of him/her. Rather, influence your boss by asking questions and arrive at the solution. Always remember that no one deserves to be mistreated for the job they perform. If all the above commandments fail, take the high road and seek out a better employer, it’s definitely worth it in the long run.

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