Are You a Professional Dealing With a Horrible Boss? Top 3 Secrets for Winning – Part 1

By Linda L. Hardenstein

“My boss is always yelling,” said an attorney when listing the primary reasons for wanting to change not only jobs but careers. A friend who overheard this and who works on his own remarked that he couldn’t believe things like that happened in “professional” environments. As a veteran of law firm life and someone who has experienced and figured out how to survive and successfully deal with more than one “horrible boss,” I let him know it’s not that uncommon. This recent article about Horrible Bosses and Poor Leadership in Fast Company confirms it.

There’s nothing worse than going to work everyday and facing a horrible boss. It can stifle your productivity, be depressing, debilitating, sabotage your confidence, wipe out your self-esteem and burn you out faster than you can say “I’m outta here!” So how can you outsmart a horrible boss and lessen internal conflict to maintain productivity, stay focused and accomplish your personal and professional achievement goals on the job? Here are 3 tips for dealing with a horrible boss:

1.  A winning strategy.  Martha’s boss was always “holding her back” from developing her skills and wasn’t giving her recognition for all that she did. She was tired of being a victim. After analyzing her situation we developed a strategy for Martha to break-out of this pattern by figuring out how her boss could win and she could win too. Martha convinced her joining some organizational committees would be good for both of them. It helped the boss with intel and gave Martha greater exposure and recognition. She was soon noticed and scooped up by a more appreciative boss who saw her value. Working up a winning strategy takes some personal reflection and its helpful if someone who is independent from your situation can help you see opportunities that can better your situation.

2.  Be willing to shift. We’ve all heard it a million times and unfortunately it’s true — you can’t change someone else you can only change yourself. Be willing to change how you operate or respond to situations to get a different, more positive outcome. To paraphrase Dr. Phil, how is what you’re doing now work’en for ya? If what you are doing now was effective you wouldn’t be looking for a way out. A willingness to change how you look at things or react is an essential element of a winning strategy.

3.  Set limits. Determine how much you’re willing to tolerate and set a timeline for making a change. Just the simple act of setting a timeline can give you a feeling of relief. You’ll begin to see a spark at the end of a tunnel of what probably feels like a very long, hard traveled road.

Dealing with a horrible boss on your own isn’t easy, especially if you’re in a management position, don’t have anyone to talk to and can’t trust your colleagues. This is when a coach, mentor or trusted adviser can help you by brainstorming creative solutions that overcome obstacles, give you a ray of hope, keep you motivated, or help you make the progress you haven’t been able to make on your own. Coaches like me offer long-term and short-term laser sessions focused on your current dilemma so you can zero in and develop a winning strategy to deal with your difficult boss and improve your work situation for a better life. Contact me or use my automated calendaring system to schedule a complimentary session.

Do you have a question you’d like addressed in Part 2 or a tip you’d like to share? Leave your comment below.

Linda Hardenstein, MPA, PCC, helps professionals and managers who want to improve their work situation and build a better life achieve their goals in work and in life through personal achievement coaching and authentic career development.