10 Helpful Tips On How to Deal With A Difficult Boss

By Thomas Glare

November 12, 2019   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

dealing with a difficult boss

Most of us have that one boss we couldn’t stand to deal with. The problem is, many of us don’t have a choice when it comes to who we work with or work under. Unless you’re willing to jump ship and take on another job or career, you’ll likely be stuck working with that person for a long time.

Luckily, there are some strategies you can take to keep your workplace a positive place. In this article, we will share 10 tips on how to deal with a difficult boss.

Learn to Analyze Before Reacting

How to deal with a difficult boss?

If you’re just starting your job or have moved positions within the company, then it’s best to wait a few weeks before you classify your boss as being difficult. You may have just caught them on a bad day, near deadlines or when he has personal problems he’s dealing with.

Our bosses are human, too. Their mood can fluctuate depending on what’s going on in their professional and personal lives. If you’re too quick to jump the gun, you may have classified your boss as being bad before you’ve even given him a chance.

Try Using Your Strengths to Win Them Over

If you can’t leave the job, you might as well spend time trying to get your boss to like you. As long as they aren’t the type to hate everyone, chances are you can win them over. Demonstrate your best qualities and show them that you can shine in your current job position.

Try making the chain of command a bit easier on them by ensuring that everything is going smoothly on your end. By doing so, not only will you impress your boss, but you also won’t be blamed for any problems. Plus, if you continue doing a good job, you may also be up for promotions.

Use Patience and Act Professional

how to deal with a difficult boss

One of the most significant methods for dealing with a difficult boss is to learn how to be patient. Remember, you are in a workplace and you must keep your temper under control. You’ve got nothing to gain if you step out of line and could potentially lose your position.

If you’ve worked hard to get where you are now, there’s no point in throwing it all away for one minute of rage. Instead, focus on staying professional when you’re in the workplace. If there is any negativity, do your best to brush it off and focus on how you can solve that problem.

If All Else Fails, Request a Transfer

Don’t quit your job or get fired just because you and your boss don’t get along. If they are unreasonable and you’ve tried every other method to get things to work out, then you may need to try requesting a transfer. This ensures that you won’t lose out on a job, but you may be required to stay at your current job until the transfer is approved.

Keep a Record of Interactions and Conversations

There are two reasons you should keep a record of interactions with your boss.

The first is because you can use it to help improve your relationship with them. If you understand what ticks them off or see a pattern, you may be able to avoid specific tasks or behaviors that trigger them.

Secondly, you may also need them to report to HR. If your boss is being unreasonable and creating a negative workplace, you may be able to report them. You may not want to get your boss fired, but if they have superiors, it can improve your work environment if they are given a strike or warning.

Try and Understand Their Point of View

Learning to take a look from someone else’s position objectively can help you learn a lot about them. If you were in your boss’s situation, are there any things that may be causing them to act a certain way? If so, learning to empathize and understand their point of view can show how you can help and what to avoid.

Realize that your boss is doing their best to manage the people under them. If you’re in a large company, that could easily be more than a dozen people. When there’s an issue in the workplace, it can fall on the boss and lead the company to blame him instead of his underlings. Just as you are, your boss is also under a lot of pressure to do well and succeed.

Learning to Be One Step Ahead

It’s good to be one step ahead with deadlines and schedules to help prevent any backlash. Being fully prepared can not only impress your boss but can also help prevent them from finding fault in you or your work.

Always create reminders, events, and document schedules so that you can complete everything on time. The fewer times you miss anything important, the lower the chances of your boss getting upset with you individually.

Learn to Take Criticism

Whether it’s constructive criticism or just regular criticism, it’s best to get used to knowing how to handle it. If you lose your cool and end up saying something out of anger or rage, you’ll be labeled by your boss as being someone negative and can’t handle themselves.

Even if your boss is egging you on, always stay calm. It’s better to show that you’re a team player rather than someone who causes feuds in the workplace. However, if that “boss slandering employees” image that you see doesn’t help you, then you may need to seek guidance from your HR department.

Attempt to Work Around Them

deal with a difficult boss

If anything, you can attempt to work around them and try to complete your job as successful as possible. However, this approach doesn’t always work because if your boss is someone you directly report to.

By finding ways to work around and ease their workload, you may be helping them out in the long run. Support your boss in either place they struggle in or where there may be too much work for one person. Being able to help make their job easier by working around them may directly impact how they treat coworkers.

Tell Them

If you’ve tried every other method, then it may just be the time to be upfront and honest with them. Some bosses may not even know that they are coming off as being difficult. Being able to discuss their attitude professionally and how they treat people in the workplace may shift their day to day interactions with coworkers. We know it may be hard to learn how to have a difficult conversation with your boss.

However, this method only works if your boss is willing to change or is unaware that they are causing issues in the workplace. If they are simply rude and negative for no reason or due to personal matters, they may not change until things get better on their side. Although being honest is always the best route when you have tried all other methods.

See Also: 3 Easy Ways To Stay Positive When Dealing With A Difficult Boss


Dealing with a narcissistic boss may be tiring and may make you hate your job. However, you shouldn’t let that discourage you from trying to make the workplace a better and more positive place to be. While we don’t guarantee that our tips work, they can help you make better decisions for improving boss and employee relationships.

Thomas Glare

Thomas is a passionate writer, psychologist, and amateur gambler. He distracts himself with mr.bet during breaks and does a great job at his job in HR. Thomas currently lives in Seattle.

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