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How to deal with a challenging boss

September 10, 2010

Since we spend most of our day at work, an unstable relationship with our boss can cause a great deal of stress. Here are simple ways to deal with challenging personalities, get the confidence and skills to deal with that challenging boss:

1. Consider rather than confront. If your boss has criticized you, don’t attack him. Instead, look to see if there is any validity to their criticism. Get opinions from other coworkers about your performance and see if there is any merit to their comments. Also ask your boss for specific examples of criticized behaviour and what you could have done differently.

2. Have regular meetings with your boss. They don’t have to be long if they are frequent and it’s a great opportunity to check in and manage your relationship with them.  Here are some ideas to consider for the meeting:

  • Create an agenda and make sure you stick to it.
  • Meet somewhere to minimize distractions for both yourself and your boss.
  • With every responsibility and task, find out the deadline, resources needed/provided, anyone who should be involved or consulted and if you can check in before the final deadline to ensue you are on side.

3. Make your boss look good. Your goal is to make your boss look good.  Be sure to support their goals by asking how you can make their lives easier and what else you can manage for them.  They will appreciate the effort and your support.

Dealing with a challenging boss can take a lot of effort. However, it is important to remember both you and your boss are working towards the same goal; to manage work effectively and to maintain a smooth and efficient relationship.

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