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Readers Respond: How Do You Cope With Your Difficult Boss?

Responses: 23


A difficult boss is hard to describe. He or she has habits, expectations, interpersonal deficiencies, and work methods that defy description. What bothers one employee about a difficult boss may be another's cup of tea. But, one thing is for sure: a difficult boss requires coping on a daily basis at work. If you have a difficult boss, no matter how you define difficult, you have developed skills, tools, and techniques for dealing with your difficult boss. In fact, you're probably a pro. Tell us how you deal with your difficult boss. See More Reader Responses.

I AM a difficult boss (female)

I am a difficult boss. I've hired and fired more women in the last 20 years than I care to admit. Why do women need to talk for the first half hour of the work day, text all day and not complete tasks. I think that if I worked at the job to which I hire, I'd use the job description, have a checklist, get comfy with the training schedule and dig in. My biggest complaints for employees is that getting to work seems like such a huge task that there's no energy left to actually do the job. It has dawned on me that many women are in the workforce because they need money, not because they want a job. That's a very different reason for applying for a job. The first hour of a day is a throw away because women need to talk so much that they MUST talk about their shoes, their hair, what they ate, their kids and their outfit--until they've settled into a comfortable place to consider getting to work taking care of the people they've been hired to attend. I find it to be strange. What say you?
—Guest Kayla Minns

Bi-Polar Boss

I just started his awesome job for the state, I love what I do. My boss was training me for one week before she went on vacation, and for that week she always had an attitude when I would ask her a question. Long story short, she left for vacation for like 4 weeks. It was perfect. My co workers talked to me; every one was great, and then she came back. Everyone is kind of scared of her. I ask her a question and she's loud and rude, I have a huge attitude but I got this job to move up so in a year or so I can be a probation officer, but I am feeling so overwhelmed by this horrible woman's attitude.
—Guest CrazyBoss

Lady boss who bullies indirectly

I have a lady boss, who bullies me through other people. She doesn't treat me well and even locked me out of my office.
—Guest Peacock

Difficult Human

I quit my job on the 3rd day of employment. My boss who is co-owner of a fairly large multimillion dollar company plays favorites and disrespects everyone else who is not on that list (which is everyone except his buddy who he sits next to all day and leeches off of his brain). At first I thought it was because of my ethnicity, but I realize that the SOB is just plain effin retarded. He yells and puts people down around him. No one here in the company likes him - not even his own family members who own the other half of the business. He assumes because he has a lot of money, he can insult others and gives 0 credit to all the work I put in. I have approached him several times in regards to this issue and also to HR. HR says I don't have a chance going against him. He apologizes sometimes, but then he turns into a dinosaur again. I'm not sure how to deal with this difficult human. I kind of feel sorry for him. (It sounds like you dealt with it - and rather quickly - after three days.)
—Guest Ray

Bosses bad to the bone

Treat them the way they treat you. Because I feel they're working for a salary just like me. Call them out on the carpet and I guarantee you that they'll calm themselves down.
—Guest cathy

Find out what the environment is

Once you identify the real reason your boss is bad to you only, because he sees your potential and he is afraid you are going to compete with him one day, try to find out the atmosphere in the organization. If there is nothing you could do about it, the best solution is probably simply leave, no reason to waste your time with him.
—Guest t

Annual Leave Problem

Hello, we have a team leader that every time we ask for time off she always makes us feel intimidated and bad, she will always say, "I will get back to you" which will take a couple of days or weeks? We can never plan as she documents our leave as always "Pending" so we never can plan or book flights as we never know if we have those days off as requested until closer to the time. Frustrating! (I suggest that you use the I message approach, "when you mark my leave as pending rather than approved, I am unable to make plans and this is not fair to my family." "I have a certain amount of paid leave to which I am entitled each year and I'd appreciate a timely response to my time off requests. I need to book tickets by Monday." Or some such. If that fails, talk to her supervisor about the problem. Understand that will tick off your supervisor. A final thought. I know the kind of supervisor you are describing. She is a bully. You have to choose to not let her intimidate you. She does because she can. See: http://humanresources.about.com/od/difficultpeople/qt/work_bully.htm)
—Guest Sandra Peut

Coping with a very difficult boss

I have a boss who is short tempered, narrow minded, ostracized by various other departments and tries to crush peoples' sentiments. I dealt with such a boss in a very simple way by giving him back such hard language that for a few days he found it difficult to talk to me. I guess i have given it back to him at least 4 times. I am very professional in my work and thorough. Because of my work, even the directors of the organization, directly call me to handle the tasks. This puts pressure on my boss to better behave with me. Now what happens is that whatever I do, he simply endorses it. No questiong. If he questions irrationally or whimsically, he is assured that he gets it back. The only principal I recommend is that you do excellent work, have good contact with your boss's boss and speak out to his or her face. I have tried it in two different organizations with two different bosses. In both, I have succeeded. When your boss knows that you won't tolerate nonsense, he would be ten times more careful.
—Guest kunal

Bullying boss

I am going through the process of dealing with a difficult boss. I have involved my union (who have been absolutely fantastic) and HR. I would advise anyone to join a union - they do offer tremendous support and are a force to be reckoned with. I WILL get the outcome I want - which is basically to be managed properly (and other staff to benefit from that, too). If not, I shall take it further - with the support of my union to either be moved or - more importantly - to have HER removed or demoted until she has proper training to manage people appropriately.
—Guest Vanessa UK

Bad Bosses

Our boss is ex-military. He has no leader ship skills as a civillian boss. His rules are simple (I'M THE BOSS AND I SAID SO). No atta boys for a good job. Relies on two office rats for information on other employees. Cares very little for their well being. Has entirely too many tasks with no policies regarding them. Makes forced shift changes with total disregard for single parents. And, he calls himself the boss.
—Guest John R

Difficult, Uncommunicative Boss

My Boss is more than difficult, he does not talk, will never share any news - bad or good, never trusts you, whatever good work you do, he never says thank you. Any ideas for dealing with this type of Boss?
—Guest Fatuma jama


I think the first step is to understand his character. Do my duties as wanted at work and avoid mixing home issues with work.
—Guest mary

It has been tough

Agree with Waheeb that 'if the outcome of any employee threatens his success to survive,' the boss or the boss's boss tries to eliminate the employee by some means. Haven't found any solution to the problem yet. There's no one available to listen and solve the problem.
—Guest Pilli

This way or the other...

Free and candid conversation with your 'bad boss' might help, inside a closed room. However, if things still don't change for the better, and the boss persists to be as bad as ever, then I suggest putting in the papers. Simple!
—Guest kanishkas

How Do You Cope With Your Difficult Boss

l try to understand her, find out and learn what she likes and doesn't like, ask her/him the way she/he wants work to be done, say yes to all of her/his instructions when l can, try and avoid saying no, although it's hard. After all, life is full of surprises.
—Guest norliah
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