How to deal with a difficult boss?

Written by Rupin Kale.

Dealing with toxic people is difficult. It gets particularly more challenging when they’re a part of your workplace, and you have to deal with them on a daily basis.

This piece published in Forbes explains how a significant percentage of employees feel under-appreciated at their workplace and do not exhibit faith in their bosses. Couple that with a toxic superior, and you’re almost guaranteed to feel miserable in your office more often than not.

However, there are a few ways in which you can improve the situation drastically. While you might not be able to ignore your boss altogether, you can learn how to limit them from pushing your buttons constantly.

This article will help you do just that. Let’s dive in!

#1. Focus on your work

One of the most important things to keep a toxic boss at bay is ensuring high-quality output from your end. While your work cannot always be excellent and error-free, try to give the best you can to every project. The lesser mistakes you make, the further away your boss will be from breathing down your neck.

Remember, your work is a reflection of you. Don’t sideline it just because you have a difficult boss. Instead, use that as fuel to increase your focus and try to deliver the best output possible.

Moreover, if you need to contact higher authorities over your superior’s behavior, these strong numbers you’ve crunched as an employee will go a long way in fortifying your credibility.

#2. Set boundaries

While it’s always a good idea to keep your personal and professional lives separate, this becomes additionally important when dealing with difficult colleagues.

When you know your boss can be toxic, remember to set clear boundaries between you and them. Do not engage in the gossip of any kind, and avoid the personal talk as much as possible. Keep all conversations polite but strictly professional.

Set a limit on the “work” part of your day, and pledge not to check office emails or answer professional phone calls after that time. If your boss gets the impression that you’re always free, they’ll treat you exactly like that!

#3. Push back when necessary

The worst thing you can do under a difficult boss is to let them get away with saying whatever they want. You cannot get into an argument with them over every little issue but pick your battles wisely.

When your boss is becoming extremely rude or hurling insults, pushing back might not be a bad option. However, remember not to snap back. It is vital for you to remain calm and rational, and not feed into their anger.

A simple statement like, “this is inappropriate” might go a long way in improving the situation.

#4. Document all details

When it keeps to workplace bullying, it is important to retain as many conversations as possible. Try to converse with your boss via email or chat as much as possible, and remember to save every little exchange.

If your boss prefers calls over text, start recording your phone as well as video calls with them. Document the date and time of specific conversations, creating a file of their inappropriate behaviors as you go.

If and when you decide to report to higher authorities, it is important for you to be laden with proof like this.

#5. Prioritize your mental health

Dealing with toxic people, particularly on a daily basis, can be extremely draining. That’s why it is vital for you to focus on your mental health while you’re still in contact with a difficult boss.

A few minutes of meditation during and after work will help you extensively, both on and off the field.

Remember that you have a life outside work, and one bad aspect of your job does not ruin everything else. Try to switch off immediately after your work, and focus solely on your other priorities for the rest of the day.

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