Dealing with a difficult boss

Your guide to dealing with difficult bosses

Working from home can be stressful for employees. Especially if they are dealing with difficult bosses.  Dr Sushma Mehrotra, Ph.D consulting clinical psychologist tells you how to handle a difficult manager.

Dealing with difficult bosses and stressful situations they create

People simply do not quit jobs, they quit difficult bosses and bad managers. Since jobs are scarce right now, employees need to find a way to work with difficult bosses. Here’s what you can do. Dr Sushma recommends implementing the concept of mentalization to smoothen these interactions.

What is mentalization?

Mentalization is the ability to understand your individual mental state and that of others. This process also helps you decode the motivations and behaviour of an individual. Often people grapple with problems because of lack of communication caused by misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Mentalization helps you put yourself in someone else’s shoes. It also helps you break down things before it becomes a pressing issue.

Your guide to dealing with a difficult boss in different work situations…

The best way to deal with a bad manager is to be assertive, not aggressive. Understand his or her perspective and expectations from you in association with a task/project. When you define the scope and understand the expectations, it leaves little room for misunderstandings.

  • When your boss is overly critical of your work but not clear about his or her expectations

Sometimes a difficult boss avoids giving you clarity about a particular task. This gives him or her room to deflect responsibility to you if things go south. The best way to handle this situation is to be assertive in your approach. Pose questions to your boss/manager in a nonthreatening way. Share that you would like more clarity on his or her expectations with respect to the task/project assigned to you.

  • You don’t get the credit for completing a task well but always receive flak when things go wrong

You are already working in a stressful environment. Your boss takes credit for all your hard work but never acknowledges what you bring to the table. However, is always ready to give you flak when things go wrong. It’s vital not to passively accept this behaviour. Share that you are feeling low and frustrated about not getting due credit.

  • If your boss plays favourites¬†

Every boss has his or her favourites. However, when favouritism starts taking a toll on you physically, mentally and emotionally, it’s important to vocalise your feelings. Express that you feel you are not being treated equally.

  • You struggle to maintain a work-life balance as you have too much on your platter

It’s unfair to expect an employee to put in long work hours daily to meet specific targets. A good manager understands the expected output of a task assigned and the time needed to complete it. Ideally, the clock hours expected for a task should match with the overall performance. If a manager chooses to ignore this, it’s important to bring this to his or her notice. An employee should also document daily output in an email along with details about the duration taken to complete the various tasks assigned for the day.