How to handle the boss from hell!

We’ve all had them - the boss from hell. The boss where you have to navigate their mood swings and rejoice when they are on their annual two-week sojourn to the south of France.

While you might not always see eye to eye with your boss for your everyday equilibrium it’s better to work in harmony than in hell.

But if the thought of work brings you out in a cold sweat and is starting to cause you anxiety, you need to handle the situation.

Remember, everyone has the right to a healthy and positive work place; feeling bullied or unfairly treated can have a huge impact on not just your work performance but also your overall wellbeing. 

Knowing how to handle a “difficult” boss in a professional manner is important and something we can help you with.

  1. Know the difference

The first thing to do is make sure you know the difference between a stern boss with high expectations for you, and an abusive person who belittles you without merit. Constructive criticism is the key.

It can be hard to tell the difference sometimes – especially when emotions are thrown into the mix!

If though you feel you are genuinely being mistreated and want to deal with it professionally, then read on to step two.  

  1. Keep a record

The most important thing you can do is document everything. Keep evidence of situations where they have acted or spoken to you unprofessionally along with the date and times of the occurrences.

This will help if you need to take the problem to HR or a manger higher in the chain as it will show a pattern of behaviour and not just a one off.

You should also keep note of anyone who witnessed the incidents so it won’t just be your word against theirs.

  1. Find the human

If you feel comfortable enough talking to your boss in a one on one environment then this might be the approach to take to try to address the issue yourself.

Your boss genuinely might not realise how their actions affect you, no one goes to work wanting to be mean (at least we hope not). 

Invite them to a one to one meeting and have an honest conversation with them.

This might be all that is needed to clear the air and resolve the situation and we hope it works for you.

If though the thought of tackling the issue one on one is simply not an option for you, read on to step four.

  1. Don’t suffer in silence.

If you have tried to work things out on your own with your boss and don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere, or if you feel this approach would not work, it’s time to take the problem higher.

Approach someone in HR for advice on what to do next or speak to a manager higher up in the chain.   At the end of the conversation, find out what the next steps are. Write up a summary of the meeting and send a copy to the HR representative and keep one for yourself.

The records you made in step 2 will be useful for any conversation you have with HR to demonstrate the issue.

Final thought:

It takes a brave person to challenge bad behaviour in the workplace and sometimes it may feel easier to keep your head down and plod on.

But if you stick your head above the parapet things might just change for the better.  If you generally like your job and the organisation you work for and don’t want to start again then you do need to handle the situation.

You never know what might happen if you do: your boss might be sent on a leadership/coaching course to help with their management style, other people might come forward to support you, you could be transferred to another better team in the same organisation.

If, however, you are unable to change your boss’s behavior or receive assistance from your HR department, you may need to look for a new job.

We are always here when you are looking for your next career move.

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