Difficult Boss? Here’s what to do…and not to do!

14th August 2016


All acts of kindness are lights in the war for justice. – Joy Harjo. Poet.

There are great managers and not-so-great managers. Sometimes we get to choose. Sometimes we don’t. And sometimes, we choose the wrong one! Evidenced by, 70% of people who leave their manager, while still loving their work! 

So what can you do when you feel you a have ‘difficult’ manager? One who overloads you with work. Sets impossible deadlines. Doesn’t invite and acknowledge new ideas. Micro-manages. Isn’t clear with expectations and fails to provide constructive feedback.

You can choose to revolt or resolve. To confront or to criticise. Once again you get to choose.

You can implement all manner of strategies to ‘get your own back.’ Go slow. Take sick days. Whinge and bitch to others. Turn in lack lustre work. Quit. Sabotage. And so on, without resolve, except perhaps, of being fired!

Irrational, powerless behaviour will never resolve this unhappy, frustrating and career limiting situation you find yourself in.

Chose not from anger, martyred or your victim self but from your heart and seat of compassion. Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. Plato.

How would your highest, kindest self resolve this situation?

Seven steps for a real and kind conversation with a ‘difficult‘ manager… 

  1. Get curious. Put away assumptions and ask…Why might they be like this? What might I be doing to attract this behaviour? Has it always been this way? And if not, why the change
  2. Prepare. Name concrete examples. Name your reactions and feelings. Write and review. Own why it matters, in the best interest of the business
  3. Speak up, with respect and integrity. State the one most pressing issue you most want to resolve. Calm and rational, share the impact and results, for you, your work and business.
  4. Share how you feel about the situation with your desire to resolve it and the consequences if left unresolved e.g. not being able to help and perform in the way you can
  5. Take responsibility for your part in it; e.g avoiding this conversation, not giving all you’d like to give…
  6. State how and what you’d like to change and what you’re prepared to do
  7. Enquire what its like for them as your leader and how you can best work together.

No doubt this conversation takes courage. 

Equally, without it, you or your manager will bring an end to this work and relationship.

Once again you get to choose!

Blame keeps the sad game going, it keeps stealing all your wealth – giving it to an imbecile with no financial skills. Dear one, wise up. The Sad Game – Hafiz.