How to Navigate a Tricky Boss

How to Navigate a Tricky Boss

The smash-hit TV series ‘The Office’ has been a world icon internationally and even managed to snap-up a Golden Globe Award for ‘Best Television Series’ and ‘Best New TV Comedy Award’.  It’s no coincidence that David Brent is at the centre of this series, and our love-hate relationship with this character presents an uncanny relatability to our own terrible bosses, whether it be past or present.  So what do you do if you find yourself up against a bona-fide clone of David Brent from the Office? Here are some tips of how to navigate the situation if you have a tricky boss.

Don’t take it personally

When dealing with a difficult boss it’s important not to take it personally, because they would behave like this regardless of who was in the position.  Consider taking a step back and try to separate yourself from the emotion. Figure out what it is that your boss needs from you and focus on helping them get there. This may help improve your relationship.

Create Boundaries

If your boss is pushing you passed your limit and you feel like you are headed for burnout, it’s important to create some boundaries. Recognise that you don’t need to respond straight away and remember that it’s all about using the right language when you do respond. Be polite and diplomatic, but don’t be afraid to say “I’m sorry, I’m not available on that day, but I will be on this day”.

Stop, Breathe and Count to 10

If you are feeling extremely stressed, micro-managed or angry because your boss is being unreasonable, it’s important to keep your cool so that you don’t say or do something you will regret. Stop, take some deep breaths and count to 10.  It’s ok to say “I just need a minute”.  Remember that you don’t have to respond to situations on the spot and taking some time out will help you respond from a place that is not emotional.

Set an Exit-Plan with a Structured Time Frame

If your boss isn’t going anywhere any time soon, and a long-term career working for them is not in your best interest then focus on why you are there, while ultimately continuing to look elsewhere for other opportunities. Having an end in sight i.e. ‘I will continue to work here until the end of the year to gain the experience I need to achieve my future goals’ (even if it’s improving your EQ), can positively help shift how you are feeling in the short term.


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