What to do When Your
Boss is a Jerk
If you have worked for anytime at all, you have
had the opportunity to work with a difficult boss. I have had
the pleasure of working with many over my lifetime and have
learned a few interesting ways to handle a difficult boss.
First, change your perspective. As long as you
see your boss through your "jerk" filter, your boss
will be a jerk. Let that go and see your boss as just your boss.
Period. Don't make judgments or put labels on the boss. Realize
that your boss just is. Shifting your perspective will help
you to begin to shift the energy around how you think and respond
to your boss.
Learn to manage your boss. Yes, that is right.
One of the most important things one can do is manage the manager.
Learn what you boss wants and doesn't want, likes and doesn't
like, and how to do the kind of job your boss is looking for.
I once worked for a boss who wanted a daily report on everything
I did. I thought it was ridiculous, but it made my boss happy
and kept him off my back. Remember that you do work for the
boss and the boss is paying you, so as long as what the boss
is asking for is legal, then it is your job no matter how stupid
it may seem to you.
Understand that your boss is not going to change.
I have worked with clients that think that if they just do their
job better, faster, or more elegantly, the boss will see how
valuable they are and change their evil ways. Ha, in your dreams!
The boss is not going to change. If change is going to happen,
it is going to be up to you. You will have to change the way
you interact with your boss. Once you begin to act differently,
the boss may respond differently, or not, but it will be up
to you to make the change and you will be in control of your
own actions and responses.
Know that it does not matter if you like your
boss. You do not have to be best friends with the boss. You
do, however, have to have a professional relationship. That
means that you do not complain or gossip about your boss and
you get your job done. I have worked with bosses that I could
not stand, but they never knew it. I was polite, respectful,
and did my job. It was not always easy, but it made a difficult
Understand that you have a few choices here. You
can stay and live with it or you can leave. You can either adapt
to the situation or leave the situation. If you feel like the
boss has done something illegal, you can always see a lawyer
and find out what your rights are. You might also talk to someone
in your Human Resource Department or the Equal Employment Opportunity
person in your company. The thing to remember is that you are
never powerless. Even if all you can do is control your own
actions and attitudes, remember you are in control.
Document everything. Documentation will support
you if you ever have to file a complaint. Keep detailed records
about the interactions with your boss, the work you are doing,
and anything else that may seem important. I once had a boss
try to downgrade my appraisal for no other reason than his appraisal
had been downgraded and he didn't want me to have a better rating
than he. Because I had everything documented, I was able to
fight the downgrade and won. Documenting what you do just makes
good sense. It will also help you at the end of the year when
you are trying to remember everything you did. Don't expect
your boss to remember; even a great boss won't. They have way
too much to do. It is up to you to keep detailed records of
how you are contributing to the organization.
Everyone is someone's difficult person. You may
very well have a personality conflict with your boss. Ask yourself
honestly how you are contributing to the relationship with your
boss. It does take two to dance. Ask yourself how you are making
things worse. This can be hard to look at, but can also give
you some insight into your own behavior and how you can remove
yourself from the drama. Sometimes, with or without realizing
it, we are making the situation worse. Step back and see how
you might be doing that and stop. This isn't a matter of giving
up or letting the other person win. It is a matter of maintaining
Find someone outside of your work environment
to talk with. Do not talk with other people at work about what
a jerk the boss is. It will get back to her or him. Find someone
who can give you an unbiased opinion and help you create a strategy
to manage the boss. This will help you to defuse some of your
frustration and support you in creating healthy ways to handle
And remember, you have the power! Don't let anyone
take it from you. Control your actions and attitudes. As long
as you are in control, you are better able to manage the situation
and make the best choices.
Coach Rachelle Disbennett-Lee, PhD provides daily motivation,
information and inspiration to thousands of busy self development
enthusiast who want to stay focused and on track to their goals
through her award winning e-zine 365 Days of Coaching. For a
free report, "The Power of Daily Action - How to create
more Wealth, Health and Happiness by Tapping Into the Power
of Daily Action" go to http://www.365daysofcoaching.com/daily_action.htm.
2003 True Direction, Inc.