How to handle a tough boss

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If you are not self-employed, then like many people, the most important person in determining your future is your boss.

On a day-to-day basis, he has direct control over your career, earning power and indirectly the quality of your life.

He has direct authority in assigning you jobs that enhance your skills and self-esteem.

On the other hand, he is also a major potential cause of headaches and worries, especially if he is a difficult boss. In other words, he can either make you tick or make you sick.

What can you do if you are unfortunate enough to have a tyrant of a person as a boss, one who is insensitive to individual needs, a terrible taskmaster, unsupportive, and guilty of exploiting his workers?

You can take the sufferings in your stride or work at turning a bleak situation to your advantage.

In fact, most of the people who complain endlessly about their difficult bosses do not realize that there are actually some benefits to working for someone they do not like or respect.

The following paragraphs show a number of things you can do to change the problem of having a difficult boss into a boost for your career.

Not only will you end up being able to shape his opinion of you favourably, your good work may even get you promoted into the job now held by your boss!

Firstly keep cool and maintain a calm level-headedness. Your ability to stay cool and perform well, contrasted with your boss’s temper tantrums, should eventually win you praise from colleagues and higher management.

Make meticulous notes of what your difficult boss is doing that is wrong, and vow to do just the opposite when you are in a position of authority.

Take on a more active role in your company.

Remain visible in your organization and in your profession.

Become very good at what you do. Make sure everything is done on time, under little supervision, within the budget and to your boss’s requirements.

Learn what is really important to your boss and show by your action that those same things are important to you as well.

Do some of your boss’s work by thinking up solutions to problems and new programmes or products.

Be careful, however, to share your ideas with your boss first instead of taking them to higher management. He will be grateful to you for that.

Volunteer for difficult and unwanted assignments. You will score high on this whenever you step forward to get your boss off the hook.

And when you succeed where no one else can, you will become a rising star.

Accept whatever criticism he hurls at you. Do not become defensive. Instead, show a desire to use the feedback to improve your effectiveness.

If you react poorly to criticism, it may be withheld until it is too late or until it builds into a hurricane of reaction.

On the other hand, accept praise graciously without showing false modesty and thus negating the gift of praise. Just a simple “thank you” will do nicely.

Be direct and concise in your dealings with your boss. Do not play guessing games with him.

Use simple language. Do not appear rushed or curt when you speak to your boss.

As you have been working with your boss, you should know the direction of his line of questioning. Be prepared with the answers and you will look great.

However do not offer any unsolicited promises to gain favour. A promise can turn out to be an invitation to failure.

It would be more powerful to deliver a piece of excellent work without having made any promise in advance of a delivery.

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