In an ideal world, we would have the perfect boss at work. The kind of boss who inspires with his passion, treats us as equals, respects our ideas and perspectives, and genuinely cares about our wellbeing. Alas, though it’s possible to come across bosses who embody most (and even all) of these qualities, they are a rare breed indeed. And in the real world, most of us often find ourselves stuck with bosses who leave a lot to be desired.
If you’re currently working with a challenging boss and reaching the end of your tether, we feel your pain. You could seek greener pastures and relieve yourself of this pressure. Considering that we spend a minimum of 40 hours a week at work, our relationships with our direct superior and peers greatly influence our job satisfaction and happiness in the workplace.
However, if you love everything else about your job and wish to stay on despite having a challenging boss, we applaud your tenacity. You don’t have to do this on your own, though. We’ve compiled a list of the four worst bosses with practical tips on how to deal with them, so keep reading!
1. The BS Expert
He or she excels in talking a good game. The classic know-it-all, the BS Expert is always happy to share tall stories about who they know and the amazing feats they’ve achieved, often embellishing their stories for the added “wow” factor. There’s not usually much substance where this type of boss is concerned. They are generally clueless when it comes to getting the job done, often relying on subordinates to pick up the slack.
The upside is, you’ll benefit tremendously from the experience of doing your boss’s work.
Look at it as a learning opportunity. Being your boss’s go-to person not only scores you bonus points for your next performance evaluation, it also builds up your experience portfolio. Your CV will be that much more impressive for your next job application.
2. The Ticking Time Bomb
The one who overreacts to the smallest provocation, who’s so tightly wound up, he or she snaps at the slightest pressure. Show up for work 5 minutes late? You might get your head bitten off, if the boss catches you. Use single spacing in your document instead of the boss’s mandatory double spacing? She’ll probably go into hysterics in front of the whole department. There is no logic, only strict compliance to his or her rules.
Make a list of all the triggers likely to set off your boss’s tantrums and make sure to avoid every single one of them. Every day. It might be a pain in the unmentionables constantly walking on eggshells, but as long as you work there, it’s what you’ll have to put up with. It might not be ideal, but it’s manageable.
3. The Narcissist
He or she lives in a little oblivious bubble where the rules apply to everyone else but him or her. The universe dances attendance to them and nothing and no one else. Working with the Narcissist, one might as well be invisible. They’ll gladly take the credit and pass the buck as it pleases them. In celebrity terms, a female version would be equivalent to Mariah Carey and a male version Kanye West. Plenty of drama and attention-seeking and not much leadership.
Ignore your boss’s calls for validation as much as possible and seek mentorship elsewhere. Keep a regularly updated record of your projects and achievements — don’t count on your boss to keep track of your accomplishments or endorsements.
4. The Control Freak
The type of boss who just can’t help themselves from micromanaging every little thing you do, breathing down your neck about the simplest tasks. It’s a sign of insecurity and lack of trust when the boss insists on being copied on every single communication and being consulted over the most minor of decisions.
Remember that bosses are prone to insecurities and flaws too. Perhaps it might be a good idea to show more appreciation for your boss’s support and efforts so they feel valued. Spending quality time getting to know the boss will also help you understand him or her better, which might improve your relationship with them and pave the way for mutual trust and respect. If you notice the boss always having lunch alone, invite them along for lunch with you and your team members.
It can be challenging to put yourself in your boss’s shoes when you hate their guts, but look at it as an exercise in managing difficult personalities. It will be a valuable skill for you to have, wherever you’re working next.
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