Last update08/06/2018


How to Avoid Losing your Sanity to an Intolerable Boss

Sunday, 22 September 2013
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Summary: Take control over your reactions and use the experience to build invaluable career skills.


Intolerable bosses blame you for negative outcomes even when it might not have been your fault. Intolerable bosses keep finding faults even when they know that you are doing your best to get the job done. Working alongside such bosses can have an impact on your stress and confidence levels. You can learn to manage such bosses if quitting the job is not an option for you.


Curb the Temptation to React

ItÔÇÖs human to want to react to unfair treatment. You may want to respond in anger to the sarcastic, angry or unfair remarks made by your boss. While responding in kind may give you personal satisfaction, it can result in several negative outcomes that can impact your career advancement. Fortunately, how you react is well within your control.

Practise stopping yourself from reacting impulsively to your bossÔÇÖ remarks no matter how rude, juvenile or unfair you think they might be. Try to stay calm instead. Your calm posture reflects professionalism to those around you (especially if your boss is fond of blasting you in front of an audience); this can contribute to building your reputation among your co-workers and help in boosting your career opportunities.

By remaining calm, you remove the power from your boss to control your reactions.


Reason Out the Situation

Assess your role in the situation, and find out if your boss was indeed right in blaming you.┬á If the mistake is from your end, own it and ensure you donÔÇÖt repeat it in future. If not, determine the cause and present an objective case to your boss once he or she has calmed down.

For example, if you missed a deadline because of someone elseÔÇÖs delay in sending required information, despite your repeated reminders to the concerned party, explain the same to your boss.

Analyse errors that seem to trigger the worst side of your boss, and avoid committing them. For example, your boss might want you to update him through phone instead of an email when it comes to priority projects; practice doing so.

Take precautionary steps such as putting your boss in the loop whenever a project requires information from some other department. This way, your boss will probably get to know where the delay is happening.


Maintain a Record of your Achievements at Work

Keep a detailed record of the job that you do. Add to it the challenges you face, how you overcome them, and your achievements despite these challenges. Make note of words of appreciation a task receives. This entire record empowers you to face your boss with proof when a situation warrants. Visiting these records can also give you a sense of accomplishment and boost your confidence levels.


Never Cease Networking

An unfair boss can test your tolerance and self-esteem. You might be tempted to isolate yourself as a result. Try networking instead. Get in touch with your friends from school or college, or ex-colleagues. Share your experiences with them (without badmouthing your boss). Exchanging experiences can give you a new perspective and sometimes a new strategy to cope with your boss.

Consider networking with other departments in your own office. You could discover a trustworthy colleague or mentor who can guide in trying times.


Practice Maintaining a Positive Outlook

The tendency to view yourself as a victim at the mercy of your boss is natural. Practise pulling yourself from such defeating thoughts. Lean towards thoughts that give you a sense of purpose in every situation. Consider each experience with your boss as an opportunity to build workplace skills that can only make your resume more valuable for future employers.

Pay attention to your food and exercise to keep your body and spirits positive. Allot time for spending with friends or for pursuing your hobbies. Infusing generous quantities of humour into your lifestyle wouldnÔÇÖt hurt either.


What are your tips for tacking an impossible boss? We welcome you to share them here.