Learning how to deal with a demanding boss is like dancing on a highwire or balancing a teetering rock. You never know if the next step is going to be the end. Let’s face it. Some people should never be the boss. They may be savvy at business and adept at spreadsheets and promotions, but they lack people skills, compassion, common courtesy, and fairness. So, how do you navigate such a challenging situation without getting fired or walking off the job? Here are some tips and tricks.
How to Deal with a Demanding Boss: Recognize the Signs
How to deal with a demanding boss is something that most of us have some experience with. Some have been unfortunate enough to work for them for a long time. What may have started as a decent job can gradually become a nightmare. See if you recognize these signs of a difficult boss:
- Making unrealistic demands
- Always criticizing, never offering praise
- Checking up on your every move
- Second-guessing your choices
- Questioning your abilities
- Speaking negatively about you to others
- Giving you unwarranted substandard performance reviews
- Passing you over for promotions and plum assignments
- Expecting you to work overtime without pay
- Taking credit for your successes
- Speaking to you in a demeaning, disrespectful manner
- Switching your schedule without notifying you in advance
- Demanding you do personal errands for them
- Promising time off, then refusing to grant it
- Insisting you be available by text, phone, and email on nights and weekends
- Dismissing your concerns as petty
- Never responding to emails or messages, then claiming not to have received them
- Superficially charming, yet devious and conniving
- Acting like your friend to their superiors
- Not being there for you when you need it
Deal with a Demanding Boss: Tips and Tricks
“Having a bad boss isn’t your fault. Staying with one is.” – Nora Denzel.
Any one of these is bad enough. But add a few together, and the job is something you dread going to every day. You may spend time quitting quietly, but that won’t solve the problem. The question isn’t do you have a bad boss, but how can you feel comfortable dealing with a demanding boss? Put these tips to practical use and start planning your exit.
Keep a Journal
It’s essential to write down every instance of bad behavior, especially when it veers into discrimination, sexual or other harassment, verbal abuse, and illegal activities. You’ll need proof of your accusations if the company has an HR department or if the behavior may warrant a lawsuit or interaction with the authorities.
- Note the date, time, and other particulars of the behavior.
- Detail the interaction from the start to the end.
- Be specific as to what was said – and how you replied.
- Remember to be discreet. You don’t want others to know you’re logging unacceptable behavior. Some employees will report you, seeking to curry favor with the boss.
- Record the behavior even if it isn’t illegal or dangerous. If you’re constantly humiliated, belittled, ignored, or overworked without consideration or relief, it’s essential to have notes of this.
Deal with a Demanding Boss: Watch Your Tone
When dealing with a demanding boss, watching what you say can be extraordinarily challenging. While the natural tendency may be to reply in kind, remember who you’re dealing with. The boss has the right to fire you or make your work life even more miserable. Besides, you don’t want to worsen the situation unless you have another job lined up.
- Bite your tongue.
- Think before you speak.
- Maintain a respectful tone, even though it’s not reciprocated.
- Be truthful, but don’t overpromise – especially if the boss makes unrealistic demands or insists on an impossible completion time.
Maintain a Strong Support System
You must have a staunch support system to help you weather this situation. Tell your spouse or partner, close friends, or confidantes what’s going on. Consult a lawyer if necessary. Be cautious of badmouthing the boss to other employees, even those you consider friends. Again, you don’t want to jeopardize your job or be accused of retaliatory remarks.
Brush Up Your Resume
Finding a new job takes time, effort, and strategic planning. Before hitting the apply online button for a job that looks appealing, refresh your resume so it shines.
- Search for tips online for what the best resumes contain. Then, review yours to ensure it has the correct information in sequence.
- Thoroughly check spelling and grammar. Better yet, use grammar help like Grammarly to catch all the errors.
- Is anything missing? Do you have recent training, certificates, or degrees to add? The more credentials you can highlight, the more likely prospective employers will pay notice – especially if they’re looking for someone with your qualifications.
Deal with a Demanding Boss: Network Like Your Job Depends on It
Many people get a job through referrals and recommendations from friends. Others know someone who left their company and went to a new one and now have positive things to say about it. For those who don’t have referrals or recommendations or know someone on the inside at a desirable company, the best strategy is to network.
Social media platforms like LinkedIn are an excellent resource for business networking. The site also has robust job search functionality, with over 20 million jobs listed. Besides job searches, LinkedIn offers the opportunity to connect with others in your field or a business or category you’re interested in.
Also, join community networking or other groups in your area of interest. Meetings are in-person and online and can help you make beneficial contacts.
Sign Up for Job Boards or Hire a Recruiter
Job boards offer a one-stop way to find and apply for positions. On the other hand, consider hiring an executive recruiter or headhunter to do much of the legwork for you. This is especially true if you’re worried about confidentiality at your current workplace.
Add a New Skill or Become More Proficient
It might be wise to take a course or two to add a new skill to your resume. Or use this time to maximize your strengths and become more proficient in areas of expertise employers are keen to fill. This can be a skill related to the field you’re in now or in an altogether new business sector.
On the other hand, it always helps to learn new things. You stay sharp, engaged, and become more well-rounded. If you’re happy doing something, it shows in your attitude. You’ll be more upbeat, positive, and self-confident – all qualities prospective employers value.
Save Your Money
Now is not the time to be extravagant in purchases. Forego the big sales and avoid the temptation to buy a new car because the deal is good or favorable financing may be available. If you plan to make a career change or switch jobs, you want a secure nest egg to see you through.
- You may require a wardrobe change or addition.
- Relocation may be necessary – and not paid for by the new employer.
- Commuting expenses may eat into your savings.
- You may be starting at a negotiated lower salary – with the potential for advancement. While this isn’t ideal, if the prospects are good at the new company, be willing to consider taking a lower initial salary.
Keep Your Cool and Enjoy Time with Friends
Stay social during this time of job uncertainty. While it may be tough to put on a happy face when work is a drain on your energy and emotions, you must do everything possible to balance your life through friendships. Remember that friends can serve as an emotional buffer, and laughing and having fun do wonders for your morale.
Besides, participating in enjoyable activities is an excellent and proactive way to decrease work stress.
Prepare to Exit – Gracefully
When dealing with a demanding boss and it’s time to leave, remember how you handle this stage of your career matters. There will always be tough times and challenges to weather. Yet, how you manage this one says a lot about you as a person. It indicates your strength of character, your resilience, and how you maintain calm under pressure.
Besides, think how much better off you’ll be and how satisfied you are that you left that distasteful, unreasonable, demanding boss behind. Now, it’s on to bigger and better things. And you can do so by holding your head high and being proud of yourself.