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How to Handle a Bad Boss


If you are dealing with a bad boss it can really weigh you down.  Even if you love your job and the work that you do, a bad boss can make your life miserable and leave you feeling worthless.  So what can you do?  Depending on your situation it may be in your interest to stick it out in order to get ahead.  In other cases it might be time to make a change.

Use the tips below to help you handle a bad boss and avoid one in the future.

7 Tips to Handle a Bad Boss

1. Are they a bad boss?

The first thing that you need to determine is if you actually have a bad boss.  This may sound crazy if you are not a fan of your current manager, but it is important to take a step back and assess.  Sometimes when new managers come in or if there is a shift in the organization, employees can be hard on these individuals.  You may have really liked your last manager or your new boss may be making a lot of changes.  With that being said, there are still bad bosses out there!  Give it some time before you jump on the bad boss train.

2.What makes them tick?

Understanding what makes them tick is a great initial strategy.  If you are dealing with a bad boss you want to try your best to stay in their good graces.  Make note of the things that make them angry/unhappy and try your best to avoid those situations.  Some managers are very happy when employees just do their jobs and leave them alone.

3. Observe and adapt

This one piggy backs off of number 2.  Take some time to observe your manager and get a feel for their actions and behaviors. As mentioned above, figure out what makes them angry/unhappy, but also figure out the things that make them happy.  Use this information to try your best to adapt to your boss, even if it is only a temporary fix.

4. Stay focused

No matter how bad your situation is with your current boss you have to remain focused and not let it affect your work.  Chances are that at some point you may want to find a new job and you want to stay on good terms with the other leaders in the company.  There is also that chance that you could possibly move to a different role in your organization under a different manager.

5. Be a leader

If you are currently dealing with a bad boss lacking leadership skills it may be best for you to step up to the plate.  Set the tone for your department and stay positive.  Other folks in the company will notice your initiative and it may lead to something better.

6. Take the high road

Remember to always take the high road.  Don’t let a poor manager make you do something or say something that you may regret.  It’s not worth it.  Try your best to stay calm and to stay on track.  Many times when employees have a bad boss they start to slack and not care about their job.  While it may seem like an easy way out, don’t do it.  You don’t want anything to hinder your chances at opportunities in the future.

7. Avoid a future bad boss

Finally, you may have no other choice but to start looking for something new.  If this is the case it is important to make sure you don’t end up in a similar situation.  During your interview with your potential manager be sure to dig in and ask a lot of questions.  Do your research and be confident that you will be comfortable working for this manager before you accept the job.


Dan Metz is the Director of Executive Search and Employee Development at the Resilience Group, LLC, and Co-Founder and Contributing Author for Need a New Gig.  Follow his blog for more great tips like this!