When things don’t turn out quite as you hoped and you’re left dealing with a difficult boss or challenging leadership, you may feel unsure of where you stand in your position. From the smallest decisions during the workday, to the larger question of whether you should plan your exit strategy, it’s natural to feel stress and anxiety. You’re not alone. Inc revealed that three out of four employees report that their boss is the worst, most stressful part of their job!
No matter what roadblocks you’ve hit in your career, there is help ahead. Read on to find out how to start dealing with a difficult boss!
Boundaries are equally as important in your professional life as they are in your personal life. While it can be intimidating to set boundaries with someone who seems to have power over you, it’s essential if you’ve come to find your position uncomfortable or unsatisfying.
Once you recognize what boundaries have been crossed, you can begin the boundary setting process. Afraid your boundary-setting will come across as a complaint, or you’ll be perceived as selfish? Illustrate a concrete example that’s relevant to your boss. If you’ve had one too many projects added to your plate, you might say, “I’m currently working on project X. If I start project Y, we won’t make the deadline for project X.” Expect that your boundaries may not be immediately respected, but keep at it. To improve your work situation, find one area where you can set a boundary this week.
Afraid your boundary-setting will come across as a complaint, or you’ll be perceived as selfish? Illustrate a concrete example that’s relevant to your boss.
Expand on points of contention
Surprisingly, there’s a lot you can learn about dealing with tough leadership from couples counseling. One tip is to make your manager feel heard. When you reach a point of contention, repeat back what your manager said and ask, “Is that what you meant?” Then you have the opportunity to ask for more information.
At their core, everyone wants to feel like they are respected and doing a good job at their work — your boss included. Consider taking a little dive into psychology and uncovering the motivation behind what your boss does. A little detective work might help you create a better work environment. Start by listening to requests your boss makes and think about what motivation is behind them. Then, when you’re ready, you can use the ‘tell me more’ trick to gain a better perspective.
Work around their faults and focus on strengths
Leadership consultant Margie Warrell recommends a strategy of supporting your manager in their strengths and working around their faults. Your goal is to do the best you can to work with their strengths and avoid their flaws. Margie teaches that leading your manager to success leads to greater personal success than any alternate option.
Your goal is to do the best you can to work with their strengths and avoid their flaws.
Take a moment to review your experience with your boss. Where are their strengths? Where are their weaknesses? Just as you hope colleagues will do for you, support your boss in their areas of strength.
Transform your job
When your job has become less than fulfilling, it may be time to transform it. This strategy begins with a loathe-love list. For a week, track everything you loathe and everything you love about your job. This simple practice reveals your emotional reactions to the things you do each day.
With a list of all the things you do enjoy about your job, you’ll be able to volunteer for more of those responsibilities. Ask yourself how you can incorporate more of those things into your work. The things you loathe then become a powerful lesson. What can you delegate? What could you do to make those things unnecessary? Even if you eventually leave your position, you’ll know what things to avoid in the future and what things light you up.
Find moral support
There’s nothing easy about dealing with challenging leadership at work. Being able to share your experience and gain support and advice from women who’ve been in the same position can change how you feel entirely. With a strong network of support, your confidence to overcome challenges will soar. Plus, you’ll have several avenues for networking when the time comes for a career change.
Find people outside the workplace who can encourage and mentor you. Allies and friends who make all the difference. This is what we offer at Central Exchange! We are a community of women who are here to uplift and inspire, no matter your situation. Be our guest today!