15 Smart Ways On How To Deal With a Difficult Boss In 2023

A lot of bosses are difficult to work with because of their unending demands. Some never express pleasure or satisfaction in any work, and that can frustrate the employee.

According to EHS Today, 31% of employees polled feel uninspired and unappreciated by their bosses. Only 38% of those polled describe their boss as “great,” with 42% saying their bosses don’t work very hard and close to 20% saying their boss has little or no integrity.

These results support other statistics that reveal the enormous amount of dissatisfaction that employees have with their jobs. And why they find it difficult to deal with a tough boss.

But this article is about eliminating that problem. Here, you will master smart ways that will reveal how to deal with a difficult boss. Furthermore, you will learn different strategies to adopt when you want to please your boss.

Who Is a Bad Boss?

Bad bosses are not defined by certain looks, but their characteristics align to a large extent. Their failure to communicate effectively and clearly to the team is a major deterrent that impeded the progress of the team.

Bad bosses never offer the opportunity for staff to respond to accusations and comments. They intimidate people and allow other employees to bully employees. A bad boss talks condescendingly to an employee who has put aside their fear and attempted to communicate.

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What Are The Signs of a Toxic Boss?

Since you cannot identify bad bosses by looking at them, certain key indicators can tick them off whenever they are around you. While there are so many of them, some of them are very common. These signs include:

  • Failure to communicate
  • Abuse of disciplinary measures
  • Taking credit for the team’s successes
  • Failure to reward for great performance
  • Enjoy gossip and backbiting
  • Lacking clarity
  • Having many unhappy employees
  • Not appreciating of employee feedback

15 Smart Ways How to Deal With a Difficult Boss

1. Remain Professional

The workplace is a professional setting. And this makes it important for anything in the office to be executed professionally. Hence, you should avoid behavioral exhibitions that stand against the professional setting of your environment.

A good time when you might want to lose your professional manners is when your boss says or does something wrong. You must ensure you don’t flare up and show disrespect and unprofessional. Instead, you should attack the matter professionally.

2. Learn Your Boss’s Goals

Every boss has a goal. While you might have your personal goals which are important, it’s an added advantage to learn your bosses’ goals so you can perform incredibly well in your position.

By doing shabby work, you threaten your stay in the work environment which will only worsen with the continuance of such behavior. Hence, it’s great to know one of the ways to deal with a difficult boss is to ensure you get your work done correctly.

3. Communicate Your Concerns

Communication can avoid a full-blown war. Indeed, it is the bedrock of any amazing relationship, and who says you can’t have a quality relationship with your boss? Absolutely, no one!

When you have any concerns regarding your job, you must reach out to your boss on the matter. By discussing your concerns with an open mind, you’ll see that what could have caused friction between the two of you would be wiped away.

4. Watch Your Speech

There’s always the temptation to lose your cool when you’re talking with your boss. Scenarios like this don’t always end well for you as an employee, so you need to ensure you’re always watching yourself while you talk to your boss.

On occasions when you need to speak, it’s a great practice to always have your points are written down and well-detailed, then you take a deep breath. Try not to derail from your script, so you don’t lose your train of thought and utter what you shouldn’t say.

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5. Don’t Always Take The Blame

A lot of employers feel that by taking the blame, their boss is impressed by their show of responsibility and they get a level of admiration. Well, this is a big lie and constantly taking the blame will only lead you closer to the exit door.

It’s important to note that you don’t deal with a difficult boss by always taking the blame when you’re not responsible.

6. Avoid Frustrating Situations

Losing your steam on the job can hit two ways, but it is always highly detrimental for you and the staff when it gets to the notice of everyone. It’s always smarter to maintain an admirable level of excellence in doing your job.

Remain engaged and put in a good level of interest when doing your job. A positive attitude will make you feel better and give you the steam to follow through on the desires and plans you find important in your life.

7. Consider Every Problem As a Learning Experience

Your relationship with your boss might be terrible at the moment, but if you trace everything from the inception, you’ll see that there are a lot of lessons to learn. By working and dealing with a difficult boss, you’re mastering key communication and diplomacy skills.

Hence, when you encounter someone as difficult as your boss, you would not have a hard time working with the person.

8. Remain a Problem Solver

Problems are the main focus of any business. Hence, as an employer, you should remain committed to solving problems in your workplace.

By solving problems, you display reliability, professionalism, and an eye for detail. This is a commendable act that can please your boss and get you some level of respect from your colleagues. Bosses always like problem solvers, so this is one great way to deal with a difficult boss.

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9. Avoid Getting Emotional During Conversations

Emotions make us human. Our ability to connect with what we feel is amazing and while it can be profitable in some environments, getting emotional doesn’t always connect to honesty, nor does it mean you’re correct.

When having conversations with a difficult boss, it’s important you avoid getting emotional. Ensure your words are facts backed up by science or situations outside your control. In points where it was within your control, you should also take the blame.

10. Take Note of Your Conversations

A good way to deal with a difficult boss when you’re having conversations with them is to have a record of your conversations taking great note of all the conversations and conclusions that were reached.

This document always comes in handy when there is slack from any area, and there’s a need for someone to take complete responsibility for the fault.

11. Create Quality Relationships

Quality relationships in the workplace are a great way to send a message to a difficult boss. By looking at the relationships you share with other people, your boss might be open to having a conversation with you towards improving your work relationship.

12. Be Ready to Discuss Criticism

Criticism is a crucial aspect of workplace performance analysis. A lot of people have mild patience for criticism which makes it difficult for them to work with anyone.

As a professional, you must be prepared to discuss criticism of your performance with your boss. This will not only help you identify your mistakes, but it will also open you up to areas you can improve on to do better on the job.

13. Don’t Go Ahead of Your Boss

You might discover your boss lacks knowledge of certain things, and you might feel because you command better knowledge of it, you can go ahead to take action without letting your boss know.

This is bad! In fact, it is a huge act of disrespect both to your boss, and the company.

Before you take any of such decisions, you must pass them through your boss. Ensure you get a go-ahead from them, so it never backfires. By always working things out, you will learn this tactic of dealing with a difficult boss will come in handy.

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14. Understand You Cannot Change Your Boss

A lot of people are keen on changing their boss so that things can get better. Truth is; even if you had the power to change your boss, there’s no guarantee that your change would improve anything, as you also have limited knowledge.

Instead of focusing on changing your boss, change yourself! Work on the things that strain your relationship with your boss and everything will go smoothly.

15. Move to Another Job

Sometimes, you might do all you can to deal with a difficult boss, but it might not work out. Don’t be sad, just understand that you would need to seek an opportunity elsewhere.

However, it’s always good to start getting your application out there before you resign so you’re not outside a job.


Everyone has a difficult side they show once in a while. So, while you might think your boss is difficult, you are also difficult in a way.

Nevertheless, these strategies you’ve learned from this article will help you greatly when you want to deal with a difficult boss in your workplace.


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