How to Deal with an Unreasonable Boss

How to Deal with an Unreasonable Boss

It happens to many of us – being stuck with a boss who is simply hard to please! Nothing you do is right; you are to blame for everything that goes wrong; the boss is always quick to find fault with you and criticise you; compares your work unfavourably with that of other colleagues and is always ready to put you down. You find yourself saddled with all the worst jobs and sometimes no work at all!

Even though you do your best to stay on his or her right side, you are unable to do so. What do you do in such a case? You can always leave the job but maybe you like the company and the job role itself – it’s only the boss who is a big thorn in your side. Is there any way that you can salvage the situation?

One of the first rules in dealing with such an unreasonable boss is never to lose your cool. That might seem a bit difficult to follow, but losing your temper will just aggravate the state of affairs and could even provoke the boss to cite you for disciplinary action. Do not get provoked into saying or doing anything rash. Listen politely to what the boss says but accept the criticism only if it is valid or justified.

You have to be assertive in such situations and can point out to the boss calmly that the criticism against you is not valid. Even if you decide to have a ‘showdown’ with the boss, do it quietly, coolly and in a private place. Do not have a public shouting match – that will not solve the problem. Ask the boss why he or she is behaving in that particular manner and what can be done to improve the relationship between you. Sometimes talking about the problem and bringing it out into the open might resolve the matter. If you need, you can even bring in a third party to mediate.

Keep a record of all the work you have done so that if ever the boss starts to berate you for unfinished work or not having the work done properly or on time, you can always produce the evidence. Keep a log of all the calls you have made, emails you have sent, and responses you have received and so on.

Sometimes people, in sheer desperation, may try tactics such as issuing a public protest against the boss or going over the boss’ head to someone senior. In both cases – if you are driven to such an action – make sure that you are totally in the right and your own behaviour is above reproach. If all other efforts to put matters right between you and your boss have failed, you can warn your boss that you intend to take other action. Later on, the boss cannot turn around and say that you did not give him a chance to settle the issue. Remember that whatever happens, your own behaviour should be honest and transparent.

However, if nothing, nothing, nothing works – then just pack up your bags and leave!

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