How to Manage Difficult Bosses Like a Boss!
Posted on Thursday, March 12, 2020 by Otti Hart — No comments
By Shahla Aliyeva
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash
Working on a web development project can be tough. Still, it becomes absolute hell if you are dealing with a demanding boss. They keep piling extra burdens on you to meet their unreasonable expectations. Some of these demands may be downright extreme or totally irrelevant to the success of the project.
What, then, should you do if you find yourself in such a situation? The first idea that is likely to come to mind is to quit and leave the boss to do the work themselves. This is not the best idea really, because:
1. Bad bosses are everywhere; there's no guarantee your next boss will be a good one
2. They will still find someone else to do it anyway, while you're out in the cold after quitting
The best idea, therefore, is to find some boss moves to deal with your difficult boss. This article outlines several tips you can use to achieve this.
Understand Your Boss
Before taking any action, you must first understand where your boss is coming from. What is making them hard on you, and what kind of tactic are they using? Could they be, for instance, scared that you are scaling the radar and are likely to topple them?
Could they be frustrating you for fear that you might leave the company? Or perhaps they have their own personal problems that they are pouring out on you subconsciously?
Knowing what is causing your bosses' cockiness is like having intel in war. It helps you to formulate a winning strategy.
Develop a Spine
Whatever it is that is causing a boss to be hard on you, the first step towards solving it is developing firmness. Mostly, people get bullied (by bosses and others) because they appear easy to push over. Your boss could be asking you to put in extra hours even when it is not necessary simply because you cannot say no.
Learning to say no can go a long way in earning your respect and making your projects peaceful. Also, learn to voice your concerns when you feel unfairness that is targeted towards you. You will be surprised by how firmness can change your bosses' attitude towards you.
Do Your Work
It may sound clichéd, but getting your work done ranks up there among the boss moves that earn you respect. Occasionally, bosses are only actually doing their work when we think they are being difficult. If you get your job done, you become one less headache for your boss and, if they are reasonable, they learn to give you respect.
That does not mean having your work ready will always guarantee you a comfortable time, though. Some bosses will want you to keep making changes or lump extra tasks on you simply because you have completed one. However, when you have done what is required of you, it becomes easy to protest against manipulation and bullying. In such instances, you have the confidence to take a stand, given your work backs you up, even if you were to face a higher authority.
Reason with Your Boss
Yes, the 'kill them with kindness' approach works too! Quite often, and especially in web development circles, you will be dealing with bosses who have no idea what you are doing. Since a development project is not like a building construction whose progress can be seen after every brick, your boss may sometimes feel like you are dragging things on.
Taking time to make them understand how things work can go a long way in easing their tension. Showing them front-end milestones, (no need to bother with the back end if they don't understand development), and giving them timelines can also be of great help.
Some bosses will bully you because they think you are not good enough. They feel that they are doing you a favour by having you working for/under them. They push you around because they know (think) you cannot leave.
The boss move to unchain yourself from this yoke is to keep improving your skills. Take lessons that actually add to your value and let it be known that you are actively doing so. When asked to work unreasonable hours, always make it be known that you cannot manage because you 'have classes.'
This approach can, however, have a ricochet effect. Insecure bosses may use it to frustrate you even further. This is why you have to apply the 'understand your boss' move before pulling this one-off. If it won't benefit you to say that you are taking lessons, don't say it aloud, but keep learning anyway.
Yes, you read that right! Even if it was earlier stated that you might find another bad boss elsewhere, it does not mean you have to collapse under the current one. It is not always your fault that you quit. Sometimes it is for your own good, and it can be a step towards a better turn of fortunes.
After all, you probably have pulled the 'keep learning' boss move. The tech industry is full of opportunities, and quitting could even give you a chance to be your own (or other people's) boss too!
Each of the above moves can go a long way in helping deal with cocky, manipulative bosses. They are, however, boss moves and should only be used in a boss way; wisely.