The Ultimate Guide To Dealing With A Bad Boss


We are really lucky to have good, understanding bosses here at Engagedly. But, that’s not the case for everyone. Not all bosses are bad, but some of them, the less said about them, the better. A boss is not bad when they deny an employee’s leave request or reprimand an employee for a mistake. Those are things that all bosses have to do. They are unpleasant sure, but necessary.

A bad boss can be defined as somebody who is incredibly controlling, fails at managing people, pits employees against one and other, takes all the  credit etc, the list goes on.

It’s very easy to identify a bad boss (except by bad employees because for them all bosses are bad). But what about dealing with a bad boss.

Engagedly has got a few tips for you.

(Also, if you are a boss who happened upon this article and want to know how you can avoid being a bad boss, then you can take a look at 6 leadership mistakes that are costly or 5 manager mistakes that can be avoided.)

Play it Cool

Think of this as a real test of your patience but do your best not to lose your temper when dealing with a difficult boss. When you lose your temper in front of them, you are simply giving them more arsenal against you.

Leave No Room For Mistakes

Bad bosses will pick up on even the smallest of mistakes and then read you the riot act for making that mistake. When you are presenting work to them, make sure it is free of mistakes. They might be a bad boss but let them not find a reason to complain about your work. And if they complain about your work despite your work being near perfect, well then, we know who’s at fault here.

Recognize What Makes Them A Bad Boss

What makes your boss a bad boss? What do you really dislike about them? Give these questions some thought. By the way, this tip only works for reasons that are genuine. If you basis for disliking your boss is that he hates tomatoes on pizza, the problem just might be you. When you pin down on a couple of reasons as to why he or she is bad, you will soon find a way to work around them.

Set A Tolerance Limit For Yourself

Sometimes you might not be able to rid yourself of a bad boss right away. In cases such as these, set a tolerance limit for yourself. Tell yourself, there’s a limit until which you will let things slide. So whenever your boss behaves in a manner that is frustrating, compare it your tolerance limit and decide if you can let it slide. The reason we say let it slide is because you cannot fight all the time. That’s exhausting. Pick your battles wisely instead.

Don’t Let Your Well-Being Be Affected

When it comes down to your health and well-being and dealing with a bad boss, always choose your well-being. When dealing with a bad boss affects your health, makes you sick or gives you anxiety, it’s probably time to start looking for a new place. No matter how good you are at dealing with fractious people, the moment it starts affecting you adversely, you need to move on.

Make A Complaint

While this is the first bit of advice someone might give you when you are dealing with a bad boss, the efficacy of this advice depends on the efficacy of the HR department in your organization. If your HR department ( or senior executives) are considerate and understanding, then your complaint has a better chance of being heard. But if that is not the case, then this might just make things a lot worse. So if you are going to go down this route, think about this carefully. It’s a step that is fraught with a lot of issues. Think of it as the very last resort that you can use.

Look for New Opportunities

In the long run, it is not good to continue to deal with bad bosses. The only one who loses out is you. For as long as you can, stick it out and keeping looking for new opportunities. Remember, the best defense is a good offense. If things are not going to change, do not wait for them to change. Instead find a new place that suits your skills and capabilities better than your present one.


Engagedly is a performance management application with elements of employee engagement. To know how Engagedly can help your organization, request a demo today!


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