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Managing difficult boss

It is always nice to work under a good, caring boss. But in the real life it may not always happen like that – one may find his / her boss

  • A person who is too interfering, too controlling.
  • A person who gives less freedom to work
  • A person who takes credit of the work done and never provides positive feedback
  • A person who never extends support when the team is under pressure.


Under such situation, the employee feels insecure and uncertain about his own abilities, and becomes frustrated and unhappy. Such behaviour of a manager may make a competent and self-directed employee feel insulted and demotivated.

There are several cases where a good manager may suddenly become a difficult boss. For example:

  • When a manager is promoted too quickly or a manager is entrusted with lot of responsibilities for which he is not prepared or doesn’t have the training.
  • When a manager’s responsibilities get expended beyond his / her reach.


Dealing with a “difficult-boss” is a challenge faced by many people. In the following paragraphs we are providing you some suggestions, which you may find useful to deal with your manager, whom you consider to be a “difficult-boss”.

  1. Note down your accomplishments, with date. Keep as much information as possible on the accomplishments.
  2. Keep record of compliments you get from co-workers and managers of other departments.
  3. Always be polite while talking to your manager and tell him you need his support and guidance.
  4. Talk to others, who have full knowledge about the manager, to know more about the manager and seek their guidance.
  5. If there is no improvement and you are sure done what you can do regarding this matter, you may consider taking the matter up in the line. Here the important thing is that the manager will be very upset if he comes to know that you are talking to next level people about the relationship between you and him.
  6. The next level meeting can be with current manager’s boss or with the HR team to get their advice.
  7. We will recommend you to meet the HR team first. If they suggest you to talk to your current manager’s boss, go ahead and meet him.
  8. Normally one won’t hear from the HR team or from the manager’s boss how the problem is getting resolved.
  9. If no change is noticed, you may believe either the management don’t believe you or your manager cannot be changed.
  10. Once you realise the problem won’t get resolved you may ask for transfer to other department. Normally this is not easily possible and is not allowed. In that case you may have to look for another job and quit the present job.

Some tips for meeting with the next level people:

  1. Never use malicious, false and defamatory words about your manager to the next people.
  2. Remember if your manager comes to know that you are talking to others because you feel your current manager is a “difficult-boss”, it is counterproductive and it will not help you to meet your goals. So, keep the entire thing confidential.
  3. Be careful when talking to the HR team or Manager’s boss.
  4. While talking, be aware, it is possible that criticism of your manager could be taken as criticism of the HR team or your manager’s boss. This could bring in more problems for you.
  5. While talking about your manager limit the comments on the behaviour rather than the person. For example instead of saying ‘he is never sure about what he expects from me, my targets keep changing’ say ‘I will be able to deliver better if I am allowed to work on a well thought target, where I get enough time to plan the work and involve right kind of people for completion of the task without any time and cost overrun’.