How to Manage Working for a Scary Boss

Almost everyone has encountered a scary boss at one time or another. It’s frightening to have a boss who storms around the office barking commands, or who is constantly micromanaging every aspect, or one who is just plain incompetent. In fact three out of four employees say that dealing with their boss is the most stressful part of their job, according to research. If this sounds all too familiar, you need to decide to either make the best of it or find a new job.

According to Karin Hurt, author of Overcoming an Imperfect Boss, “The secret to a healthy boss-subordinate relationship is to remember that it’s just that, a relationship. You’re two messy human beings doing the best you can.” These relationships are awkward at best. To be successful you must figure out what makes this person tic, and adjust accordingly. Apply these three proven approaches to control and calm a scary boss relationship.

Know Their ‘Why’: Identify Your Boss’ Motivation

Understanding why your boss behaves a certain way or cares about certain things will give insight to his/her management style. The better you understand what your boss does, and more importantly, WHY, the better positioned you are to deliver results, manage expectations, and avoid lose: lose situations. Put yourself in their shoes and see the workplace, as they might. When you know what drives your boss, you will be able to anticipate their needs and respond in line with their core values, concerns and priorities.

Support their Success & Work around their Weaknesses

It may sound counterintuitive to make a bad boss look good. Yet, there is nothing to be gained by going to war or facilitating their failure. Exposing their incompetence will only compound your own misery and will likely damage your reputation.

Everyone has his or her strengths and weaknesses. Find your boss’ natural strengths then help them focus on those skills. Work around their weaknesses. If you have a boss who’s disorganized, then help them to be on top of things. By doing what you can to reduce your boss’ stress, you create a less stressful environment for everyone.

Take the High Road: There’s Less Traffic

Never let your boss’s bad behavior be an excuse for your own. All too often, people start feeling entitled to slack off, take longer lunches, gossip and grumble or lose interest because of lousy leadership. Don’t do it. Keep your mind focused on top performance. Complain to your spouse or your friends all you want, but when in the workplace, stay upbeat and engaged. Rest assured, someone of influence is likely observing your behavior. Handling a difficult boss well is an opportunity to show what you are really made of. Remember, you must always think, act, and plan like a business leader – your personal brand is riding on it!

Ultimately, how you handle a bad boss effects your success. You have to determine if you can work in the environment your boss creates. If you can, these three tips will go a long way to help you manage even the scariest boss relationships.