Having a boss that makes your life painful can be one of the worst situations to be in. Bad bosses come in various flavours and might be unappreciative, give too much work, take credit for themselves, be verbally abusive, expect you to have no life outside work and so on. Given the amount of time we spend at work and also with our boss, this can have a big impact on your mental/emotional health.
So how do you deal with this? Each of the situations/behaviors described above could be tackled in a different way and it is hard to give advice without a specific situation in mind. However, I can provide some general pointers, which should help in many situations. The most important thing to keep in mind, is that you need to avoid getting bogged down by the situation and thinking too much about all the details/drama. Keep yourself positive and focused on solutions.
Assuming that you want to stay in the same job/company, the first alternative is to see what you can do to make the situation better.
- Think about all the changes you could make to your own attitude, thought process and behaviour
- Then try out a few of the changes and see which ones have the biggest positive impact, on you and/or your supervisor’s behaviour
- Continue doing what works and discard what doesn’t
Make sure that you are doing your job well and performing at high standards
- Remember that making your supervisor look good is part of your job. If he’s happy, in most cases you’ll be happy as well
- Look for support. Other people at work might be facing the same situation, talk to them, vent a little bit and maybe even have a laugh about the way your boss behaves. It’s always nice to know that you are not alone
If that doesn’t help, then it might be useful to have a talk with your boss.
- Confirm with him that your performance is good and ask what can be done to improve further
- Ask him what you can do to make his life better
- Talk about changes in your job profile that would help you
- If possible, discuss changes in the way he deals with you and how you could work better together
- Don’t make it a blame game. Keep focussed on solutions
The next alternative is to talk to other people in the company (such as people higher up) and see what options you have. Maybe you could move to another department? In my experience, this approach might work in very big companies but can be less effective in smaller organisations, for various reasons.
If all else fails, then consider leaving the company and moving on. It’s just not worth it.