Tips for Working with a Mean Boss

Tips for Working with a Mean Boss
Tips for Working with a Mean Boss
Photo Credit: A and N photography /
Sukhdeep Singh

Sukhdeep Singh

Write Something To Right Something

Passionate about playing with words. Sukhdeep is a Post Graduate in Finance. Besides penning down ideas, he is an expert online marketing consultant and a speaker.


  1. Identify the problem between you and boss.
  2. What exactly your boss needs?
  3. Keep calm and be honest.
  4. When is the right time to switch your job?

All of us have, at one point or the other, had to work in less than ideal situations with less than ideal people but when the person in question is your boss, it becomes even more difficult.

Handling difficult bosses require a number of skills and strategies. Rather than spending your lunch griping about your horrible boss, here are a few tricks to help you navigate your work space;

Identify the Underlying Problem

What exactly is the problem with your boss? Is he/she micromanaging you because he thinks you are incompetent? Or is his vile treatment generalised to everyone? Are these problems personality- related, or is there an upcoming event that might be responsible for your boss’ rash behaviour.

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The key to accommodating people’s faults is to discover the reason behind them. This tactic not only makes you more patient and compassionate toward them but it also allows you to make excuses for their behaviour.

 Identify your Boss’ Values

When you understand why your boss is nit-picky about a certain thing, it helps you work better. For example, you understand that he doesn’t like shouting at you but just wants excellent services for his clientele. This helps create a common goal that you can both strive towards.

Anticipate your Boss’ Requirements

Anticipate what your boss wants from a particular project and complete it before he/she asks. Nothing shows off excellence and foresight as much as this. It also shows your boss that he/she doesn’t have to stand on your neck before the job gets done. It shows that you are able to take initiative and can make you a favoured employee in their eyes.

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In the same way, if you work with a boss with anger issues identify his/her triggers and steer clear from them so as to prevent a meltdown.

Cool Down

Sometimes, we are being yelled at in a board meeting, in front of all our colleagues. Angry bosses lash out on subordinates and can severely damage self-esteem. These workplaces are strenuous and downright humiliating. But every problem has a solution.

First, identify if you are in the wrong, if you are, fix the problem. Remember that your boss has no right to verbally assault, even if you have committed an error. The key is knowing how to voice this out without causing more problems. The first step is to wait, allow both your tempers to cool down, and then privately meet your boss. Don’t be a pushover, and stay away from strong, unprofessional words. You can say I have been getting a lot of negative feedback from you. Can you please elucidate your directions so I can align my points? Frame your responses not to sound accusatory but to genuinely fix the problem.

Find another Job

Sometimes, we try our best but our bosses remain inept and inconsiderate. If your boss’ attitude is harming your physical, mental and emotional health, it might be time to look elsewhere. Especially if your boss has fundamental personality flaws that hinder his leadership. In these cases, give yourself a time frame within which, if things don’t take a positive turn, you can move on to another job. No amount of money or CV experience is worth putting yourself through a daily routine of heartache.

Don’t let the hardships affect your work

This is the hardest of them all but remember you are working in a job space with multiple employees, people who may, one day in future, recommend you to someone else. Always put in your best because you never know whose watching.

Working with a mean boss can be tasking and require a number of skills and strategies. But remember that if you deal with difficult people often, and handle them well, then your people and conflict-resolution skills keep growing. This is an indispensable quality in any workplace.