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How to Handle Difficult Bosses Without Losing Your Cool

If you have a bad boss or are managing someone who is driving you crazy, I am here to help. Here are my top 10 ways of dealing with them: 

Stay Calm.

boss boss

When you are under attack, you may feel like you’re about to explode.  Don’t do it! You need to keep your cool because if you blow up, the argument will escalate, and things will only worsen.  Calmly ask for some time to think about what your boss is asking of you and return when you have collected yourself.

Staying calm is the best way to diffuse a bad situation. It also helps you think more clearly and gives your boss a chance to calm down as well.

If you explode and your boss erupts, you both lose.  If you remain calm and your boss can see that they are being unreasonable, it will be much more likely that the two of you can arrive at a compromise.

Listen Critically.

One way to diffuse a bad situation with your boss is to listen critically.  Try not to just react but consider all sides of an argument before responding.  You may even want to write down what you hear so that you do not forget any points as they come up during the conversation.  

This will help prevent a heated argument from escalating out of control because it allows for a clear representation of each side’s opinion and prevents one or both participants from getting too angry or upset.

It is easy to respond right away when someone says something that gets under your skin or makes you angry; however, if you can resist the urge and take the time to really understand what they are saying (and why they are saying it), it will be much easier to deal with whatever situation you find yourself in.  

Responding too quickly often results in a heated argument because one or both people involved do not feel like they have been heard.  Try this: instead of just hearing and responding verbally, take notes and try summarizing what your boss has said.  This will give you the time you need to think critically about what your boss is saying and ensure that you are responding in a way that best represents you both.

Talk to Your Boss About Your Concerns.

If you have a problem with your boss, the best thing to do is talk to them about it. They may not even be aware of how they are acting and may be willing to work on their behavior.

If the problems are really getting to you, then set up a meeting with your boss to talk about it. This can be tricky because your boss may not take kindly to being challenged, but it’s worth a shot if you’re really struggling.

Set boundaries.

You can’t make your boss act differently, but you do have control over yourself and how much time you want to invest. You may decide that after putting in all the hours you’ve put in, working late isn’t worth it anymore or that you aren’t going to come into the office on the weekend just because they expect it from everyone.

Set boundaries with your boss so you don’t have to deal with their bad behavior. If they are always late, decide on a specific time you will start working each day. If they always interrupt the meeting, ask to speak to them outside of the meeting and agree on a time and place.

Document Everything.

document woman

Make notes of what happens and save any exchanges that you have with them. Also, keep copies of emails or texts that are pertinent. If you need to go to human resources about the issue, then having documentation will help your case.

Then if things get really bad, you can begin compiling a folder of all the evidence that you have against them. This may never happen, but if it did it would be great to have this information on hand.

Documenting everything also helps you remember what is going on and can give you a greater sense of control of the situation.

Talk to Other People.

If your boss is making you miserable, then it may be worth talking to other people about how they are acting. You might feel awkward or stupid talking to other people about their boss, but you should know your feelings are valid.

Before talking to anyone else, write down what you want to say and speak from your heart. Don’t gossip about your boss, but do find out if anyone else is having the same problems. This will give you a place to start on how to handle things with your boss.

Identify Your Boss’s Motivations.

When you are being criticized, it can be hard to step back from your own emotions and see things from an objective viewpoint.  

Take a minute or two and think about what is upsetting you:

What exactly is he saying? Is there some truth to his statements? Is he trying to trick you into feeling guilty? Do you feel like he has something personal against you? Does he seem under pressure and taking it out on you?

Once you understand the reason behind your boss’s actions, then you can decide how to release your anger in a healthy manner!

Put Yourself in Your Boss’s Shoes. Assuming that your boss is just an angry, miserable person with nothing else to do will only make you more upset.  

When you are feeling stressed out by your boss’s behavior, stop and think about the pressures he may be facing: Is he worried about a deadline? What project is your team working on? Have other employees been coming to him with their own problems?

Be Knowledgeable About Your Rights.

Your employer must follow certain rules that protect you from false accusations or punishments.  It can be easy to forget these things when you feel as though everything is stacked against you, but knowing what your rights are can help keep you from making serious mistakes.  

For example, you cannot be fired because of your sex, skin color, age, or disability, and there is a minimum wage for non-exempt employees, overtime rules, and a time frame for meal breaks.  These are just a few examples of rights you have that your employer must follow.

Talk With HR.

Even if you don’t think that talking with HR will do anything for you because of your company culture, there is no harm in talking with them.  You may be surprised by what they say or the things that only they can help with, so don’t assume anything.

When you feel like your boss is constantly harassing you about something, the best thing to do is to take accurate notes and talk to HR.  They can be an unbiased third party and will either help you deal with the situation or offer another perspective on what it is that your boss is asking of you.

Stay Professional, Positive, and Motivated.

confident boss

It’s always important to have a good attitude when working under difficult conditions, and this is definitely true when your boss is the problem. No matter how bad things may seem, always try and stay professional and positive in your attitude. This will show your boss that you are a dedicated employee who is willing to put up with anything for the good of the company.

It’s also important to stay motivated even when things are tough. This can be difficult, but it is definitely worth it in the end. Remember why you started working at this company in the first place, and think about all of the great things you will accomplish once things get better.

Bad bosses can definitely make life difficult, but they can also help us to become stronger and more resilient employees. Stay positive, and don’t give up on your dreams- things will get better eventually!


There are a lot of bad bosses out there, and they can be very difficult to deal with. We’ve got you covered, though! Here we presented 10 ways that might help you get through your day-to-day work life when dealing with a bad boss. Hopefully, these tips will make it easier for you to manage the situation until something better comes along.