• News
  • Columns
  • Interviews
  • BW Communities
  • Events
  • BW TV
  • Subscribe to Print
BW Businessworld

5 Ways To Deal With A Bad Boss

There could be a bunch of reasons that may make you feel that you work for a bad boss- it may be incompetence, anger issues, micromanagement and many more

Photo Credit :


In a job almost a decade back, my boss was truly a difficult boss to work with. He was a subject matter expert and was quite thorough at his subject. If you went to him with a problem, he would first demean you and make sure that you feel that you are a dump and could not solve a simple issue, yourself. He would make you feel worthless.

He knew I prefer to come early to work and leave early as well. He would be deliberately hovering around my seat in the evening and asking about one task or another and push his unnecessary urgencies at that hour of the day.

I used to call him a “bad boss”, a difficult person to work with. I used to hate him and dread him and feel really bad about myself. And this lasted for a long time before I get out of self-pity and worked myself out of the situation.

There could be a bunch of reasons that may make you feel that you work for a bad boss- it may be incompetence, anger issues, micromanagement and many more.

But if you feel that you work for a bad boss, and you are the one who would have to take steps to emerge successfully out of this situation. Here are 5 tips that can help you navigate the situation in a better way –

1. Align your goals – The most important thing. Most of the managers think they are in direct competition with a few of team members and it threatens their position. Any of his/her reactions may be because of that insecurity. Make sure your goals are aligned with him. He should feel that you are making him successful, not competing with him.

2. Do not avoid conversations – One of the reactions generally is to avoid the boss. But I would not suggest that. Try to have meaningful conversations around projects, tasks. Try and notice the patterns about what kind of data is important to him. Have that data ready.

3. Find out a right time for conversations – One of the boss, I had worked preferred morning conversations, though he never said that. As the day progresses, some people, as they feel pulled in different directions and with different priorities, become short tempered. '

It will be great if you could find a good time for your boss for the conversations. Never get to the boss, when he/she is dealing with their own demons, wait for the right mood, if possible!

4. Do not start Tit for Tat – Some people get into revenge attitude. He said something bad, I am also going to say that. Do not hold the grudge. Do have conversations but do not waste your time planning your revenge strategy. Ignore the bait, continue to display proper attitude towards work.

5. Set Boundaries – Bad behaviours can not be tolerated beyond a limit and you are the one who has to set that limit. Do set your own boundaries and every time they are crossed, do let the boss know that this is unacceptable. 

In my own case, after some time, I started making it known to him that though his problem may be urgent and important, it cannot suddenly have become important at 6 pm, and that if it could wait till the end of the day, it could wait till the beginning of the next day.

I requested for a decent time to work on the problem, which meant that he had to share the urgent problems not at 6 pm but much before, if he wanted me to work on them the same day.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Manbir Kaur

As an Executive & Leadership Coach, Manbir helps leaders unleash their potential, build great teams, boost performance & lead a happy life

More From The Author >>