Ask anyone who really enjoys going to work every day, and you’re likely to hear that one of the reasons they like the job is because of the boss. A good boss, it seems, can make even the really bad days bearable. But a bad boss — well, a bad boss makes every day unbearable, no matter how good it is.
And while you may be miserable day in and day out working for a bad boss, it actually gets worse. Because if you’re working for a real jerk, it’s likely that you’re putting career success at risk.
That's because you only can achieve what a boss lets you achieve, and if you’re working for the worst boss since Attila the Hun, then you’re going to have difficulties achieving your goals.
The first thing you have to do when you’re confronted with this situation is realize that you’re not in it alone. If you’ve got a problem boss, then chances are you’ve done nothing wrong and other people are going through the same thing.
That's why it’s important that you deal with a problem boss just like you would any major business dilemma: you do your homework; look for problem areas; make adjustments to fit the demands; and take responsibility for making success happen.
For example, if the boss gets along with other people, study how that happens. Look for the flash points you have with the boss, and how to avoid them. Maybe you always want to talk to him first thing in the morning, but he's grouchy before noon. So, you just delay your talks until after lunch, when he'll be more receptive.
Here are some other ideas for improving your relationship with the boss:
• Let the boss know what’s going on. You come across as being insecure when you sneak around and keep things hidden from management.
• Respect the boss’s position. Even though you may not agree with him or her, the position deserves respect. And, if you look at the results achieved, and not the technique, you may actually learn something.
• Ask what you can do to help. You want to know what you can do that will aid the boss in doing his or her job. Periodically repeat the same question in different ways.
• Let the boss know what can be expected from you. Prove that you’re not afraid of hard work and that you can be depended on to follow through on assignments. Remember: bosses hate surprises, but love hearing, “I’ll take care of it.”