As nice as it would be for bosses to be superhuman, they’re just like everyone else. Some are competent and compassionate; others are inept and inconsiderate. Life under the thumb of the latter is hard, but you can still thrive. In the U.S. News & World Report’s “On Careers” blog, Rebecca Thorman shares some tactics for toughing it out.
• Do your best with a smile on your face. It’s much harder for the boss to complain if you’re doing a great job. Stay positive and you’ll feel better about a job well done and you won’t make the negative environment worse by adding your complaints to the toxic emotional cocktail.
• Make the office your human-relations research lab. Relationships are the most important thing in the workplace, and the better you get at navigating them, especially the difficult ones, the more successful you’ll be. Use your relationship with your boss to learn skills for dealing with difficult people.
• Pander to your boss’s pet projects. Figure out what’s important to your boss and do your part to help with it. Relieve her of tasks she finds unpleasant. Doing so will help get her on your side.
• Show some initiative. If you’ve got time to do more than you’ve been assigned, look for things that no one is doing and take them on as side projects. Just make sure they don’t take time away from your core work and they align with company goals.
• Mimic what the boss does. Observe how your boss works and do the same. If he prefers email, get typing. If she likes regular face-to-face updates, get yourself in front of her.
and skills don’t come naturally to everyone. Cut your boss some slack, show him some respect and help him improve.
— Adapted from “6 Ways to Deal with a Lousy Boss,” Rebecca Thorman, U.S. News & World Report’s “On Careers” blog.