Dealing With A Difficult Manager

With the growing angst over the economy, the trend of trying to “balance” it all has shifted to just holding onto your job. I’ve also shifted a bit in my thinking as well. I’m still finding my own balance, my peace in each in every day.

When you have a manager in the mix that is always right” in his or her mind, it can increase the stress and make your job seem even tougher.

With all this in mind, how do you tread in the murky waters of a know-it-all or abrasive manager without losing your job? Tread lightly, but without rolling over.

Personalities are probably the most interesting things to navigate in the work world. It really doesn’t matter if we are talking about a large corporation or a small mom and pop store. More people means more personalities.

Below you will find a few techniques I have used successfully in the past.

While every situation is different, I hope you find these helpful as you maneuver the difficult personalities at work!

Don’t Take the Bait
Sometimes it’s best to just take the calm approach. Try not to let the emotion take over. Believe me, I’ve asked too many questions and have disagreed with managers in the past. If they are looking to argue, it’s not worth it the energy or angst.

The Buy-In Approach
“I see your point. The _________ has some possibilities.

Have you considered the following ______________?”

You can make suggestions. Ultimately, he or she is the decision maker even if the decision is wrong in your view. That’s when “Don’t Take the Bait” kicks in for me.

Manage the Manager Routine
Uck. This is not a favorite of mine only because of its negative connotation. The reality is you can take some proactive steps with a manager. As you get to know your manager’s habits, you can take the approach to think ahead of the boss. If he or she regularly engages in the wrong thing, take the higher road with the approach of offering alternative suggestions or options. If it’s a verbal conversation, follow-up in writing with email.

Keep The Water Cooler Chat to A Minimum
The more you talk about others and the manager, the more likely it will come back around to you. Or, at the very least, it just makes for a negative work environment of complainers.

I just lived through this one and while I have to practice not engaging, the turmoil in my department recently taught me just how much negativity kills productivity. It sabotages any possible “fun” as well.

Know When It’s Time to Call It A Day
The writing is on the wall and it’s time to move on to a new opportunity. The harsh reality is that sometimes the work environment you find yourself in just isn’t a fit.

Taking small steps each day to change your work situation, starting a new business adventure or evaluating your next steps are all very inspiring things to continually do. If it’s time to move on, you know it already.

So back to my original thought on how we went from balancing work/life to worrying about having a job at all.

The truth is that life is fluid. We can sit and worry ourselves into next year if we choose to do so.  I find myself doing that too once in a while. OK, I admit it happens more often lately.

I have found that when I try to keep working on the goals that make me happy by taking action each day (or take a break when needed), the worry over what “could” be subsides.

And as I always say, “It’s a work in progress.”

It’s the good kind of work that we can all benefit from!






One thought on “Dealing With A Difficult Manager

  1. awesome tips. it’s so hard in difficult situations b/c standing up for what you believe is the right thing to do, but respecting your manager is also important.


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