How to Deal with Rude or Disrespectful Bosses


By Kimberly Gabriel

Dealing with a difficult boss is something that seems inevitable in life.  As sure as thunder after lightning, most of us have had to deal with a toxic superior at one time or another.  Navigating such hostile territory can be done successfully, however, and there are several things one can try before things escalate and jobs are lost or goals become unattainable.

The first thing you need to do is make sure you’re not just a bad employee. If you know without a doubt after asking for feedback or validation for your work that it’s not you, proceed with these steps:

Try to see things from their perspective 

Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes is never easy, and doing so in the working world can be rather tricky. Be sure you are not crossing any personal boundaries as you fish for knowledge on what could be their motivation for such bad behavior. Maybe they have a bad boss, maybe the stress is really getting to them. You never know. Inquiring on something like this should be done in private, and always be sure to document everything that goes on or is said.

Don’t let it affect your work

This is vital. You will have no merit if your work is shoddy or you fold under the pressure. Show how tough and resilient you are, and strive for excellence in your duties. This can really be set to shine by staying one step ahead of your boss. Anticipating the tasks you know they’ll want before they come to you is a great way to stopping micromanagement. If you do it enough times of the same thing they always ask for, they may get the hint, or it could backfire and cause them to pile even more on you, but either way, you’ll know you’re doing your very best.

Be sure to set boundaries

It feels good to be the go-to person that can fix it all with a seeming wave of a wand. In real life, the time it takes to fix everyone else’s problems will eat into your own self-care or family time and cause you to suffer unnecessarily. Learn to say no nicely, and you will not be overwhelmed or feel inadequate and resentful.  When you allow every request to divert your attention from the most important parts of your job, everyone ends up frustrated.

Identify triggers

If your boss gets mad when you misspell  names, be sure that you are going the extra mile to spell them correctly. Again, this is a form of staying a few steps ahead of the game.

If you’ve tried all these things and you’re still not getting anywhere, looking for another position may be all that you can do. On that note, if you find yourself going from one bad boss to another and another, there are a few things you can do to keep bad bosses in the past.

Ask your potential new boss about former employees who were not compatible with their work style. Watch how they answer this. If they become defensive or bashes every former employee, this is a huge red flag.  Also, it’s a good idea to speak with some of the terminated employees, if possible. Remember, though, that you may be dealing with bitter exes, and don’t take their responses as 100% accurate. Their input will, however, help you to decide whether this person is a good fit for you, much like  in a relationship.

Also, remember to look for patterns in your hiring process… How did these bad bosses mask their personality flaws during the recruitment process? What were the red flags? This might take some real self-searching and analysis, which can be helpful in all aspects of life, anyway.

With all these tactics, dealing with a bad boss is still never easy.  It is like searching for land mines, and you have to remember that nobody’s perfect, and that is okay!  As long as you are being the best you can be, you can take comfort in knowing that you always give it your best. Don’t take things personally. Keep your head up, be true to yourself, and you’ll no doubt find some degree of success and satisfaction.