How to Deal With a Difficult Boss

Not everyone is fortunate to report to a manager who's even-keeled and pleasant. If you work for a difficult boss, these quick tips may help.

Work for someone with mood swings, like in the cartoon? You never know what you'll experience each day. Here are some strategies for dealing with that type of difficult boss:

• Try empathy. Statements like, "I can see you're having a challenging day. What can I do to help?" can help to diffuse tension.

• Note the triggers. What tends to set off the mood swings? Are there actions you can avoid? For instance, if you know your manager is a stickler for neatness, make sure your desk is clean before you leave each day. The person micromanages? Get those status reports turned in on time, or better yet, early.

• Take out the emotion. When you're criticized, don't automatically go on the defensive. This is easier said than done, but give yourself some time to think about what was said. Even if you know you're in the right, there may be some kernels of truth to the criticism. Revisit the issue when you and your manager are calmer.

 Check your own mind-set. Are you doing all you can to stay positive? It's hard when you have a difficult boss, but if you're determined to be cheerful, that happy attitude may spread.

• Know your limits. Sometimes, you just need to move on if a work environment is too negative.

How do you deal with a difficult boss? Share your tips with others below.

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