There may come a time when you will have to work for a horrible boss. You might be working for that person now. They may harass you daily, set unreal expectations and continuously play the blame game which means blaming you! As much as you want them to change that may not happen but there are some safeguards you can implement to make life on the job easier. I had such an interaction once, and I let it affect me personally as well as my work because I did not know how to deal with that person. Luckily, I asked a friend, and once I implemented those tips, everything changed immediately. Here are some things you can do to deal with a demanding boss.
A. Act first, don’t wait for the inquiry to respond- do not expect for a reminder on projects or assignments. Once finished, send them directly where they are assigned to go and let your boss know and ask for more work. Not only do you justify your existence with the consistent and timely execution of assigned tasks, but you are making sure your boss is thinking of things for you to do rather than things you didn’t do.
- Execute- if you have daily or weekly tasks get them done as soon as possible. These are the easiest ones to mess up because reoccurring tasks can be mundane and might not take as much brain power. Get them done and NOW!
- Set reminders-to keep yourself on track and make sure you don’t miss any deadlines. Life gets hectic, but that has never worked as a good excuse especially for this type of boss. In fact, they are counting on it. Make your game plan as watertight as possible.
- Run it up- There are some processes and procedures you need others to complete a part of before you can close them out. Waiting on them beyond or close to a deadline is never a good excuse. Send gentle reminders, as previously stated life gets hectic for us all. If after reminders that counterpart is still not doing their job run it up the chain and keep your boss in the loop. Let your boss take care of it. Keeping them in the loop lets them do their job and removes any surprises. Not too many people are in favor of surprises at work. Let them do their job which should make yours easier.
B. Ask questions real in-depth questions- This is a mind game. You accomplish two things when this is done correctly, (1) they are thrown off guard from want they wanted to talk to you about and (2) they will believe you are paying more attention to your work and that you need them to be better at your job. The boss in my case called pretty often (as we worked in different locations) and early. He would start the call firing off with questions, and I was the one who was off guard. The very first week I started asking in-depth questions, I called him 30 minutes before he would usually call, and I had at least two tough questions to ask him. His tone changed, and he would be happy to answer questions (ego). Guess what, by the third day he stopped calling!
C. Maintain your composure at all costs- Under no circumstance should you let anyone bring you to a point where you lose your composure. You will not, WILL NOT lose your anger especially when there are co-workers around. You are falling for a trap. This trap has maybe longer lasting effects than any late assignment or missed benchmark. Maintaining your composure is non-negotiable, you are always in charge of your emotions, use this situation against them and let them be the one to act out of character.
D. Document Document Document – keep a log of all interactions. One major issue most employees have in a hostile environment or harassment cases is providing proof. Even if a lawyer or advisor wanted to help, there isn’t much they can do without evidence. Many employees rarely write anything down and delete relevant emails then; they have to recall incidents off the top of their head. If you have a boss that likes give tasks in person a lot, ask them to email it to you or ask for confirmation over email. Assignments provided in email should state what needs to accomplished and when. Make sure no one knows where you are storing these documents and have a backup (make sure at least one copy is off company grounds).
Give everyone around you no experience that would create doubt in you or your work ethic. Anytime you do something wrong you give an avenue for someone to potentially harp on you. It is not your job to get people to stop negatively talking about you. However, it is your job to minimize the truth in their statements. Make them liars through your actions. Indirectly, they may be forced to change, but we can only worry about ourselves and our efforts. Yes, some of these tips you need to implement as they can help in all situations. Set the tone for what others should expect from you, not the other way around.