You can choose your job, but you cannot choose your boss.
Getting the job of your dream is such an accomplishment for you. But, after a week or two, you find out that your boss is annoying, self-centered, toxic, demanding, stubborn, abusive, and so on.
Since you have already signed a contract and cannot back out, you need to deal with the situation and face the issues you might encounter with your bad bosses. With my ten years of working in a company, I have seen employees come and go. When asked why they are leaving their work, most of them said it’s because of their supervisors. Good thing I am not in their department.
Sometimes, employees are blamed for the blunders their bosses committed. This is the sad reality, especially if your superior has more organizational power. Based on a Gallup study, 60% of government workers were not happy because of poor leadership.
To help you deal with a bad boss, we have included here some possible scenarios you might experience and the solutions. Your life should not be miserable because of your bosses. Learn to deal with them.
Problem #1 –
What To Do If Your Boss Does Not Care If You Are Overworked?
Your work schedule is full until next month. But your bosses continue to file up your assignments and projects. Every time you see your manager walking towards you, you want to vanish in the air. In your mind, you want to scream “enough!” but you don’t want your boss to have an impression that you are complaining or lazy. Knowing your superior, who do not accept excuses, she would surely get the wrong message.
Based on a study conducted by Kronos, burnout was the number one reason why even your best employee resigns. The result published in 2017 shows that around 95% of the HR leaders they asked reported that burnout significantly impacted turnover.
Even in bigger companies, employees are also complaining about burn and churn. Burnout is a complicated issue to discuss because of the different contributing factors.
Sometimes your bosses are not aware that you are overworked until you tell them. They do not track your work, especially if you have several bosses. It only means that you have to speak up if you think you cannot handle additional work.
But how will you do it without sending the wrong message to your boss? Here are tips on how to deal with the issue to avoid burnout.
Tip #1 – Talk to Someone You Trust
Before you barge into your boss’s office, it would help if you seek advice. Talk to someone you trust. It can be your trusted colleague, a friend, family member, or approachable boss if you have multiple bosses.
Tell them the real situation and provide them with the details. Make sure what you tell them is the truth, nothing more or less. You can ask them if the timeline given is reasonable. Enumerate the works assigned to you. Also, ask them their opinion on what approach you will use when talking to your boss.
The objective is to challenge yourself and get others’ points of view to determine if you are overworked. Sometimes, you don’t want to accept another workload more than you prefer. It becomes a big issue for you if it starts to mess up your personal life.
If they all agree that you are overworked after discussing it with them, ask them the best way to resolve the issue. Assess all their opinions and suggestions and apply what you think will solve your overworked problem.
Tip #2 – Set a Meeting with your Manager
If you think you are drowning in assignments and your manager does not care, perhaps you need to talk to him/her. Set up a meeting with your boss. Outline your list of assignments and date of completion. Do not include your daily tasks like checking emails or answering calls – all employees do that—just the assigned tasks.
During the meeting, do not go around the bush. Tell your purpose, be honest, direct to the point, and ask for guidance. Keep in mind, you and your boss are busy, so do not waste both of your time.
You can ask your manager which you should prioritize and the deadlines for each task. Clear things out with your boss. It will help you create a plan, schedule your work, and become confident to move forward with your tasks.
Tip #3 – Prioritize Your Tasks to Know When to Say “NO”
Arrange the order of your assignments by their deadline. Keep this list on your desk where you can view it easily and update it daily. The next time your manager sends an email or hand over another assignment, you will know where it will fit and when to say no. If you accept another task, make sure it will not overlap existing tasks.
If your boss insists that you do it, you can show him the list of your tasks so he will know when you can finish it. In case you cannot handle another task, it is okay to say no politely. Here are tips on how to say no to your annoying boss.
- Delay Your Response
If your manager asks you to work on another project, do not say no right away. Even if you are sure that you cannot handle it, take more time to think about it. It is safer than telling him no. You can say to him, “My schedule is full right now up to the end of the month. I will inform you if I can squeeze it in.”
- Give a Proactive Solution
Rather than saying no, you can suggest a solution like telling him that your coworker has less workload than yours. You can tell your boss, “If this is urgent, Peter has the same skills and expertise. He has less workload. Maybe he can work on it.”
But be careful about whom to suggest, as they might also have a lot of work. To be safe, you can ask them first if they want to.
You can also suggest dividing the work to your team. If your suggestion was declined, at least you didn’t say no directly and will not hurt your boss’s feelings.
Problem #2 –
Micromanages you and does not allow you to work on your own
Having a micromanaging boss is very stressful. Your boss feels the need to control and be involved in every task he assigned. It is quite annoying as he tells you how to do things you are perfectly capable of doing. He is watching every move you take and is waiting for the time you make a mistake.
Aside from stress, managers that micromanage also rob the employee’s opportunity to develop and exercise their skills thus lowers their morale and affect productivity. According to Gallup.com, you will know if your boss is micromanaging or not by answering the question – Is the team customer-obsessed or boss-obsessed?
Steve Jobs once said, “It does not make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do. We hire smart people to tell us what to do.” Even Lee Iacocca, the man behind Ford Mustang and Pinto cars, agreed on this. According to him, he hires people brighter than him and gets out of their way.
If you have a micromanaging boss, you can post this on your desk or somewhere visible to your boss to remind him.
Here are tips on how to deal with a micromanaging boss.
Tip #1 – Check Your Work and Performance
Maybe there is a reason why your boss is micromanaging you that you are not aware of. There is a possibility that you are not doing it right. Turn your focus on yourself. Assess your work and your performance.
Have you been submitting the quality of work expected from you? Or have you been late on handing them?
Before you accuse him of micromanaging, evaluate the situation. Perhaps your bosses have legitimate reasons for doing it. Consider the things that might lead him to this. In some instances, it would help if you take some time to ask your boss what needs to be improved on your work.
Tip #2 – Anticipate Your Boss Action
If you believe you are doing a good job, try to anticipate your boss’s action so you will not get annoyed. If you know your boss will send you an email every hour to check on your task’s status, send him an email before he does.
Give him updates even if he didn’t ask for it. By doing this, he will not disturb you as you already provided all the details he needs.
Talk to your boss often. Update him of what you accomplished, where you are at the task, and what you are up to at present. Your boss will have no reason to micromanage you as you are doing your job well.
Tip #3 – Ask Around and Understand Your Boss’s Actions
Check why your bosses are micromanaging you. Possibly they are also pressured by their superiors. Besides the quality of the work, deadlines are quite vital. Any delay in the work can cause his position. A respectful word can be the best remedy to calm their stressful situation.
Talk to your bosses and tell them that you understand the amount of work that needs to be completed and you are willing to give a hand to smoothen the process. They will appreciate your extra effort and might give you some space.
Tip #4 – Tell Your Boss How You Feel
If the above tips are not working, a direct confrontation is required. Talk to your boss when you are calm. If you feel frustrated, it will result in something hard to fix.
Tell him politely that you understand handling people’s challenges, but you would prefer to earn his trust. You can suggest checking on your progress a week. Once you gain his confidence, he can relax on checking on you.
Problem #3 –
Your Boss Set Unrealistic Expectations
You were assigned to work on a specific task but with unrealistic expectations. What would you do? Telling your managers that they have unrealistic expectations is not easy. But, with the right guidance, it is possible. Below are some tips on how to tell your bosses:
Tip #1 – Assess Yourself and the Task Assigned
Before you make any steps or complain about your boss for being unreasonable, you must assess yourself and the task assigned first. A good manager will always push you to do things beyond your comfort zone to hone your new skills. It is a good thing that you know how to do everything, but it becomes boring without new challenges.
If your boss is pushing you to perform new things and you feel overwhelmed, ask yourself if it is because you cannot do the work or it is something you are not confident to do. If the real reason for finding the task with unrealistic expectations is insecurity or less experience, give yourself a chance. Take the challenge and do your best.
Tip #2 – Ask Your Colleagues Advice
Most of the time, the task assigned to you is the one where you are good at. Even if this is the case, you can still ask your colleagues for advice, particularly those who are more experienced. You can ask for tips on how to meet your boss’ expectations. Perhaps they have experienced the same.
You can ask two or more of your co-employees for insights on handling the workload. Although doing this may not lighten your workload, it can help you on how you will address your overflowing plate.
Tip #3 – Talk to Your Boss
This is probably the hardest thing to do, especially if your boss is not easy to deal with. However, this is the best way to solve the issue of expectations. It would help if you did not wait for things to worsen before you do something. Do it once you feel your boss is overestimating your capability to complete the job.
It would help if you are confident; do not tell your boss you are anticipating problems meeting his expectations, and you feel you will fail. Talk to your boss with confidence but with respect, and he will know that your concerns are due to experience and not because you are insecure.
When you approach your boss, you must have a concrete plan. If your boss is asking too much, it is okay to say you cannot work on added tasks as long as the deadline is extended. No matter what you do, make sure you have planned everything.
Having bad bosses is not a bad thing all the time. You can learn from this experience what to do and what not to do if you become a supervisor or manager. In most instances, you cannot choose your boss, but you have different options to deal with challenging office situations.
Dealing with a bad boss is not fun, but it can help you become a better employee with the right approach and attitude. Think of your situation as a learning opportunity.