How to Deal with a Difficult Boss

Life Transition Coach Diane Dennis had advice for dealing with a difficult boss.

Types of difficult bosses

1. My way or the highway (Tyrant)

2. You can't do anything right (Persecutor)

3. Your ideas are his ideas (Idea Thief)

When your boss is a Tyrant. He acts superior, puts you down, discounts your ideas, and is always right. They also interrogate you to find personal information to use against you. This is institutionalized bullying. Some states are working on creating laws for workplace bullying.

Symptoms: pain, frustration, anger, feeling marginalized, or depression.

What to Do:

1. Set boundaries. When he starts bullying, excuse yourself to go to the restroom.
2. Stay calm. Breathe deep.
3. Surround yourself with other allies. Bullies don’t like to get caught bullying in front of others.
4. Don’t give him personal information about you. They like to use it for power.
5. Document infractions, give to HR. Look for another job.

When your boss is a Persecutor. You can’t do anything right. What you do is below his standards. He begins to pick at everything you do. A persecutor is a rescuer in disguise.

Symptoms: You feel like you are going crazy.

What to do:

1. Do not act like a victim: apologizing, succumbing to his challenges
2. Say things like: You seem really upset right now. I will come back when you have calmed down.
3. Say “Can you clearly state what you want from me in writing so I can understand and solve the issues”
4. He will switch back and forth from being a rescuer to a persecutor, making you feel guilty for your bad feelings for him. He is trying to control you.
5. Look for another job.

When your boss is an idea thief. Whatever idea you have, he takes credit for it. You can say something, and he  will actually say no, that is not right, then tell you “his” idea which is exactly your idea only in different words.

Symptoms: You feel angry, resentful, demeaned

What to do:

1. Put your ideas in writing and date them.
2. Give the written idea the same time you are verbalizing it
3. Keep a folder of your ideas for another job or promotion.
4. Give your ideas in groups so others know who came up with it.


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