Dealing With an Overbearing Boss

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There are many factors that contribute to your overall job satisfaction. One of these factors is your direct supervisor. In other words, your boss has a lot to do with your job satisfaction. And while bad bosses seldom are successful long-term and are often replaced, overbearing bosses may have a history of delivering results and have earned the respect of their superiors.

Fortunately, there are some proven strategies or "tips" that can help make your work conditions as good as possible.

Useful Tips

  1. Focus on the End Result: The most important things to keep in mind when dealing with an overbearing boss are the end results that are motivating their behavior. Most likely, a demanding boss is focused on delivering results for the company for which you both work. And your focus should be on delivering excellence in your position. If you are in sales, you need to focus on producing profitable revenue by delivering superior customer service.
    1. If you find that your focus is on avoiding or appeasing your boss more than on your customers, then you will be making your job even more intolerable by exposing yourself to disciplinary action or dismissal due to poor performance.
  2. Deliver Results: In keeping with Tip #1, something magical happens when you deliver results above the expectations. Difficult bosses seem to become easier to work with and for. You enjoy going to the office each morning, and your work experience in general improves.
    1. The reason for this magic is that unless your boss is simply a terrible supervisor, they will have little reason to give you an especially difficult time if you are overachieving in your position. Those who perform make themselves almost indispensable while under-performers find themselves spending more time in the boss's office and more time worrying about how much longer they will be employed.
  3. Avoid Group Gripe Sessions: Discussing how much you dislike your boss with your co-workers may make you feel better, it does nothing to resolve anything. Most group gripe sessions are anti-productive, time-wasting conversations, during which nothing of value is accomplished and ultimately lead to more negative work experiences. Any time spent during work hours (or even after work hours) that does not increase your ability to deliver results and advance you towards your end results is to be avoided at all costs. Sure, joining in a group gripe session can give you some support and build bonds with your co-workers, you need to focus on your career and not only making friends.
    1. The other thing to keep in mind is the intention of the others in the gripe group. Ask yourself what are they gaining by complaining about your boss? Everything that everyone does is done for a reason.
  4. Set Your Own Personal Expectations: One sure way to lose self-motivation is to surrender your personal power. If you live each day according to the expectations of someone else, your passion for your job (and even your life) will slowly but surely wane.
    1. Difficult bosses are made even more challenging to work for when employees lose sight of their goals and personal expectations. If you are focused on delivering the best customer service that you can but find that your focus shifts to keeping your boss happy and to staying out of their way, you will soon lose your passion to your focus.
    2. When that happens, don't blame your unreasonable boss. The fault is yours.
  5. Have a Face to Face with Your Boss: Rookie or immature employees often are very reluctant to have an honest, face to face conversation with their superiors. They worry that their jobs would be in jeopardy if they "push back" against policies or work conditions that they feel are unfair. For those who have "bad bosses," they may be correct. However, for those who work for overbearing or unreasonable supervisors, face to face may be the absolute best thing they can do for their career.
    1. Overbearing bosses are often hyper-focused type "A" people that are weak with their interpersonal skills. They may not be aware of how their actions are received by their direct reports. When an employee has the courage and respect to professionally discuss how his behavior has a negative effect on employees, the supervisor is given direct feedback that they otherwise might never receive. Depending on their maturity and professionalism, this feedback may help them improve their areas of weakness and become better equipped to deliver the results they are hired to deliver.

What You Need

Here are some simple things to be prepared with before addressing your superior boss or manager about their actions that are affecting your work experience.

  • A clear list of your personal goals
  • A copy of your job description
  • An open mind
  • A business plan which details how you will deliver your expected results
  • Courage