Different bosses facilitate different management styles. You may thrive under some methods, while other styles may make you become resentful or disengaged. But quitting a job because you hate your boss is hard if you love your job.
It's almost impossible to change other people, but certain actions within your control might help improve the working relationship you have with your difficult supervisor. We've compiled three of the more common leadership styles and provided strategies for working with them rather than against them.
Autocratic (Bossy) Bosses
Autocratic bosses like to be in control. They have no problem telling you what to do and micromanaging your work. These individuals may be somewhat aggressive in their approach and won't ask you for your opinions. On the plus side, your office is likely very productive. Yet the employees feel unmotivated personally.
If you think your boss fits into this category, try to focus on doing your work well and don't fixate on your boss's controlling personality. If they micromanage you or talk down to you, don't get defensive or take it personally. Eventually, your boss will recognize your competence and hopefully will give you more autonomy.
Democratic (Overly Friendly) Bosses
Democratic bosses like to make the office feel like a team. They encourage employees to share their opinions and strive to keep the workplace equitable. These types of bosses sound good on paper, but they are pretty ineffective when a team isn't working well together or can't make a decision. If you're in a time crunch on a project, there's a good chance your team won't meet the deadline.
If you think your boss fits into this leadership style, you simply might have to take more initiative. Step into leadership roles and make firm decisions. Come to meetings with prepared ideas and take advantage of the fact that your boss appreciates your opinions.
Laissez-Faire (Lazy) Bosses
Laissez-faire bosses are very hands-off and don't step into leadership roles. They may help you, but you will likely have to go out of your way to request their assistance. If everyone on the team knows what they're doing, then laissez-faire leadership can work. But it's pretty useless when it comes to teaching employees new skills or onboarding new staff members.
To work with laissez-faire employers, step up. Volunteer to facilitate meetings. Offer mentorship and training to new hires. Delegate tasks to your colleagues. Schedule 1-on-1 check-ins with your boss and come prepared with direct questions and requests for them. Appreciate that they trust you and lean into your self-confidence.
Truly Horrible Bosses
Okay—so there's actually a fourth category: bosses who are just terrible people. These individuals are unkind, inappropriate, or disorganized. Maybe they play favorites or break company rules. Maybe they raise their voice when angry or demean their employees.
If you have a truly bad boss, try your best not to let it affect your work. Try not to slide into gossip about them or give their poor behavior more attention than it deserves. When they ask you to do something, make sure you repeat back what you heard to ensure you stay on the same page.
However, if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe around your boss, try to distance yourself from them as much as possible. Document events and save emails. Schedule some time with your human resources representative and come to the meeting with some solution-focused ideas. For example, let's say you don't feel comfortable in one-on-one situations with your boss. Set a boundary that there must be a third person in the room whenever you have meetings together. If your boss has engaged in illegal activity or broken company policy, though, HR will likely investigate and help make sure your job is protected.
People are different, and not everyone's work style is going to gel together effortlessly. If you love your job but hate your boss, try to change your perspective and always keep things professional.
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