Useful Tips

How to behave with a - difficult - boss?


Oksana Shavyrina • 01/07/2016

Having settled down at a new place of work and having come to a new team, one has to involuntarily adapt to it and act according to unwritten and written rules. Of course, you can’t avoid contacts with superiors, and in order to not only stay in your place, but also to start moving up the career ladder, you need to know how to behave yourself and build communication with your immediate supervisor.

Keep the distance

How to behave with the boss? Subordination must be observed everywhere, including with colleagues, and even with the boss and even more so, even though he may be younger in years and relate to another gender identity. After all, the boss at work is, first of all, a status, a position in society, and only then a person with all its advantages and disadvantages.

Communication with the boss can only be on purely business topics, of course, if he himself does not want to talk about personal matters, but even here you need to behave with restraint. Those who have not yet built their line of communication with the leader, it is better to stay away from it.

This advice is followed by all experienced subordinates, because the distance dividing the boss and the primary people protects not only him from them, but all those working from the higher leadership. Indeed, everyone’s character, habits and upbringing are different, and if he is tyrant, it would be better to minimize communication with his boss.

At first, it is better to generally behave unnoticed and gradually find out what orders are accepted in the team and whether the initiative is encouraged. But in any case, when meeting and talking with the leader, it is necessary to express full interest, to show a keen interest in the issue under discussion.

What is strictly prohibited

How to behave with the boss? First of all, do not argue with him. Even if he made a mistake three hundred times. It is better to remain silent, and only then decide whether to fulfill an order or assignment or not. The maximum that can be done is to listen, find some clue with which you can agree, but further develop your thought, express your point of view and wait for the verdict. Climbing a rampage is more expensive for yourself: at least you can fall into disgrace, and at the very least lose your “chair”.

Quarrels at work are forbidden, because this is not a place where you can find out the relationship, but if you still can’t avoid it, in no case can you get personal, and discuss the behavior of the parties in respectful form.

Even if communication on equal terms, familiarity, etc. takes place outside the office, at work it is better not to demonstrate friendly relations with the boss to others, so as not to escalate the atmosphere and not become the object of envy and evil gossip. Yes, and the boss himself can take advantage of such friendships for personal gain, and he is unlikely to refuse it.

It is necessary to suppress the desire to criticize the boss with colleagues. After all, it is not known whether the boss himself may have sent such “good intentions,” but even if this is not so, stoop to gossip — below his own dignity. Reptile and flattery is also not the best option for building relationships. Yes, such people often move up and make a career, but no one loves them, like the boss himself, who, if desired, can find a way to get rid of such a subordinate.

If a quarrel has occurred

If the boss finds fault, then you should think carefully and weigh everything, or maybe he is right? If a subordinate values ​​his place, he will have to take steps to correct his oversights. In any case, you don’t need to arrange scenes and provoke the boss into a conflict: in the heat of the moment you can tell each other what you later regret, and in a more unfavorable light it will be the one who is lower in rank.

A quarrel with the boss should be the first reason to come up and apologize, and also explain the reasons for his act, if there is a sense of his innocence. Otherwise, you should admit your mistake and promise that this will not happen again.

In any case, it is unacceptable to point out to the chief his wrong, according to the subordinate, policy of doing business. Everything that the boss says must be listened carefully, even if there is a good reason to depart in a certain direction. Relations with the boss are not the case when the best defense is an attack. Even if the boss in a fit of anger allows himself to raise his voice, interrupt him, and even more so to parry in response to what has been said, it is not worth it.

Is it worth it to congratulate on holidays

If at work it is customary to celebrate most of the red days of the calendar, as well as give gifts for birthdays, then on a personal holiday the boss must present him a present. However, you should not buy a gift on your own and present it only on your own behalf - it can be regarded as a bribe or an attempt to “suck”. Such issues are resolved collectively and together, that is, each of the employees contributes the same amount of money and one gift is bought from the whole team.

How and at what point to present a present can also be decided together. For example, go to the office of several employees and give a present before the start of the working day or invite the boss to come to the named place and give a present there, accompanying it with a fiery speech.

When deciding how to congratulate the boss and what to give, you should immediately sweep away money and personal items. It is necessary to analyze and remember what the boss gravitates to, whether he has any hobby or addiction. In any case, there will be stationery in the subject - a pen, a good notebook or a diary.

A man can be presented with good branded alcohol or a container for storage in the shape of a globe, for example. You can surprise the chef and please him with a personal portrait. Alternatively, give a coffee machine, a floor fountain or a vase.

The female boss will appreciate any stylish interior element. In any case, this will be an expression of respect for the collective of his boss, so to speak recognition of his merits.

The concept and types of complex leaders

It should be noted that if the leader gives a large number of very laborious instructions, this does not mean that he is complex and bad.

First of all, it all depends on the position and the place of work.

It happens that employees blame the boss for complex work. A complex leader, due to lack of experience, negative traits of his character or personal inner experiences, creates tense and uncomfortable conditions for working with him.

The methods and methods of managing the work team of such a boss completely contradict the generally accepted standards of ethics of the leader.

Modern psychologists distinguish the following types of complex bosses:

Overly demanding and very strict towards employees, does not listen to any ideas and initiatives, and does not admit his mistakes and humiliates subordinates.

Tactics of behavior with a difficult boss

Often the boss in a rude and insulting manner leads a dialogue with his subordinate, humiliates him with other employees, thus emphasizing his superiority. In this case, a mentally constructed wall between the tactless boss and the subordinate can help.

You can also imagine that the boss is standing and screaming under a large glass soundproof glass. It is important to be able to disengage if the workplace is profitable, convenient or highly paid.

There are certain communicative tactics of behavior with a complex boss:

  1. Introduce yourself as a leader,
  2. Analyze and test your own behavior,
  3. Let the manager change the situation by talking with him about problem points,
  4. Refer to higher management, if available at the facility,
  5. Be patient, because other employees also work with a complex boss,
  6. Change job.

In communication with a complex leader, a subordinate should carefully think through and prepare his speech in advance. It should be concise and reasoned. All issues should be discussed and resolved with the head personally and without witnesses.

To protect yourself from a complex leader, to be able to work calmly and efficiently, you need to quickly recognize what type he belongs to, his character traits and manner of behavior.

How to improve relationships with a complex leader

It is believed that the boss should praise and encourage employees. But the boss is also a person and he may have problems, due to which nervous breakdowns are possible on his subordinates (except when this happens regularly and systematically).


A difficult boss is not a terrible threat, because you can always find a suitable tactic of behavior with him.

A difficult boss can also bring a lot of experience, both in communication and in the profession.

Updated: 10.11.2017, 01:01 Word Count: 780 Reading Time: 4 min.
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What you should not do and say when the head of "despot", so as not to aggravate the situation

Do not set an ultimatum

"If you are not ... then I ...". When the boss begins to criticize harshly, there is no need to start and set a condition: “If you don’t stop, I’ll complain about you or quit.” This is a bad decision, at least if you plan to work here not for a month, but for at least a year. Such a formulation of the question will aggravate the situation even more: the boss understands perfectly well that you are beginning to manipulate him, dictating your conditions.

And that turns him on even more! It is possible that, having heard such threats addressed to him, he will apply even tougher tactics of behavior, the consequences of which will turn out for your career not in the best way.

Humility and humility

Just being silent and doing nothing when threats and criticisms are being poured daily into your address is a bad choice. Especially when there is a transition from business to personal. Worse in this case, there can only be an option when you agree: "Yes, I am doing everything badly, I apologize and promise to mend myself."

The leader very subtly feels such behavior and, as a result, generally ceases to perceive your opinion and recognize the right to vote.


This is the most impulsive version of the fight against attacks. Do not raise your voice at all times, even when patience is at its limit. It is only in the movies that the worker oppressed by the “bad boss” throws papers, yells at him, exposes him - and finally remains on the horse. After this, you are definitely facing dismissal and bad recommendations about you as an employee, which puts an end to career development.

So how do you respond to attacks and criticism while maintaining your mental health?

At the beginning of the article, I mentioned that working with a tyrant boss is possible and useful. Useful because you train yourself in such a quality as stress resistance. In addition, you learn to work with emotional explosions, using certain tactics of behavior. Metaphorically speaking, your “immunity” is being formed: if you happen to work in the future with authoritarian leadership, you will know how to behave with “tyrants”.

How to get along at work with a tyrant boss? I offer some recommendations.

Recommendation No. 1

Keep calm. Of course, this is very commonplace. But practice shows: when a person filters criticism, remarks, people's attitudes, taking into his own account only what really relates to him as an employee, this helps to maintain adequate self-esteem and calmness. Do not be too sensitive to the charges. The boss acts emotionally, not rationally. Be smarter, do not get fooled by his provocations and outbursts of anger. After all, the emotional explosion of the leader will pass, and your too sensitive reaction to attacks can leave an unpleasant trace for the whole week, or even life.

Recommendation No. 2

Change of work or transfer to another department. When you cannot find anything that can keep you at work, there are no necessary motivators, and it is already impossible to endure the boss despot - then it is really better to find another job. It is important for every person to be appreciated as a professional and respected as a person. Most of our time and life we ​​spend on work. It should bring not only money, but also satisfaction, a sense of professional self-realization and positive emotions in order to maintain self-esteem and mental health. Love and appreciate yourself, because you need your loved ones. No one has the right to inspire fear and anxiety.

If you have the opportunity to transfer to another department, inform the management about it. Say that everything suits you at work, but the endless claims on his part strain both him and you. The easiest way to arrange a translation - everyone will be comfortable.

Recommendation No. 3

Try to establish a constructive dialogue. First you need to let the boss speak up, let them let off steam. Then you say with a serious, confident look, and most importantly, in a calm voice: “I want to talk about what I’m doing wrong or say during working hours.” Say that you are ready to delay after work and discuss what exactly are the errors. And be sure to ask how to do it, how to do it right. And it is advisable to write down his words about how to work. After that, say that you will take his words into account and will follow his recommendations.

The most important thing at this point is to bring the boss to a normal dialogue, to discuss what is not necessary and what is important. When the claims appear again, use the previously compiled list, where he personally marked the points “as needed”. Say that you did everything according to his rules. This technique "directly in the forehead" will save the boss and you from unnecessary questions and complaints.

Recommendation No. 4

Cunning and manipulation. At first glance, this is not entirely ethical. But some techniques can be so effective that you can use them for your own benefit.

Praise is one of the simplest and most effective techniques. People love to be praised. This increases their status, self-esteem, sense of significance. Tell the boss that his recommendations are valuable and that work experience is worthy of respect, and the ideas are original and ingenious. The main thing is not to overdo it.

The next technique is to study weaknesses. If you noticed that the boss likes to start work with a cup of coffee - make him coffee and leave it on the table with a wish for a good day. Loves the latest press? Write out a magazine or newspaper at the office, citing that it is really necessary. If after lunch he comes with a slight laziness and a pleasant mood, then report all the bad news after dinner. Of course, he will scream, but the reaction will not be as sharp as before dinner.

And remember: surviving with a tyrant boss is possible. The main thing is to keep calm, tolerance, do not let emotions take hold of you. Believe me, your rational approach to the situation will reduce mutual tension.

And develop observation: the subtleties and weaknesses of the boss despot can be wrapped in their favor, making it pleasant for him and himself.

The article was prepared by Anastasia Teteruk, psychologist, recruitment and development specialist:

“If you can’t cope with problem situations at work, don’t know how to behave with your boss or team, don’t know how to effectively organize your work day, write to [email protected] I’ll definitely share my recommendations both as a psychologist and as a specialist in personnel. ”

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