How To Deal with a Bad Boss in a Professional Way

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Your boss is one person who has an overwhelming influence on your work life.

A 2015 Gallup study found that 50% of people admitted to leaving a job just so that they can get away from their manager.

A stressful work environment can also wreak havoc on your personal life, as work-life stress tends to spills over.

Now, before externalising the situation entirely;  it is essential to keep in mind that a relationship between a manager and employee is a two-way street. You also play a role in the dynamic.

Dealing with a toxic boss requires high EQ, and management of your own emotions. However, it is possible to create a workable situation (in most cases).

Related Post: 7 Things To Look for In A Job Besides Salary

Here are four examples of how to deal with a bad boss and still keep it professional

woman dealing with a bad boss


Your boss takes credit for your work

You deliver an excellent, well-researched presentation or project idea to your boss’ desk. Next thing you know, your boss is being singled out by the powers higher up for delivering this well-researched presentation or project.

You do not get so much as a mention.

[bctt tweet=”Good leaders will shine the spotlight on their team when things go well. That’s just what they do.” username=”cherralle_”]


There might not be anything you can do outright, as it may reflect poorly on you if you raise this haphazardly.

What you can do is keep meticulous notes about your work, including email trails.

Secondly, invest time and energy into expanding your network beyond your boss (with your boss’ blessing and encouragement). Ensure that you are building relationships laterally and with other seniors in the organisation.

Thirdly, always attempt to address the issue with your boss directly. Share that you felt your contribution was disregarded.

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When things go bad, your boss is nowhere in sight

Following on the previous point, the inverse is also true. A horrible boss will make himself very scarce when things go south and may throw a team member under the bus.

They will ensure that someone else is put in the spotlight to take ‘blame’ for a project gone wrong.

A great leader will hold people accountable but will stand with the team.

Leaders understand that it is also their role to manage anxiety levels in the team when things go wrong. Not add to it.

Work around: 

Keeping a track record of your performance and contributions at all times remains a crucial strategy for dealing with a toxic boss.

Over and above this, approach the matter in a very calm way. Reach out to your boss for a meeting and ask  questions in a non-confrontational way.

Approach it in a way where you want to ‘seek to understand’ and learn from the situation.

Assess the extent of the damage. If it is a minor thing, you may overlook it and address it with your boss only. If this situation can seriously railroad your career or reputation, you may need to take it to the higher-ups.

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Your boss is a micromanager

First things first.

Take a careful look and assess if you have been dropping balls that warrant a more hands on manager.

If not, then a micromanager is a challenge.

A micromanaging boss will impede your productivity (as they want to get involved everywhere and slow you down). Secondly, it starts chipping away at your confidence levels and sense of independence.


Overshare and share some more. Feed the micromanager what she wants: details of your meetings, summary reports and quick pop-ins with status updates. Feed the need for your micromanager to be involved so that you will start noticing they won’t keep getting involved in your work.

You will start sending signals out that you got this and they will start loosening the grip.

Also, pay meticulous attention to how she likes things done, so that you can factor that in when you deliver a piece of work.

Herewith a further article from The Muse detailing how to deal with a micro managing boss.

[bctt tweet=”Invest in building a good relationship with your boss. Once you have done that, then can you evaluate if it is working out.” username=”cherralle_”]

Your boss is always right…

Always must have the last word.

Must sign off everything.

Ensures that all final decisions are theirs.

Can do your job better than you.

Sound familiar?
The sad part about this scenario is that stifled creativity becomes the order of the day. People are just not up for getting their ideas ‘shot down’.

Work around:

A winning strategy in this situation is to make sure that your idea, is also your boss’ idea. Or if it is your idea, link it to something they mentioned. In this way, you are making your boss part of the concept. You will get less resistance, and they will feel part of it.

Now, this is not about sucking up; it’s about finding a creative way to get your outcome, which is getting your idea signed off. The goal must always be delivering strong performance.

In Closing

If the issues with your boss still persist you need to use your internal network to find another role in your company or look for a job externally.

A boss has a significant impact on your work life, and this spills over in your personal life. If you can find ways to work around it and still build a fantastic career that is awesome. However, if you cannot, you need to reflect on whether it is worth it. Remember to always keep it professional when you deal with a bad boss.

If you are in the job market, check out our job search resources, including how to update your CV fast, updating your LinkedIn profile how to prepare for an interview.

Author: Cherralle

Mom, wife and career loving parent. This blog focus on career and work life topics for mothers.

4 thoughts on “How To Deal with a Bad Boss in a Professional Way”

  1. Bad bosses are a nightmare. Once worked for a female boss who was very fond of the lads. She was so horrible to the girls but so inappropriate with the men. They were so uncomfortable. She eventually got fired.

  2. Very applicable advice. You are on point about building a larger network. “A leader has the people, a boss has the title.” – Simon Sinek thought that was applicable quote to share!

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