How to Handle a Bitchy Boss

bad bossWatching Horrible Bosses, we laughed at the poor suckers stuck dealing with over-the-top, impossible-to-please bosses.  Off screen, it’s not so funny. Since quitting isn’t always the solution when you’re faced with a boss who lacks even the most basic people skills, here’s how to cope with Mr. or Ms. Crazytown.


Mr. Mood Swing: Depending on his ‘tude, your day is either going to be good or absolutely miserable. This type of boss tends to use negative reinforcement to get his way–which can lead you to the edge of your seat all day wondering what’s coming next.

How to Cope: This is one of the worst bosses to deal with because you can’t yell back, and this type of behavior is not likely to change. In this case, try not to take his bad attitude personally but stand up for yourself in a professional manner. If he’s throwing insults at you that are completely unjustified, write them down and date them. Then, schedule a meeting with him in advance, simply saying you’d like to discuss your current working relationship. Don’t make the meeting feel like a trial where you bust out evidence (he’s likely to get defensive), but make the point that this is not a healthy environment for you. If he says he doesn’t know what you’re talking about, then hit up your list for examples.


Ms. Micro-Manager: This boss will give you an assignment and then email you every 15 minutes to check on your progress, or just “drop by” your cube to “see how it’s going.” Going out for a quick lunch date? You can guarantee your mailbox will be full when you get back!

How to Cope: This problem stems from the paranoia your boss has about your ability to complete tasks without constantly checking in. Instead of giving her annoying status updates throughout the day, suggest establishing a daily meeting time for progress check-ins. If it’s really bad, agree to one update in the morning and one in the afternoon. Stay firm that any additional calls or emails will hinder your ability to complete tasks on time. This will make your boss feel confident that you are both on the same page and capable of finishing the assignments at hand.


Ms. Incompetent: Did you ever have a boss and wondered how on earth she ended up in a senior role?  You know, the type that avoids making all decisions, never seems to be around when you need help with anything, makes you jump through pointless hoops, and in general just seems to be in way over her head?

How to Cope: When assigned a task, be sure to ask as many questions as possible upfront. It’s in your best interest to work around this boss as much as possible. Try turning to a colleague or establish a mentor relationship with someone who’s been around for a while and can give you guidance. Don’t stress yourself out about your boss doing her job incorrectly–just make sure you’re working to the best of your ability, and you could end up in that senior position sooner than you expected.


Mr. Credit Hog: Remember that huge project that you spent 12 hours on, only to have your boss get a big pat on the back for it? He barely put in any of the time or effort, and rarely acknowledges the crucial role you play.

How to Cope:  He’s insecure. Remember that. Next, take a deep breath and realize his bad behavior may have been passed down from a boss who did the same to him. Whenever possible, steal the lead in meetings from him so you can subtly (or not so subtly) mention your contributions to the project. And prior to completing the task, don’t be shy about leaving “rough drafts” of the big assignment out in the open on your desk. People will take notice of who’s really logging the hours.

Have a crazy boss story of your own? Tell us in the comments.

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Photo Credit: turoczy via Flickr


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