12 Strategies For Dealing With A Bad Boss

In my last article, I discussed reasons why your boss sucks. That article may give some insight on the why, but most people are interested in what (to do about it). So here are some strategies to cope with this situation…

1. Do Nothing

This is what most folks will do. They don’t do a damn thing about the situation, at least not directly. They will, however, complain, abstain, or bitch. People love to complain, as talk is cheap and misery loves company. People who do nothing tend to minimize their contact with the boss: abstain. I have heard of people who drink on the job, do light drugs, or try to work from home (if possible) to avoid their boss.

Why do it? Because a change is coming; you intend to quit or are about to be promoted or get a new position (so you’ll have a new boss).

2. Accept Your Boss

Your boss may be crappy because you have major differences of opinion with him. I have a good friend who suffers from ADHD and his boss is a tidy person. Sparks fly every week there. I told him that I believe he should accept his boss and as dumb as he thinks the guy is, the boss is still the boss. Your boss may be leftist, incompetent, or sometimes related to management. In those cases, it is better to accept him or her as is.

Why do it? Because you value your work over feelings, and because there is a minimal change you need to handle.

3. Change Yourself

As Gandhi put it, “you must be the change you want to see in the world.”

If you change your attitude and behavior, there is a good chance that the other person will do it too. Those who have taken the red pill know that a change in behavior can manifest in drastic change to one’s achievements. The same may be applied to changing your dynamic with the boss. If you do it, think carefully about the change, set goals, and look for feedback while being patient. If things take a turn for the worse, it is probably not your fault and you will need to look into one of the next strategies.

Why do it? Because it may be also your fault. By changing yourself, you change the dynamic, which may lead to a change in your relations with the boss.

4. Change Your Thoughts And Feelings

Sometimes you react on a limbic basis to people. Disgust and hatred are powerful emotions. If that is the case, you need to ask three questions: what are the actions that hurt me? What did I feel when I was hurt? How can I change my thoughts so that I’ll be less hurt?

I like the Gorilla Mindset technique in which you have an internal conversation and talk to yourself as a good friend would. Doing that changes your mindset, which has a general effect on your behavior and how the other perceive you.

Why do it? Sometimes your boss just seems to suck. It is more about your reaction. Change the reaction (internally), and the problem may be solved.

5. Manage Your Boss

Managing your boss is figuring out what the boss needs and wants and then giving it to them, but without compromising your integrity. It’s very similar to cold reading, but you actually have enough time to get to know your boss. Find out his or her strengths and weaknesses, what drives them, and what the main interests of that person are. If the boss needs to look good, treat them with respect. By doing this you both benefit: the boss will have his way and you will make that person dependent on you.

Why do it? It creates a better work environment and is great win-win if done properly.

6. One-On-One Meeting

Talking and hopefully coming to terms is usually a good strategy. This will work if your boss can take criticism, is a problem solver, is not vindictive, cares about his/her employees (at least to some extent), has some integrity, and shows some listening skills.

If you choose this strategy, you cannot just wing it. You need to prepare for the meeting, set up the meeting, make it an effective one (by having goals), and follow up on it.

Why do it? If done right, it will make an actual difference. When two people sit down together and actually discuss their problems, it gets things done. Note that you need to make sure your boss is right for the strategy.

7. Lobby Your Boss

This is a technique I learned a decade ago in an influence class. It means that you go as a group (together or separately) to the boss and have that “one too many” conversation. The reason for this strategy is that the crowd may be more effective than one person. Also, some people will only go as a group since they don’t have enough inner strength and need the group as a crutch. The main problem here is coordination: getting everyone on the same page. Trust me when I say it is not easy.

Why do it? Same reasons as a one-on-one meeting, but with a stronger effect. Lobbying works best if you can agree as a group (and usually you become group leader).

8. Indirect Feedback

This means giving feedback in a way that the boss cannot identify who has given it. Let’s face it: we have some vindictive people as bosses, and you don’t want to be the target of their wrath. You can do it privately (i.e. printing a letter of complaint and slipping it onto his desk) or public (i.e. posting his picture with the title “Worst Boss of the Month”). This way the messenger doesn’t get killed.

Why do it? If you are creative (creativity is key) and can be very careful (don’t get caught). Note that if you are caught, you might suffer much greater than if you did a one-on-one meeting.

9. Move On

The above stated strategies were about staying. This and the following strategies are about termination of the relationship. The idea is to find a different boss in your organization and go work for him. You may do it directly or indirectly, but make sure that your boss will not be in the dark and make sure not to bad mouth him or her (even if they deserve it).

Why do it? Because you want to stay in the organization, but cannot work with your current boss.

10. Go Over The Boss’s Head

Maybe your boss is crappy, but his supervisor isn’t. Your boss’ boss usually likes to know what is going on, and you are giving him or her feedback. Also, unlike when we were kids, it’s not snitching or ratting. In order to use this strategy, you need to carefully choose that person (same as the criteria for the one-on-one meeting) and its measure of influence. You may also need to present evidence or think of going as a group.

Why do it? The big boss can solve it quicker. You must be very careful, because this strategy can backfire and hurt you bad.

11. Stand Up To Your Boss

I want to remind you the case of the Challenger shuttle disaster. I have read Richard Feynmann’s book on the subject. This is a classic case of standing up to your boss and making him accountable. By exposing the NASA culture, the committee was able to change the way the organization works. This is a high risk/high reward strategy because you might damage your reputation and risk your workplace. On the other hand, when it works, your situation will surely change.

Why it do? When your boss is doing illegal stuff, actually hurting people or may risk life. Be prepared to face the consequences.

12. Fire Your Boss

“Take this job and shove it.”

This feels so good. Telling someone to go fuck himself or herself and move on is a dream for a lot of people. If you have Fuck You money and have started to feel out the market or even signed a contract with the next employer, go ahead. I highly recommend not losing your temper. Even if you want to put everything on the table, do it in a stoic manner. Give feedback, but with some respect and with no badmouthing. You don’t want to leave a scorched earth behind, as it may damage your reputation.

Why do it? Self-respect, stress relief, and because it’s such a great feeling.

Read More: 8 Reasons You Have A Crappy Boss

35 thoughts on “12 Strategies For Dealing With A Bad Boss”

  1. Today’a corporate America is nothing but a feminist beta building machine. I hate being on my ass all day for 8 hours. Women at my office get away with everything. In fact they moved a new hire who was a woman in my spot where I worked and they moved me to a new area. I am in my late 20s and can’t wait to escape corporate America. I am thinking about being a truck driver. A woman can get away with anything in the office because of beta liberal bosses.

    1. I gotta admit being a trucker looks more and more tempting by the week.
      No annoying-ass colleagues (male OR female), see the country while being paid (if only as a brief skylarker), you can make a comfortable $60k per year with enough hours and experience, and you have plenty of time to listen to great podcasts and stuff on the road. It’s a “boring” job only as much as you want it to be.
      My chief concerns are the huge amount of lives which rest upon my undivided attention at all times. It’s totally unlike being a Jumbo Jet jockey which just spends 95% of their job cruising on auto-pilot.
      Also a lot of the courses which help you get your CDL are an expensive racket. You get it, and then every trucking co. wants minimum 2-3 years experience you can’t ever get.

    2. “I hate being on my ass all day for 8 hours.”
      But then you say you want to drive truck. That’s one of the ultimate “sit on ass” jobs, slick. But you will be away from chicks, and if you’re OTR you see a lot of places.

    3. A woman can get away with anything in the (((corporate))) west because that’s the plan.
      All those useless HR and monkey-work positions were created specifically to take women out of the home, give them decent paychecks and fancy titles and make them feel important. (((They))) know all about hypergamy.
      What happens when a woman has a decent paycheck and a fancy title? Her dating pool becomes even more restricted. Couple her paycheck and title with a smartphone and social media, and you’ve got an old maid or single mother in the making 99% of the time.
      Corporations, banks, media & government are one big (((family))). Profit is not their end for they have an endless supply of fiat funny money. It’s all about social engineering.

    4. Women are over-represented in the cushy office jobs. When they have that power, they are more egotistical and defensive than the guys from my highschool wrestling team. My advice is:
      Read The 48 Laws Of Power by Robert Green.
      You’ll realize that a few moments of swallowed pride could mean years of success. If a woman or crazy person is your boss, try to read between the lines and ask yourself what they are really fishing for. Alpha females will never concede to being wrong. That means they love Words of affirmation. Dont kiss ass, but dont just tell people when theyre wrong.
      The 5 Love Languages is another great book. Fuck love. I use it to manipulate. When you can read someone’s love language, you’ll know exactly how to keep them on your side.
      And always be gatherin intelligence so you can start your own business, and steal the best talent when the time comes.

    5. i think people miss the reality of corporate anything…its built on rigid conformity to a particular framework that stifles ingenuity and the individual and rewards group think and those sneaky enough to manipulate the framework. MEN need to work…honest work, mind challenging work, physical labor work that our bodies and testosterone cries out for, not the lazy pampered and conniving conformity presses of slave like weakminded drones. what makes men MEN? Challenge, competition innovation and hands on construction of our futures….not being mindless cogs in feminist wheels.

  2. #9 it is for me. Fuck all the rest. Lucky for me, being a software stud in So Cal and SillyCon Valley, I just give the finger (literally) and walk. I have had 22 employers in 28 years. I have yet to work in one place where I had a conflict free relationship with my boss. This is not for everyone. In fact I have yet to meet a person who has managed this extreme career path. I knew some real smart guys who where scared shit of losing their jobs or moving on – they don’t seem to handle change very well. Finding software engineering jobs is easy, but changing jobs is not. Every job change will require a big learning curve and performance expectation and stress. But it is also fun, work on new things and tech, you learn a lot of new stuff and keep up to speed on tech and often get bump up your pay. On the downside, you don’t get the benefits of seniority etc. so I never got promoted even once.

    1. To hell with all that feel good “I got to learn a lot of new stuff” crap. 90% of all the new jobs out there are utterly useless and exist only for vanity. Like listen to these BAT (British American Tobacco) management graduates mouth on about “learning / becoming a better person” etc. while the whole foundation of their industry is just blackening lungs, poisoning children via 2nd hand smoke, reducing life expectancy, and stinking up people’s hands, mouths, and car interiors.
      Yeah…. they don’t really tend to mention the actual product. Just how much they’ve “grown”. Oh and of course, you can’t comment on the videos. “Comments are disabled for this video” should be an instant red flag indicator for any company. Whether to work for them, or use their services.

    2. who needs promotion if you can go iton it with the skills to demand better pay. trade up jobs like you would trade up whores, never lower your demands unless its a dire emergency.

  3. Interesting topic, but some of the strategies come off as something weak betas or gossip girls would do, even if they might be pragmatic under some circumstances.
    Plus the reasons for why more or less directly saying fuck you to your boss won’t work or be worth it, besides potentially hurting one’s reputation, are because the chances are that such an individual do not care anyway.
    Why? If it’s a dark triad-ish boss, he/she has built up a shield which is able to resist almost all outer criticism, especially from “lower” creatures. Plus, it’s likely that the boss do not care anyway, because you are just one individual among many who come and go, whether you are truly competent or not. And even if you would hit a spot somewhere, that would probably only be a very temporary sensation whick keeps the person reactive for a short while until you are completely forgotten.
    Perhaps if a huge mistake has been made and “you were right all along”, like in a fake sexual harassment case that is to be revealed at a later time, you should attack each and everyone who has stood against you and make the boss feel uncomfortable, even lie awake in angst at night.

    1. “Never outshine the king” is a great lesson from the 48 Laws of Power. A dark triad boss requires some finess, but the name of the game there is manipulation.

  4. I had a difficult boss. I have a lot of interests and I always believed it would help me in the professional world to take a little bit of interest in everything. My crappy boss loved race cars. When he wasn’t breathing fire in our faces I made it a point to talk race cars with him for a little bit. After I worked on common interests, it got to a point where he would light up every time he saw me. I felt gratification from being able to manipulate him without his knowing.

  5. Most employees these days are absolute shit, and this is a far bigger problem than mean bosses.
    Ask yourself this question: if it was YOUR company and every single dime came out of YOUR pocket, would you pay a guy like you the same amount you are getting, to do the work that you get accomplished? In 90% of cases the answer will be NO – you would never in a million years throw your money away so that some turd can sit around surfing social media all day.
    If you aren’t creating tangible cash value for your boss every single day you are lucky to be drawing a paycheck. Get your attitude right and become the boss, instead of sneaking around like a little bitch talking shit about the boss behind his back.

    1. Totally agree. I had to apologize to a vender because he heard me say our last guy was cheaper and better (with some cuss words.). Kids feelings were hurt. We have 50 other hardworking mouths to feed . Fuck his feelings.
      Todays business owners get no respect. Im grateful for the recent tax cuts though. Now some of these american businesses will be incentivized to stay in america. Imagine that! Too complex for previous administrations to understand apparently.

    2. Yes I would employ myself, yes I do make Bossman, the HR department and other non-productive vagina’s good money. Am I going to slave away unnecessarily to an early grave and be his cum receptacle. No. Even if I did he would still bitch at the country club with the ol boys how it would be better if he could just get some Mexicans at 1/8th the cost and twice the corksucking to do our job.
      Lower middle class don’t generally have the capital to become Boss nor can they overcome the disadvantages MOST bosses never had to face to get where they are.

      1. This is bullshit.
        Have you read The Millionaire Next Door? 50% of americas millionaires are first generation americans. These are mom and pop businesses started by the children of immigrants, mostly from eastern europe. The most popular vehicle choice of america’s millionaires? Ford F150.
        Its your defeated attitude that keeps you down. This is the greatest country in the world to start a business and Trumps tax cuts make this one of the greatest times to do so.

      2. It’s not that there are no incompetent a-holes or boomercucks in corporate management. Of course there are. But you are in control of your own attitude and work ethic.
        Good people with integrity, enthusiasm, humility, and skill are so rare these days that if you show those qualities you can practically write your own terms.
        When quality employers see people with these traits they will do everything they can to make them happy and put them on a path of growth. If they don’t do this, it’s their loss and they are simply telling you it’s time to move on to a better company.
        If you complain about your job or your boss, and you are not studying every single night to become qualified for your boss’s job, then you are not doing it right.
        I’m telling you it’s easy to get promoted and get raises but 90% of the people don’t because their attitude stinks, they are too pessimistic and cynical, and they simply fail to put in the required effort.
        It’s never been easier to look good, surrounded by so many pathetic losers.

        1. Newsflash, your boss didn’t get his job by being good at anything, and you won’t get his job that way either. Working hard and learning won’t get you anywhere in the company that currently employs you. Best to do the minimum you can get away with, keep your head down, and try not to be noticed ……. if you don’t have the money or imagination to work for yourself.

      3. Bullshit. I did it…and Im not special. It took working weekends, vacation time and nights…and even now its often 50-60+ hour weeks. Never off….and yet its fun and gratifying.

  6. I see a lot of articles out there, mostly written by HR broads, and they offer all sorts of feel good advice, or come from the side of employer’s. HR broads, and their feminized white knight simp counterparts, are so delusional to believe that employers and managers are infallible. At 60, I’ve been in the workforce for longer than I care to think (and have been unemployed in my life too). I can barely count on one hand the bosses, and employers, who had any semblance of decency, ethics, or competence. I’ve worked for mostly donut dunkers, the grossly inept, dolts, sloths, and toxic sociopaths just looking for a reason to throw you under the bus. A hard lesson learned is to trust your gut emphatically during the interview process. Any red flags, just walk away! Being desperate is a bad place to be at in one’s life, and taking a job for the sake of getting a paycheck and health benefits is just as bad. I’ve also had a good boss leave, or be cut loose, only to end up with the antichrist boss taking over. Sometimes you just can’t win some battles, and you have to cut your loses and move on. Just avoid going from the “frying pan into the fire” (been there, done that too). I firmly believe in giving a good faith effort, and being ethical, but no longer do I go above or beyond the basic expectations in a job. I don’t trust employers, bosses, most colleagues, or corporate America as far as I can spit, and that’s not too far. Hard words learned the hard way, and sadly, much later in life too.

  7. OT: Shaun White wins the gold in the men’s Half pipe event in the Winter Olympics last night. 3…….. 2……… 1………… “Rape!”

    1. and then he apologized……..wa wa…..browbeaten into submission by PC and SJWs….tyranny of the fringe on display. he should have said, the bitch was lucky to have a job at all. #meetoobacklash
      fire the women, make the workplace safe again for men.

      1. women have two job fields…baby makers and whores. they should choose wisely. one has a promising loving future the other not so much.

  8. I agree with Nick.
    While I haven’t been to as many companies as him in my 30.5 years in IT, I have been to at least 10 separate ones, and with two of them I did 8 separate assignments. Been a consultant for 20+ of those years. No office politics, no worrying about a bonus. Just pay me my rate on time and I am fine.

    1. Also, with seniority and a habit self-reliance, figuring out things yourself etc. the interaction with the boss can be kept to a minimum. Now a days, my interaction with my manager is one team group meeting for 30 minutes and everything else is by email. I don’t kiss up, I don’t have to kick down. That is the closest anyone can come to being “bossless” in today’s world, As an aside, one ROK article mentioned not to refer to your manager as “boss”, I agree with that and I never did. He is “boss” only if the fellow owns the company outright, in the corporate environment he is just a manager – I hate “supervisor” also.

        1. Just curious.
          To the person who downvoted this?
          Did you have a bad experience being self employed?
          It has worked out very well for me.

      1. @Nick
        Generally agree with the “never call them boss” thing. Was also slightly irked by the repeated use of the word in this article after ROK just published one advising against it.

        I’ve noticed that in jobs where you are truly producing value, have unique/advanced skills, plus a high level of autonomy and customization (in your work style, your hours, your location, etc.), you begin to see the management role for what it is, and the best manager types avoid fronting themselves as “boss” because they know it’s a bit old-fashioned and retarded (at least in the US east and west coast metro areas, that’s the general vibe).

        A subordinate employee needs to test around the edges to make sure it’s not semantics or a cop-out they’re believing when they tell friends they view their work lives as “bossless” (some people have bruised egos about the underling role they play, knowing they’ll never be in the rarefied and coveted “boss” position, so they’re gonna rationalize). Without the ability to examine the reality of a situation, it’s just trivial self-affirmation and you’re more likely bitterly BS’ing yourself all day trying to convince your fragile ego “Nobody’s the boss of me!” (pathetic self-deception that permeates certain corporate offices.)

        In my world there are simply people higher up in the organization that are authorized to give certain commands to execute the grand plan from depth and experience, but mostly you’re on your own proving ground and don’t need to get hung up on symbolism of those who preside in window offices. That’s a fairly modern approach, and you typically see less of it in manufacturing/mining/construction/extraction industries. In my late 20s I once told a room full of my own employees “I spend most of the day not seeing you working FOR me, and I mostly see how we’re just working together. Ideas are coming from all over the place in here and I’m not interested in stifling that stuff.” because every once in a while the fucking 20-year-old intern has a better idea than you do. If you are the leader and do a lot of heavy lifting, and are legit enough to pull grunt work “beneath” your job description when it overflows and has to get done, the boss thing disappears and the people you hired see you as legit. (whoa, long post.)

  9. Back in the day there was only two ways to deal with a bad boss. 1. accept it 2. tell them to stick it up their arse. I cant see much has changed.

  10. the only true strategy: Leave your job and become a rowdy vagabond, a true representation of today’s pure renegade maleness. No bosses, no times, no job. Beg for money to eat or do the ol’ hunt-a-rabbit or just go hunting or fishing and learn to survive like a true man. Women will flock at you attracted from your masculine unkept testosteronic beard and fizzy hair. No need to use the estrogen in shampoos or use plastic water bottles. Working today is for pussies anyway. Take the jack kerouac path and become a true vagabond of the dharma, increasing your spirituality too.

    1. Dude, if you are a vagabond by choice, survive on your own wits, stay healthy and comfortable and don’t bend down to anyone, then that would make your a Ultra-Sigma male bad ass no doubt. However, realistically only vagabond bitches will hookup with vagabonds. Although, I hear stories nowadays of urban hipster chicks hooking up with urban vagabonds – because of the all the rubbish they have been fed like environmental sensitivity, “authenticity” what ever the fuck that means, and because they are shameless sluts experimenting with a bit of masculinity when there is an utter lack of masculinity – other than the urban jungle boys – to be found in today’s cities.

      1. My life is a hybrid of this lifestyle. Ive got two businesses. One that meets our families expenses . Its a specialized trade. Through building up a good reputation, savvy marketing and ruthless sticking to my guns, I charge easily 1/3 above my competition…and get it. If they don’t want to pay…there’s the door. We don’t negotiate. The other business has scale and rarely requires me to be present. The beauty of this situation is that my schedule is always very flexible…allowing me to take off weeks during hunting season and most days that I want to throughout the rest of the year. Since I was a little kid, I vehemently hated people trying to control me and telling me what to do. It has been my life mission to carve out a lifestyle that gives me total freedom and ultimate control over my own destiny. Fortunately my wife has always been very supportive. But she’s a bit of a bohemian herself… having grown up in a home where her father rebelled against conventional norms and still provided well for his family.

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