How to win over a boss you hate

Ask anyone and they’ll tell you about a bad boss that they’ve had the (dis)pleasure of working with. Whether it’s the slacker boss who blames everything on their team, the credit-taker who steals all the best ideas and claims the credit for them or the ball-buster who piles the work on and never takes any holiday or time off so you can’t either.

We’ve all met them and we’ve all suffered under them!

But, we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves to help you win over your horrible bosses. It’s time to make your life easier for yourself, and your suffering teammates.

You have a bad Boss? Here’s what to do

1. Pick your battles

The first thing you need to realize, when dealing with a horrible boss, is that you can’t fight them on everything. You also can’t use all your energy worrying or getting stressed about everything either. So, you need to decide which issues are the most important to you and work out how to approach your boss on these.

“I enjoyed the ability to openly communicate and get feedback that helped me work efficiently and good” – Anonymous Employer Review at Opendoor

2. Empathize

Quite often with nasty bosses, it’s not the person who is awful but the situation that they’re in. So, if your boss is being mean to you, stealing your ideas or overworking themselves then ask yourself what kind of pressure they’re under. Actively try to empathize with them. Even if they’re total jerks to you, they’re only human. So, when you do approach them, let them know that you see the amount of stress they’re under and ask them if there are any ways that you and your team can help.

3. Praise your boss for the things they do well

A great way to win your boss over is to let them know that you appreciate the work that they do. So, try to think of a couple of things that they do well and let them know that you have seen these things and want to commend them on. By focussing on the positive aspects of their leadership, you help your boss to feel better about themselves and encourage them to behave in a positive way.

4. Hold your tongue

If you find yourself reacting to your boss’ comments all the time, you need to work on holding your tongue. Only react to the things that are really important. Reacting to everything will only escalate the distrust and tension between you. Instead, let it go in the meeting and confront them about their behavior later on. Just remember though, your boss is still in charge and can decide on all kinds of things. So whilst their leadership style might not be to your liking, tread them carefully.

“This company has been pleasant because more than anything they are very truthful and honest with you as an employee.“ – Anonymous Employer Review at Primerica

5. Find a compromise

Once you’ve worked out which issues you can’t let go, you should take these to your boss and have a good conversation about them. Start by asking your boss if you can have a one-to-one conversation and schedule it in. Begin the conversation by recognizing how much stress they’re under before letting them know you appreciate the work they do, and then giving them some constructive feedback.

Instead of getting confrontational and saying “you stole all my ideas!” say “I noticed that you took some of the ideas that I’d discussed with you into the meeting the other day and you forgot to credit me. In the future, I’d appreciate it if you credited me.” Equally, your boss might come back and say that they’re trying to keep meetings short and sweet, so crediting you every time doesn’t make sense. So, be diplomatic and try to find a good compromise for you and your boss. Think ‘win-win!’

6. Find another outlet for your stress

If you find yourself getting stressed out with your boss on a regular basis then try to find ways to release this pent up stress outside of work. Sign up to a boxing class so you can take your anger out on a punching bag. Go to spinning class and cycle through the rage. Or, go to yoga and breathe… it doesn’t matter what you do, just take some time to get rid of the negativity and let go of your stress. It’ll make it easier to go in every day, smile, hold your tongue and complement your boss!

This article first appeared on Kununu.