How To Effectively Deal With Your Problematic Boss

A young employee disagreeingIt is not easy to work for someone else.

Even if you have moved up the career ladder and hold an important role, unless you are the CEO or the owner, you likely answer to a boss.

Some bosses are true leaders, empathetic, visionary and empowering.

Not all employees are this lucky, however, and must endure working for a problematic boss.

Depending on what type of the two most common problematic bosses you have, there is a proper way to deal with them.

Selfish Boss

A selfish employer is one who only cares about themselves.

They take credit for the hard work of the entire team when something is done right, but blame specific individuals and don’t take any accountability when problems arise.

This person can come in late or leave early to go home or run errands even if their staff has to stay late or work weekends to meet a deadline.

A selfish boss will not be empathetic if an employee needs to take a few days off to take care of an ill family member or needs to leave an hour early to attend a child’s recital.

The only thing this boss cares about is having employees do their jobs so they can look good in front of clients and their own boss.

Dealing with a selfish boss is tricky because there is very little reasoning you can do with this individual because they just don’t care about others.

The best advice is to protect yourself and be very detail oriented in everything that you do at work.

Keep notes on projects or tasks you work on so you can defend yourself if you are blamed for something outside of your control.

Also, be tactical in how you approach this boss; clarify how what you are proposing will benefit them, because that is what they truly care about.

If you want to introduce a better way to do something, state how this product or service will make them look good or make their job easier.


A micromanager is a perfectionist who does not have the skills or the built-up trust to delegate tasks to others.

This person will be stuck in their office day and night because they can’t step back and share responsibilities with their staff.

When they do assign tasks, they will likely stand over their employees’ shoulders to second-guess each and every decision and step.

These leaders do not know how to empower staff or allow them to have the freedom to make their own decisions.

If you work for a micromanager, you likely feel stifled in your position, not having room or opportunity to grow.

To deal with a micromanager, you need to be patient and prove yourself.

Outline your successes to your boss and allow that knowledge to sink in.

With time and a proven success record, your manager will start to trust you more and step back a little.

Thanks again

Mark Williams

Head of Training and Development

MTD Training   

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Updated on: 5 September, 2016

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