This article was originally published on The Well, Jopwell’s content hub.
Many of us will face a demanding boss at some point in our careers. This person may micromanage you or never give any feedback until they find something wrong with your work. Some bosses just seem impossible to please, no matter how hard you try.
[Related: 3 Constructive Ways To Give Your Boss Feedback]
I can certainly speak from experience when I say that having a demanding or unappreciative boss can be frustrating and disheartening. Even though it can be difficult, I have learned that you can still stay encouraged and motivated at your job even if your boss isn’t the best. Here are a few ways you can change your mindset and achieve success, regardless of how difficult your manager may be.
1. Don’t Take It Personally
I remember working for a boss who would respond to hearing bad news by cursing at employees and throwing things. This was an unpleasant experience, but it made me realize that bosses are human beings who feel pressure, insecurity, and fear just like the rest of us. People sometimes behave badly when they’re under pressure – even people in positions of authority. Your boss’s demeaning words and actions might not be personal. Bosses often take out their frustrations such as problems with their manager or extra stress from outside of work on their employees. Although it may be difficult, try not to perceive your boss’ attitude as a personal attack. With that being said, you should contact HR immediately if anyone you work with ever physically or verbally abuses you in any way.
2. Be a Solution Master
The ideal manager is someone who is all business and does not want to waste time on small talk or explanations. The only thing that she cares about is seeing how you can help her achieve her goals. If you constantly come to her with questions or issues, you are taking away from that priority. Be a problem solver, not just a problem identifier. It’s okay to not have all the answers, but for each problem you want to discuss with your boss, make sure you come up with two potential solutions. This way, they’ll know you’re taking initiative and trying to find a resolution.
3. Always Be One Step Ahead
If you have access to your boss’s calendar, check it regularly. Keep yourself up-to-date on what your boss is working on and their priorities. To maintain a healthy working relationship with your boss, have regular check-ins, whether that means weekly or every other week. Come to the meeting with an update on all of your projects, their statuses, and any new developments he or she should be aware of. This meeting serves as a way for you to stay current with your boss’ priorities and also discreetly trumpet your accomplishments. By doing so, you can maintain better records of your successes before annual reviews.
4. Be Confident, Even in Your Mistakes
In other words, if you’re upfront about your mistakes, it will take less time to clean up the mess than if you try to cover it up with a lie. So next time you do something wrong, be honest and show how sorry you are by using your problem-solving skills to explain exactly how you’re going to make things right again. On days when you feel like your boss is being extra challenging, remember that confidence and poise are your best tools. You were hired for a reason – because you’re smart and capable. So even on tough days, stand tall and remind yourself (and them!) of what an asset you are to the company.
5. Determine What You Have To Gain
Although it may not seem like it, having a tough boss can be beneficial. They train you to always perform at your best, to double-check your work, and to think through your ideas before presenting them. In other words, a tough boss makes you a better employee overall. Harsh bosses throughout my career have not only shown me how to move up the corporate ladder but also what qualities make a good manager. Now, whenever I’m either interviewing for a job or conducting an interview, these are the things I look for. I only consider for hire those individuals whose working style meshes with mine, who provides their direct reports the tools needed to do well in their role, and who gives them room to grow. Consequently, I adore my boss and hope that others feel the same about me if given the chance.