Five Ways to Deal With a Bad Boss

At some point or another, the odds are against us. That is, we’re bound to end up with a bad boss. Someone who doesn’t recognize our hard work, someone who is unethical or if we’re really unlucky, a combination of both (along with several other negative characteristics).

Well, as Rebecca Thorman writes in a new post on U.S. News & World Report, there are a few strategies to come out ahead, no matter how lousy the situation.

1. Stay positive and perform. As difficult as it may be, you still need to be the best at your job, day in, day out. She points out in the piece, “Your boss can’t complain if you’re doing everything right with a positive attitude to boot. Plus, you’ll feel better by taking pride in your work. You actually contribute to the negative work environment around you when you whine and moan. Show your value and work ethic instead.”

2. Flip it upside down: Look at the challenge as a learning opportunity. That’s right, a challenge in this case becomes an opportunity to grow, to learn, to survive and consequently thrive. Sure, it would be awesome to only have to work with people we like but alas, that’s not the way the world works. Difficult people will cross our paths sooner or later.

3. Discover what your boss cares about. Figure out what your boss likes — whether it’s leaving the office at 6 p.m. on the dot or ensuring you always meet your deadline, is key to survival. “Whatever the push-point is,” Thorman writes, “find it and use it to make your boss look good. Use this strategy to get your boss on your side so you’re able to contribute to the larger goals of the organization.”

4. Seek out more responsibility. Your boss may be threatened by your talent, skills and intellect (let’s face it, who wouldn’t be?), but technically you’re at the advantage if you find ways to add more value to the team and essentially make the big boss look good.

5. Mimic their communication style. Maybe your boss wants you to be available 24/7 on e-mail whereas another boss may want thorough e-mails on a daily basis recapping the stories you’re working on. Whatever his or her communication style, it’s in your best interest to mimic it. Thorman adds, “While you may feel that you deserve a supportive work environment, managing up is all about making work easier on those around you.”