When the difficult person in your life is your manager, you may feel less empowered in dealing with the situation because this is the person who has a direct impact on your level of job satisfaction.


Having to deal with a difficult manager is almost a guarantee, the longer you are in the working world.


Let's cover some of the things you can do when dealing with such a manager.


Speak with a trusted friend or loved one
They may have a helpful perspective on how to resolve the situation. Do NOT confide in anyone at your organisation. Your manager, even the difficult ones, may be more popular than you think.


Stay calm and respectful
When highlighting the issue, don't let the emotional charge of the situation derail you during your discussion. Easier said than done, I KNOW… but keep grounded.


Remain confident in your conviction
…but be receptive to constructive criticism. The tension in the relationship may not be completely your manager’s fault. Be receptive to your own imperfections.


Set boundaries and ensure to communicate the benefits
When setting boundaries with your difficult manager, explain why respecting these boundaries are beneficial for your working relationship and more importantly, ensure you communicate a measurable benefit. For example, it will allow me to complete my tasks 10% faster if I'm not micromanaged.


Just as success leaves clues you can follow to become successful, your difficult manager will leave clues you can use to improve the relationship…


Difficult manager


Know their ‘Style’


Understanding the management style of your difficult manager can have a powerful impact on your ability to deal with their challenging personality.


If you want to see results, understand their management style and use it to influence how you communicate.


Let’s look at three of the most common management styles and how you can use them to your advantage.


Autocratic managers
They are usually directive, prone to micromanage and strong on compliance. When communicating with these types; get to the point quickly, be direct when engaging and keep your discussion factual.


Visionary managers
These personalities are long-term in thinking and usually engage their employees. When communicating with them; discuss the issue by highlighting the impact on your long-term productivity.


Democratic managers
They are participative, team players and prefer collaborative decision making. Discuss the issue by highlighting the impact on your team participation.


Usually, these steps are sufficient to address any difficult interaction between you and your manager. However, trust your instincts, you may be dealing with more than a difficult manager, you could be dealing with a narcissist.


If you are dealing with a narcissist, understand that this is a deep-rooted mental condition that requires professional training to encourage change. In such a situation, it may be best to practice self-preservation and start looking for new opportunities.


If you have achieved resolution, then decompress and reward yourself
If you have resolved the situation, give yourself credit for getting through difficult circumstances. These situations consume more energy than you may think, both physically and mentally. Acknowledge that you have done well and find an outlet to decompress and reward yourself.


But what if the situation persists?


Take this FREE Professional Assessment to benchmark your potential for success, in less than 15 minutes!

Professional Assessment


When all else fails

If the situation has not been resolved, you may need to consider contacting Human Resources.
If you are considering raising it with HR, be prepared. Initially, you can raise it informally with HR; anonymously at first, if all you seek HR’s guidance.


If the situation persists and is affecting your mental wellbeing, then you may need to raise it formally with HR, in the form of a grievance. This, however, should be used as a last resort. If you must raise a grievance, ensure you have documented evidence of all your claims and your attempts to mitigate the situation.


You should also start looking for other opportunities in the event the situation is not resolved in your favour.


Unfortunately, dealing with a difficult manager is one of the hazards of being in the working world. Although it is one of many challenges you will face in business, it doesn’t have to be an impossible one.


... remember, stay curious and keep learning.


If you find this article useful, there is even more awesomeness waiting for you... click below to discover it!

Resolve Conflict and Difficult Situations at Work Like a Pro

The Institute for Achievement and Excellence ©