Work is challenging as it is, throw in a difficult boss and you have a recipe for disaster. Having a boss who is challenging can drain any and every pleasure out of work.

Having a good relationship with your boss is then not only important for your sanity, but your job prospects as well. They will only write you a good recommendation if they want to recommend you, so even if you switch jobs, a bad relationship can jeopardize your prospects.

However, it is not just the economics that are at stake, but your health as well. Having a difficult boss may impact your productivity. It may also increase your stress levels, which then also leads to problems with physical health, meriting a visit to the Fauji Foundation Hospital.

Moreover, a difficult boss might also increase your anxiety levels. Some may even have a negative impact on your self-esteem. You might also have increased conflicts at work as well.

Suffice to say, knowing how to manage a difficult boss is important. Some practical tips include:


Having good communication is key to success at work. It also helps in aligning expectations as well. If you are feeling lost, you should try to then talk to your boss instead of doing all the work only to realize that was not your task to begin with.

However, play smart. Do not give the impression as if you were not attentive to them. Give them either or options to tell them how you have done your homework.

Furthermore, it also helps to understand your boss’s communication style. Some prefer emails, others like Trello boards. Hence, utilize those forums first, before talking to them in person.


Sometimes, our boss is being difficult because they actually are in a tight spot. It is helpful therefore to be empathetic in such situations, so you know the other person is just as well in a difficult situation. Empathy also helps in gaining perspective.

Don’t go down the grapevine

Do not gossip about your boss, no matter how difficult they are being. You never know which coworker of yours will take the matter to the boss, marring your reputation then.

Paper trail

Having evidence on hand can help if your boss is flaky. It also helps in reaffirming your task, so that you both are in the same groups. After you have had an important meeting, if possible, fit in a feedback email, masking it something on lines of ‘wanted you to know the projects I am working on’ or ‘as per our meeting, this is the course of action I’d be taking.’

Relaxation techniques

Losing your calm and cool is easy to do, but the implications are grave. When your boss is being particularly difficult, having a shouting match will not fare well for you. In such heated moments, try to stay calm. Follow relaxation techniques like breathing exercises to help your stress levels go down.

It does not however mean that if your boss is being abusive or exploitative, that you take this behavior from them.

Work smart, not hard

Try to understand your boss, what they mean when they say something. This will help you in working exactly how they wanted, instead of wasting your time with things they will reject later.

Preserve your mental health

It is important that you protect your mental health in the midst of all this. If you are a sensitive person, chances are that your mental health will suffer more with a difficult boss. Hence, it is pertinent that you take steps to preserve your mental health.

Breathing exercises, yoga, mindfulness, and meditation are some ways to manage stress. However, if you feel as if your anxiety levels are unmanageable and you suspect yourself to be depressed, you should seek help from a mental health expert like your Psychiatrist in Islamabad.

By Manali