5 Ways to Deal with an Unfriendly Boss

Having an unfriendly boss is never any fun.

While we’d love to have the perfect professional relationship with our bosses (since they’re in charge and have a lot of say in our career trajectory ), often times, this may not be the reality. Unfortunately, you may even have your own version of Miranda Presley from the popular movie, “The Devil Wear Prada” on your hands.

In those special cases, it is important to remember one thing: you have the power to decide how you’ll react and can emerge stronger as a professional. 

1. Remember your WHY.

When times get rough in the workplace, it’s important to take a step back and re-center yourself. Think about your “why.”  Doing this can be the difference between you having an avoidable argument with your boss or responding in a way that will deescalate things.

Why are you at this job?  Why is it important to your career?  Your “why” will remind you of the bigger picture and will give you the strength to walk away from unnecessary conflict.

2. Learn how to work with your boss’s personality.

One very overlooked benefit in having a difficult boss is you develop a unique skill to work with difficult personality types. People come from many different backgrounds and have various methods of working, communicating, organizing, etc.

One of the best skills to have is the ability to work well with different personality types, especially difficult ones, in order to reach a common goal. This could very well be something that will come up multiple times in your career. So, learning how to maneuver sooner rather than later will only benefit you.

3. Try to be understanding.

At the end of the day, no matter how high up they are, a boss is simply a person. It’s important to remember this because, like any other person, your boss may be dealing with stress relating to work or even something unrelated in their personal life. Let’s not forget, we all have things going on outside of work. It is important to put yourself in their shoes at times and try to be as understanding as you can be.

4. Schedule time to talk to your boss.

Believe it or not, so many issues can be resolved with a simple conversation. It may seem difficult at first but consider scheduling a time to chat with your boss about the issues in your professional interactions.

This will give the space to make your concerns heard and potentially provide a level of clarity. Also, be prepared to listen to your boss’s perspective.This conversation will hopefully be a safe space for you both to develop a plan on how to improve your interactions.

5. Make sure you check-in with yourself.

The norm in so many toxic work environments is to put your mental health on the back-burner. However, when dealing with a difficult boss it is important now more than ever to check in with yourself. Go for a walk during lunch, phone your loved ones when you can, or take a few seconds in the bathroom.


Do whatever you have to do to avoid saying or doing anything you may regret later. Sometimes our emotions can get the better of us, especially when dealing with difficult people, that’s why it’s important to take a second and think before you react irrationally.


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