Handling tough bosses

By Julia Fernandes

August 8, 2011


Just the other day my colleague got a dressing down from our boss regarding work. The entire day he was withdrawn and sulking. Next day, the mood of the boss was ok and he began talking to him in his usual self. My colleague, too, started speaking in a friendly way. I was just observing his behaviour. Your boss comes along, shreds your work and your self-confidence in pieces and the next day you talk to the same person as though nothing has happened.


Each person has a unique mechanism to cope up with the hurt feelings inflicted by the boss. Some pretend as though it makes no difference to them though deep inside they are hurt badly. Some like me resort to crying while some grow such a thick skin that it really does not affect them. They sort of get themselves immune to the scolding and shouting.


What distinguishes a boss from you is the power that is given to them. Power is intoxicating. Not many bosses understand that with power comes responsibility. One of my friends had a female boss who was a tyrant in every sense of the word. Right from restricting her girls from interacting with the other employees, to playing subtle politics, to talking arrogantly and rudely, she did everything that would bring the team of girls to tears. Life was hell under her leadership.


Then one fine day she got a taste of her own medicine when her new immediate higher boss used the same tactics against her. It was only when her powers were taken away that she was finally cut down to size. What goes around eventually comes around. Nobody really gets away with anything.


Hats off to all those people who have to daily engage with tough bosses. I really admire such people for I am a chicken. I cannot bring myself to face and handle such kind of people. It takes nerves of steel to put up with difficult bosses. I remember the first day I had re-joined my ex-orgnisation, the person whom I had to report do not only carried out unethical journalistic practices, but challenged my own knowledge and ran down my work.


I did not know what to do. I was not mentally and emotionally equipped in any way to handle nastiness of such magnitude. I cried and left the same day. I just could not deal with somebody engaging in wrongful practices and creating a hostile work environment for me.


Handle to the extent that you can. If you can put up with their antics, and yet retain your sense of self-worth, well and good. If you are a chicken like me, then look for a better work environment. Not every boss will be from hell. When I left companies with such kind of bosses, it took a while, but each time I got a job, I got excellent people to report to -- people who treated me with immense respect.


Some bosses are good at heart but they could just be having a bad day or an off day. Some are inept in dealing with the pressure that they get from their higher ups, so their next best target is their juniors. But remember to identify those bosses that are really bad. Such people can be very nasty and mean. Period. There is no justification for their behaviour. Be wary of such bosses for they can really break you mentally. Don’t allow it to happen.


We are all working for money, yes. But do not forget your self-worth, which is equally important as the money you are earning and for which you sometimes have to face the music from tough bosses!

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