How to Deal with a Difficult Boss? It’s Easier Than You Think…

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In a perfect world, we would all like to work for a great boss, a boss that helps us to reach our
full potential, who is supportive, listens and appreciates all our hard work.
Unfortunately, in the real world, we’ll all come across a difficult boss at some point in our career.
But don’t worry, all is not lost, you can still make the best of the situation to get your job
Here are some common types of bosses you may come across and some tips on how best to
work with them.

The Micro Manager

You’ll know if you are working for a micro manager, they’ll constantly want to be involved
in everything you do and check on you and your to do list every 5 minutes. Have you done that yet? Have you read my
email? Even if their email has literately only just landed in your inbox…
So how do you deal with a micro managing boss?
Suggest a 10 minute meeting at the start of each day, even if it means
you going in to the office a bit earlier, you won’t mind missing that extra 10 minutes in bed
as you will reap the benefits throughout the day and allow yourself some breathing space. In
the meeting discuss what needs to be done, what is priority and agree deadlines for each task,
this way you can fully manage their expectations. When you have completed a task, let them
know, communication is key with this type of boss, although it can be a little frustrating at
times, it is manageable with the right approach.
Once you’ve both reached an understanding,
they should start to relax and trust that you have everything under control, which of course,
we know you do.

The Whirlwind

You’ll know if you are working for a whirlwind, they will come spinning into the office like
a Tasmanian devil, asking you to do several things at a hundred miles an hour, and then
within a blink of an eye they will have gone. You are left wondering…what did they just say?
So how do you manage a whirlwind type of boss?
Never be afraid to ask questions, be confident, and ask them to repeat themselves. If you are
still unsure, before they disappear ask them to wait so you can check you have taken
everything down correctly. If you keep up this approach, soon the penny will drop and they
will slow down when they need to ask for your assistance.
To get those notes down quickly,
you may find it useful to teach yourself Tee line shorthand or use your own abbreviation
style. The whirlwind can also be notorious for losing important documents and misplacing
things, this is where your amazing organisational skills come into play. Make sure you keep a
copy of their passport, membership numbers, meeting agenda and important contacts to hand,
you never know when they might come flying back in with questions!

The Workaholic

The Workaholic will be in the office at 6am, and would have already emailed you a list of
things to do before you’ve even reached the office at 9am.
So how do you work successfully with a workaholic?.
Always check your emails and their meeting agenda for the day on your way to the office, so the minute you
walk through the door you have all the answers ready, they will be impressed and appreciate
how efficient you are. You must make sure when working with a workaholic that you do not
burn yourself out and maintain a good work-life balance. Just because they are there from the crack of dawn until sunset, you don’t always need to stay. When you leave pop your head
into their office and let them know you are on the end of the phone should anything urgent
arise. You will know when it’s critical to stay out of hours.

The Genius

This boss is the over-thinker, they believe that everything should be more complicated than it
really is. All common sense goes out the window and they can become flustered at the most
trivial things. They might have regular outbursts, yelling “why won’t this print?” “My
internet isn’t working?”, “Where have all my contacts gone?!” All those simple things that
are easily resolved.
So how do you work successfully with ‘the genius’?
This is where you step in with your calm demeanour and take over “Send
that document to me, I’ll print it for you”, “I have your contacts here”. The gratitude you will
receive will be overwhelming, they will wonder, wow how did you do that? They will think
you are the genius.
The genius can be quite a free spirit, they have a tendency to wander off with another brainiac
idea that suddenly pops into their head meaning they easily lose focus on the task at hand.
You will need to keep them under control, knowing where they are and where they should be
at all times. In my experience, as soon as you point them back in the right direction they are
back on track and appreciate your guidance.
To sum things up, no matter what type of boss you work for, the best advice I can give is to
communicate, it is so important to keep them up to date with their engagements and approach
any issues head-on. As a PA\EA you are a natural born problem solver, nothing fazes you, so
stay confident in your abilities and remember knowledge is power. Be proactive and always
stay one step ahead, you will become their lifeline and they’ll wonder what they ever did
without you.