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5 Ways to Deal With a Difficult Boss

Dear Lynn,

I was laid off from a job as a marketing director for an assisted living center at the beginning of this year. This summer, I was so excited to interview for a similar position that offered opportunities for creative input, an increase in pay and more flexibility. I was getting all the “go ahead” signals from my intuition and was finally offered the job. However, imagine my surprise when my boss, “George,” turned out to be a huge micromanager. He has yet to acknowledge any of my accomplishments and simply criticizes and complains. Why would my intuition lead me astray and what can I do to survive this place and “George?” — Marilyn H.

Dear Marilyn H.

Dear Marilyn –

 I can totally relate to your question because I had the same thing happen to me before I began my intuitive reading business. I would often go home in tears because he was so critical of me and all the others on my team. I asked the same question as you, “Why did my intuition lead me astray?”

This job was many years ago. However, I can now say with absolute certainty that I’m very glad I had the position and that difficult boss. He helped me understand things about working in a corporate environment and dealing with people who are very different from me. I also learned to not take things personally. Most importantly, I really learned to use my intuition to tune into him and understand what would help us get along better.

Allow me to share a few techniques to help you communicate better with your boss (or anyone else for that matter!)

Intuitive Questions

I’d like you to ask your intuition a series of questions. Have a notebook and pen in front of you. I find it easier to write my intuitive reflections. If working on your computer works better for you, that’s fine, too. On the page, write the following:

  1. What do I need to know about George?
  2. What could I do to get along better with him?
  3. What’s the best way to approach George with some new initiatives I’d like to implement?
  4. What’s important to him? What are his values?
  5. What could I do to make my job enjoyable again?
  6. Any other question for which you’d like an answer.

Intuitive Answers

Choose a time when you won’t be disturbed. Sit quietly and meditate for a few minutes. Focus on your breath and slowly breathe in and out until you feel at peace. Look at the list of questions and see which one jumps out at you first. You’re seeking intuitive answers. These usually come in the form of symbolic images, feelings, inner voice and physical sensations. You don’t have to answer them in chronological order. You may feel like you’re making up the answers. Simply brainstorm whatever comes to you and don’t censor it. You can evaluate the answers after this part of the exercise. Sometimes the answers will pop into your mind later in the day.

What I Discovered

When I did this exercise trying to figure out MY difficult boss, I learned how anxious he felt. We were a startup company and he felt very apprehensive about his ability to keep the company running and well funded. His anxiety came out via a short temper with me and others. This information helped me to view him with more compassion. I also felt that he was a “numbers guy.” This isn’t one of my strengths. However, I made it a priority to document all that I did and back it up with bottom line information.

Learn to Recap a Conversation

When I was in graduate school I learned a great technique from a couple’s therapy course. It has helped me tremendously in many different relationships including the one with the difficult boss. When “George” gives you information about something, recap what he said. For example, “Okay. I understand that networking with XYZ association is my number one priority for marketing next week. Is that correct? Could you tell me more about this…?” When you summarize your conversation with someone it allows them to expound on the topic and more importantly, makes them feel heard.

What Do You Like About Your Boss?

Just about anyone has good traits and bad ones. What do you like about him? By focusing on the positive qualities versus his failings, you’ll find your own mood and temperment has improved. Recognize that George is unlikely to make a huge change in his behavior. The question becomes, “What can I do to create a positive work environment for myself?” Ask your intuition! Keep your focus on where you want to be and how you want to feel. Your intuition will guide you.