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9 ways to deal with a toxic boss during the pandemic, according to a psychologist

Published on:29 September 2020, 15:50pm IST
If you are still working from home and your difficult manager is bordering on unbearable, then these tips on how to handle a toxic boss can come in handy.
Anuja Kapur
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Toxic bosses are the worst, but you can still handle them with tact with these tips. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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We are well aware of how difficult bosses or managers can be at work. A direct supervisor can have the maximum effect over the way an employee comprehends a job and the amount of motivation they work with. It is often said that employees don’t leave companies—in fact they part ways with their bosses. 

Keeping the pandemic in mind, a lot of employees and bosses will be frustrated with the ongoing lockdown which might act as a catalyst to ruin your relationship with your management. The most effective way for you to deal with it is to handle the destructive relationship yourself, and take care not to cause unnecessary drama within the workplace. 

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Here are some tips that will help you deal with a difficult boss: 

1. Be clear on what is required of you
We can’t force people to change, but we can change ourselves. It is crucial to have clear-cut information regarding all work you need to do. In fact, double up on the instructions set for you to avoid any mix up. Be the change you desire in the office space to set a smooth experience for yourself.

In an effort to cut through the chaos and confusion, resort to emails, chat threads, and status meetings which will help you see things clearly and get work done efficiently.

2. Focus on what you are asked to do
A lot of bosses and managers just want you to do as they say. So, you need to use your logic, do your job, and leave your ego at the door. Knowing what will not work is equally important as knowing what will. What you need to hone is strategic thinking on the spot to impress your management.

how to handle a toxic boss
Don’t be stressed, in fact, talk it out. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Realize positive intent and provide constructive feedback
When you acknowledge that insecurity is at the nucleus of miserable behaviour, you can alter your perspective. Always look at the brightside and tap into your intelligence to build on a constructive conversation. Perhaps your boss doesn’t realize how their actions are striking you. Raise the concerns with clarity and without emotion. Remember you have direct control over how you react. Try to rise above to reach an understanding.

4. Have a candid conversation with your manager
To resume efficiently in this pandemic-ridden world, it is important to have a candid conversation with your manager to understand fully how to go about your job. Approach with a request to have an open conversation and without cribbing, explain how you feel and the actions that can alter your performance and morale.

The dialogue that ensues will help you determine if you want to continue the current work approach or not.

5. Assess your own values first
One impressive plan of action for handling a toxic leader is to evaluate your own personal values. We have no power over how others show up; however we are in control of how we show up, which is where your focus should be.

Introspect and find out if you are in alignment with your personal values and what are you gaining overall? Try to stay consciously active of your purpose and mission at your workspace.

6. Discover and adapt
It is very unfortunate to have a toxic boss, but working with one is inevitable. However you need to work your way around it to help ease your work life. Try and identify and even accept their communication style.

how to handle a toxic boss
A stressful work place will hamper your productivity too. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

The more you acquire about their connection preferences the better you will be able to adapt and prepare for more effective conversations. Try to figure out what does your boss care about, how does s/he measure success, what does s/he think about failure, and what drives him/her. Frame your opinions and language in ways that your boss agrees with.

7. Don’t judge
Positivity is the key! Stay positive and focus on how you can accomplish tasks in this pandemic situation. Lead others by helping them rather than judging them. If the whole team is calm, composed, and concentrated towards achieving good results, toxic bosses will not have any room left for their drama.

8. Control your actions at the workplace
Don’t ever let your management’s bad behaviour be an excuse for your own. Employees often tend to slack off when they are done with their top management. Try not to fall in that trap.

You may not agree with everything your manager says or does, but you need to maintain the workplace decorum and handle things respectfully, positively and professionally. It is easy to succumb to resentment but doing so will undermine your integrity and brand you a slacker for the future.

Also, read: 5 simple lifestyle changes that helped me achieve work-life balance

9. Set boundaries at work
When in office, keep all your relations professional and interact when required to avoid unnecessary drama. Don’t worry about what others are doing and just concentrate on the work you are appointed for. Don’t expect too much from your toxic boss or colleague and set the required boundaries for yourself.

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Anuja Kapur Anuja Kapur

Anuja Kapur is a renowned Psychologist, with a specialisation in criminal psychology and victimology.