How to Deal with the Boss from Hell

Working with the boss from hell can be a frustrating experience that raises your level of stress and puts a whipping on your self-esteem, confidence and desire to do your best. The relationship between you and the boss from hell may never evolve to a level where your boss becomes someone you respect and admire, but you can take some steps to even things out and approach a more acceptable relationship in which you no longer must think of your workplace as the pit of Hades.

Don’t Take It Personally

A very effective piece of advice for the person dealing with the boss from hell is to get away from the perspective that this treatment is equivalent to a personal attack. Although you get the advantage of being able to hate your boss by believing that he has a grudge against you for personal reasons, this decision also has the effect of turning yourself in the problematic issue. In most cases when dealing with a boss from hell, you really are not the problem and the boss is not attacking you for personal reasons. The reason that your boss from hell treats you badly is much more likely that he doesn’t respect some of the things you do or it could even be that you remind the boss of someone he doesn’t like. Get past the point where you take everything personally and you move forward to a better relationship.

Behavior of the Boss

Dealing with the boss from hell often takes the form of dealing with a personality that is brittle, irritable, grouchy, bad-tempered or just plain mean. The best way to react to this type of boss is to closely observe him as if he were a guinea pig in a social experiment. Take notice of whether the behavior betrays any kind of identifiable pattern. Does the boss get particularly surly on a certain day of the week. Or notice whether the level of irritability rise as you get closer to completing a project. The more you can learn about what is driving the boss to behave badly, the better you will able to deal with it. You may even reach the point where you lend some constructive input that helps the boss realize things about his personality that he may not yet realize.

A Two-Way Street

The boss from hell is driving down a two way street and you on the opposite side of the line down the middle. The problem with the relationship as it exists between you and the boss could be one created as a result of misunderstandings and those misunderstandings could be partly your fault. Make sure that you have a way to effectively communicate with your boss and, if necessary, go directly to him and over the heads of your immediate supervisors. It may be that your contribution to the job is not being effectively communicated by the supervisor who has the ear of the boss. If your relationship with your boss is dictated solely by what other people have to say about you to him, you are dealing with a one-way street in which your boss is driving a Hummer and you are on a bike. Don’t allow yourself to get run over.


Dealing with a boss from hell is only going to corrupted even more by your refusal to try to understand the psychological motivations behind your boss’ behavior and personality. Get out of yourself and try to put yourself in your boss’ shoes. Consider the issues that the boss must face that have nothing to do with you or your job. The stress placed upon your boss may be the real reason behind the lack of a positive relationship between you two. And you don’t make things better by constricting the view of your boss from the simple perspective of your place within the organization. Get to know the idiosyncrasies, working style and values of your boss and try to find a way to better relate to them. This will in turn lead to an improvement in the relations between you.