We’ve addressed the proper perspective for working with a horrible boss.
We’ve addressed what not to do.
It is time to talk about what to do.
Here are the five steps to responding to and working with a horrible boss. They should usually be employed in the following order:
Pray for your boss. This is the starting point for a Kingdom response to a horrible boss. See Matt. 5:44-45. It’s the most important thing you can do, and it’s one that gives you a tremendous advantage over non-Christians dealing with the horrible boss. Praying for your boss helps you find the Kingdom perspective for responding to your boss and access to the wisdom necessary to solve the problem.
Examine yourself. Christians should be more objective about themselves, more willing and able to change than non-Christians. Nobody likes criticism, but one of the best sources of criticism is your boss because she has a vested interest in your success. You may not like her method or manner but her motive should be the last thing you question. Remember: your job is one of the tools God uses to make you more like Jesus.
Respond in the opposite spirit. The natural human reaction to a critical or abusive boss is to react in the same spirit or not at all. If you respond in the same spirit you risk appearing insubordinate; if you don’t respond at all you risk appearing indifferent. The best way to respond is in the opposite spirit. See Matt. 5: 38-45. If your boss is critical, respond receptively. This diffuses the situation and conveys understanding.
Make your boss successful. This, like the previous response, is counter-intuitive. Your natural instinct is to want to see your horrible boss fail. If that is your desire it will affect the way you respond to him even if you are not aware of it. You might respond a little slower to his emails and phone calls, or maybe push the deadlines he gives you, both of which can be subtle forms of rebellion. The best way to avoid this is to determine to do everything you can to make your boss successful. Not only will this protect your attitude, but it has a very good chance of changing your bosses attitude toward you. Don’t worry about who gets the credit.You are working for the Lord, and He is the one who will reward you. See Col. 3:23-24.
Solve the problem. I have a friend who is a very successful executive. At her last job she had a horrible boss no one liked or could get along with. My friend saw the situation as a problem to be solved and began trying to figure out how best to respond and connect with her boss. She did so and her boss began to open up to her and entrust her with more responsibility. Power is surrounded by problems. Those who solve problems–like how to work with a horrible boss–will be given more more important problems to solve.