Stressful Boss

How to Deal With a Stressful Boss : A Zenful Guide

How to Deal With a Stressful Boss

It is a scenario that so many people deal with—they finally find their dream job. There is great pay, great work and even better co-workers. However, there is one thing that is getting in the way of this perfect job—a less than perfect boss. A stressful boss .


Difficult bosses are nothing new. Many people deal with demanding, difficult or overwhelming bosses on a regular basis. However, you shouldn’t just accept a stressful boss—you should know how to handle a stressful boss so that it doesn’t start impacting your everyday life.


If you don’t know how to handle a stressful boss, then it can start impacting your personal and professional life. It can also have an impact on your mental and physical health—something no one wants to have to deal with.


Because bosses are obviously in a position of power, so many people think that there is nothing they can do about having a difficult boss—and that they simply just need to deal with this stressful boss and move on. However, things doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, there are many things that you can do in order to improve your relationship and your day-to-day life while in the workplace.


While there is no secret recipe that works with every type of difficult boss—there are a few things that you can do in order to help deal with this situation. This is why we have created the official Zenful guide on dealing with stressful bosses.

Negative Energy

Take a Step Back and Look at The Relationship

The first thing that you need to do when dealing with a stressful boss is to take a step back and really assess the situation at hand. It can be so easy to only see things from one side—your side, when you have a difficult relationship with your boss. This is particularly true if you find yourself very emotional about this dynamic.

Stop and ask yourself a few things:

  • Could you even be partly responsible for this damaged relationship?
  • Does your boss have a poor relationship with everyone in the workplace—or is it just you?
  • Does your boss have poor workplace behaviors in general, or is it just in regards to “boss” responsibilities?

While you do this, try to be as empathetic as possible. Try to look at things from your boss’s point-of-view. What might be going on with them personally or professionally that impacts how they work at work.

You may even want to consider talking to your boss.


This can sound very daunting—particularly if you don’t normally have in-depth conversations with your boss. If you are comfortable and find the right opportunity, you might want to take the time to ask your boss about what they’re dealing with. It can help you have a better understanding of where your boss is coming from.


Your boss may have their own difficult boss. They may only be passing down demands from their superior. Your boss may also have a number of tight deadlines to deal with and be under a great deal of stress.


You should also stop and think about your boss’s dynamic, if you believe that you are contributing to the negative relationship in some way—it is time to own it and address it. You are going to need to be the bigger person and start making changes if you want the stressful relationship improve.


Try to Keep Your Emotions in Check

This can be easier said than done, particularly when you are dealing with a boss who really stresses you out. Your boss may stress you out, but you always need to think about things carefully before you start talking.


If you say the wrong thing and the wrong time, particularly when you are stressed, it can make your situation with your boss even worse than it is. You should always do your best to stop and choose your words carefully. Take a deep breath before you decide to speak, especially when you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed by your boss.


This doesn’t mean that you should hold everything in. You should vent your frustrations in order to get your feelings off your chest. However, and this is very important, you shouldn’t be venting your frustrations to your colleagues. Instead, open up to a trusted family member or friend who doesn’t work with you.


This will not only help you alleviate some of the pent-up stress you are feeling, but it can also help you get a different perspective on what is happening with your boss. Sometimes having an outside opinion on the situation can help you see things more clearly.


If you do feel the need to talk back to your boss, you should always focus on the behavior, or the thing that your boss is doing that is frustrating you or preventing you from getting your work done—instead of attacking their personality. Don’t tell your boss “you always…” instead you can tell them (calmly) that “you doing ____ is____.”

Do Your Best to Find Some Inner Peace

The best tool in your arsenal for dealing with a stressful boss, is to find some inner peace. The more balanced and at-peace you feel with yourself, the easier it will be to handle the stressors that come your way.

There are a few different things that you can do in order to find some of this inner peace. If you keep exercises like this as part of your daily routine, the easier and easier it will be to handle the stressors that come at you with your boss.

  • Meditate- Regular meditation can help you relax and find a sense of inner peace. Try meditating every morning or evening for at least 15 minutes.
  • Exercise- Exercise, whether it is weight lifting, sports, running or anything in between, is a great way to get stress off your chest. This is a great way to get rid of that pent-up energy with your boss off your chest.
  • Journal- Writing out our journaling about your frustrations is a great way to get things off your mind. When you are feeling overwhelmed with your boss, write it down and get it out, so that you don’t end up speaking these frustrations to your boss’ face.

Little things like this can go a long way in helping you learn how to deal with a difficult boss.

Peace of Mind

Consider Leaving, But Do It in the Right Way

It is always smart to do what you can in order to mediate your own stress and do your best to be the better person in this difficult dynamic with your boss. However, there are some times when you just need to walk away from the situation.


While work is important, it is not worth risking your mental or physical health, if your relationships with your boss is truly that bad.


If you do need to leave this situation with your boss, you may want to ask to get transferred to another team or department. Consider looking into other opportunities within your company if you work in a large organization. This is a great options if you don’t want to leave the company, you just want to leave the relationship with your boss.


If this is not an option, then you may need to just leave all together. It may be difficult, but it can be worth it in the end. It will not only help you personally, but it can help you professionally as well, as people who have good relationships with their boss, tend to do better in the workplace.


If you do decide to leave—never burn bridges. You never know when you might need your difficult boss as a reference. This can help you get a great new job if you move on. So be polite and respectful, even if you would really love to give this boss a piece of your mind when you leave.


While no one ever wants to deal with a difficult or stressful boss, the more prepared you are to handle this individual, the better off you will be.

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