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HELP! SITUATION: “How do I handle/ survive a “Difficult” (or “Abusive”) boss?" 1

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Courtney Elizabeth Anderson

Courtney Elizabeth Anderson

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In our HELP! SITUATION SPOTLIGHT™ series, we shine the light on challenges that community members have shared with me. This episode is, “How do I handle/ survive/ tolerate a “Difficult” (or “Abusive”) boss?” (Part 1 of 2)

When advising management and HR professionals it is seemingly simple to handle a “difficult” person - document, discipline and terminate the relationship (if they do not change their behavior). The options and solutions are drastically different when the “difficult” (or even abusive, dangerous, unstable or mentally ill) individual is a boss. In previous shows we have addressed how to handle insults and intimidation at work in HELP! SITUATION: “How do I respond to insults and intimidation at work?" (a 3 part show). We have also addressed how managers handle “difficult” people in the show MANAGEMENT MAGICIANS: “Dealing with “Difficult” People?…Easy! Here’s How..”

What options does an individual have when the person who is insulting, intimidating, “difficult,” etc., is their supervisor? First, ask yourself, “What do you want?” Secondly, ask yourself, “Why do you want this? (because it is your lifelong dream or is it that you are trying to make your father proud of you, etc.).  Using the responses you provide to these foundational principles, we will explore different pragmatic solutions for you to deploy. The key is to think strategically and longterm and not to react to short-term situations.

Depending on your situation, you may be guided by the proverb, ‘Revenge is a dish best served cold.’ Or, you may believe that, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” (Lao Tzu). No matter what your personal perspective, “Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.” (Lao Tzu) Let’s discuss!

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