A nitpicky and judgemental boss – that is a difficult place you find yourself in.
If you can believe the ads and promos of organizations, all bosses are perfect. They’ll make you feel valued, help you succeed, and are the best friend and colleagues you’ll ever find anywhere.
However, the reality is far from this utopian fantasy. Bosses are far from perfect. Again, this is more believable than the perfect picture painted for you. After all, they are human beings with all the pluses and minuses just like any of us.
While some bosses are micromanagers, others may have anger management issues. Bosses can be the worst bullies. They can be incompetent or show favoritism to make matters worse. As they are the boss, you are left with no option but to reconcile to the situation, make the best of it, and do your job.
Some say dealing with a judgmental boss is a work of art. If you say or do the right thing, life at the workplace would be easier for you. This article tries to make sense of this difficult situation and comes up with some suggestions for you to deal with a boss who always finds fault with you.
How to deal with a boss who always finds fault?
You have a negative boss:
- When your boss expects too much
- When your boss complains about everything you do
- When your boss makes you feel incompetent
- When you have a boss who always finds something wrong
But before you go ahead and follow these tips to deal with a boss who always finds fault, just make sure that you indeed have a negative boss.
1. Make sure your boss is actually a bad one
Now, the question is how to confirm this. When you want to verify the character of any person, you need to check how they behave in day-to-day situations. You can do the same thing in this case.
Another point to check is your own attitude. Do you have anything against your boss that makes you see only their faults? Are you being overly critical and hard on your boss?
Check both your behavior as well as that of your boss for a week or two. Try to be as impartial as you can be. Observe the reactions to everyday situations. If you think your boss is being too hard on you, try to find lenient and plausible reasons for the same.
Did you do something wrong enough to justify your boss’s reaction? Was your boss being vindictive? Was it a deliberate act to belittle you? Or was this a result of some misapprehension? Could this have been something beyond the control of your boss?
There can be so many reasons why a person behaves in a certain way with you.
2. Figure out the reason why your boss is critical of you
This may not be as easy as you imagine it would be. Understanding the behavior of a person needs patience and insight. You should be able to differentiate between what is relevant and irrelevant.
Your boss may say something when the thought process behind it is something else. For instance, when your boss is irritated at you for being late to work, they may be more concerned about how this will affect the deadline or how others might perceive it. It may not have been personal like you may have felt.
Being higher up in the corporate hierarchy, your boss needs to think of how each act of their team members will affect others within the team. They also need to manage the reactions of their superiors. When your boss yells at you for being late to work, it must be a combination of all these elements and nothing to do with you on a personal level.
3. Carry on your job to the best of your abilities
Don’t allow your boss’s attitude to affect your work. Your boss may be the person you report to but there are other superiors in the organization. If you want to continue the job, you need to be on good terms with the management. They need to consider you as a valuable asset.
In your bid to score one over your boss, if you’re planning to take longer tea/lunch breaks, slow down your work, or take emergency leave from work, abandon the idea. With these steps, maybe you can create trouble for your boss but that will be too inconsequential when compared to the harm you’re doing to your own career.
You will find yourself lagging in your work. If you rush through the work, it may not be good enough to pass muster. With this approach, you’re giving your boss the perfect ammo to kick you out.
4. Anticipate your boss’s next move
By staying a step ahead of your boss, you can score easy victories over your boss. For instance, if your boss has the habit of advancing the deadline for a project you’re working on or asking you for progress reports too often, anticipate these moves and get them done before it’s due.
This is a great tactic to deal with a micromanager boss who always finds fault. If you’re well ahead of your schedule, you can win this battle with your boss. When your boss asks for the report, you can always say, ”Oh! I left it on your table this morning”.
Slowly, your boss will realize that there is no need to monitor your work all the time. They will shift their focus to someone else and leave you to do your job.
5. Create boundaries
If your boss indeed has a character flaw, it may include disregarding the boundaries of their team members. Working with such a person is no easy task. If there are no boundaries in your relationship with your boss, you can set them.
Some people are disliked for the way they behave with others. Attempting to change others is a waste of time. Don’t even bother going down that path. Instead, you can try to put some distance between you and your boss who always finds fault so that you won’t be affected much by their bad behavior.
Be careful about what you tolerate.
6. Don’t put your boss on a pedestal
Your boss is indeed the one who decides your fate at work. But that doesn’t mean you need to listen to or obey everything they say without a murmur of protest. And, also you need to stop believing that they know the answers to everything.
Just because your boss has been with the organization longer than you or is in a position of authority doesn’t mean they know more about the job. They don’t necessarily have all the answers all the time. Your boss’s job title doesn’t come with the epithet or tagline “all-knowing”.
7. Take the lead
As the saying goes, the offense is the best defense. Instead of allowing your boss to deride and find fault with you, take the battle to the gate of the enemy. Take over the reins and lead the pack.
When you start assuming the role of a leader in the team, you will earn the respect and support of your team members. Even your boss’s superiors will take note of your contribution. When everyone else is appreciating you, even your boss who always finds fault will be forced to do the same.
You’ll be considered the informal leader of the team. Other team members will look up to you more. None of this will go unnoticed by the management. But ensure that you’re not overdoing this and antagonizing your boss who always finds fault. If you do this, you will end up in a worse situation than before.
Final thought on boss who always finds fault
You may try paraphrasing your boss’s instructions to make them clearer and ensure you understood them right. In case your boss suffers from anger management issues, identify and avoid the triggers. Use your judgment to find innovative ways to deal with a boss who always finds fault.
If nothing else works, don’t hesitate to leave the job as this kind of behavior can affect your mental health. But before you give in your papers, find yourself a better one. Take care to avoid a negative boss by doing your research.