Making The Most Of A Difficult Boss3 min read

Have you ever had one of those bosses? It seems like they were sent by heaven to either unleash the beast in you or make your confidence walk out the door. You can’t seem to get anything right with them and they make a habit of letting you know that also.

 I had one of those bosses at a point in my career. I joined the team when I was coming from a high. I was a top performer and so it didn’t seem like it was going to be a huge gulf to go over.

But man was I in for it. My new boss just seemed to have changing standards every day. It seemed like you need to check out the weather reports to get a sense of how the day was going to go. If you get “partly cloudy with sunshine”, then it’s going to be a lovely day. But if you get “rainy with shouts of thunderstorms”, then prepare yourself for the bust because it’s coming.

At a point, I started keeping a note of any complaint about my work that I got from my boss – just to be sure I didn’t repeat it again. I was determined that I would win over this boss.

So how did I get through this season of life? First, I took an assessment of my boss and despite everything; my boss was one of the best in the industry I had just moved into. So I knew I had to dig in and learn no matter what the odds.

Second, I had to address the issue of my confidence that constant complaints was eating at. To do this, I went back to God. Every day I repeat this scripture to myself – For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Really, I said this scripture to myself during that time more times than I had ever said it to myself all my life (I really needed it).

It was very important to get my confidence back because it helped me to stay, learn and occasionally fight when it was needed. I remember this time when my boss during one of those moments went ballistic and said that I was going to be taken off the biggest project I was running. I really can’t remember what caused that decision; I guess it must have been one of those thunderstorm days.

Guess what I did? I stepped out the office came back in about 15 minutes later and walked back into my boss’s office to say I was not dropping the project. In full confidence I said “I am taking back the project and I would deliver it successfully”. No flinching when I said that.

By the way, I still got the occasional poachers’ calls trying to see if I would be willing to join their company. I knew they promised a bigger salary and possibly less headaches (the grass is always greener on the other side right?). But I stayed because of my third step. I knew that God wanted me to still grow in that company.

Eventually I won over my difficult boss. One of my appraisals under the boss turned out to be one of my best. In addition, I also learnt a lot from the boss. Not too long after we went different ways, I sent a thank-you text across to appreciate the things I learnt under the boss.

My difficult boss became a new experience for me to further deepen my walk with God aside from the learning at work. I learnt to view my difficult boss as a God-sent teacher. It may sound crazy but it worked for me. Perhaps, you can find something in my story to make your own experience work for you.

By the way, did I tell you that I delivered the project I took back from my boss? I delivered it at a good profit for the company also.

Difficult bosses can be good teachers also.

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Tola Akinsulire

A married guy with a precocious son who works his (I mean me, not my son - I bet you know, right?) day job as a financial guy trying to make real estate projects have some sense to the investor. I like to talk about what I learn along the way as I live my faith in life (family, work, friendships, fellowship, community and anything else you can put here).