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In your professional life, there’s nothing worse than having a difficult manager. The attitude of who you work for can make or break your enjoyment of your job. All too often, difficult managers lead to great employees leaving companies and finding better opportunities somewhere else. If you have a difficult manager, you can certainly try to find a job elsewhere. However, if you otherwise like what you do and where you work, here are some tips for successfully dealing with a challenging manager.

Learn if there’s a reason

Before writing your supervisor off as a bad boss, consider whether or not there’s a reason for their current attitude. Have they always been difficult? Was there a recent change in their life? There could be a specific reason your boss is being difficult and it could have nothing to do with you. Before reacting to their attitude, make sure you’re correct in identifying their behavior as difficult.

Examine your own behavior

Is there something you could do to improve your interactions with your manager? Are you giving off an attitude that says you’re difficult to work with? Make sure you’re not the person causing a problem and fix anything on your end that you believe you could improve to help the situation.

Keep working hard

Regardless of your relationship with your manager, do not let it affect the quality of your work. Keep working hard and doing great work; it makes it that much harder for your manager to find something tangible to criticize you about. Throw yourself into doing the best work possible while trying to resolve the issue with your manager.

Set your boundaries

When dealing with a difficult manager, you may have to begin setting boundaries. Be clear about your schedule and what you’re doing. Avoid unnecessary meetings if you can. Avoid all conflict. It’s also important to learn to say “no,” especially if you feel that your boss is dumping too much on you and not giving you space to actually do your job.

Consider communication

If your situation seems like it could improve with a conversation, it wouldn’t a bad idea to talk to your manager about how you feel. Avoid placing blame on them and making it seem like they have a problem; talk about feeling overwhelmed and like you need more autonomy at work. Find ways to broach the subject with your manager without putting them on the defensive.

Plan ahead

Finally, if the situation simply does not improve and you don’t see a way out in the near future, begin planning for what you’ll do. You could switch to another position or department within your company or simply go somewhere completely new to work. Even taking small steps, such as preparing your resume, can help relieve your stress at work and make it easier to decide on what to do.