15 Tips For Dealing With A Difficult Female Boss

In an ideal working environment, we all hope to work with bosses who will help us succeed and make us feel valued and those who are rounded and great people.

Unfortunately, that is only sometimes the case. Whether your boss is a micromanager, shows favoritism, or is a bully, quitting is never the answer.

In your career, there are high chances that you’ll work with a demanding female boss. No matter how complex the situation is, you are still expected to make the best out of the situation to get the job done.

To help you pull through, I’ve compiled a few tips to help you find common ground with your difficult female boss.

Take a look.

Also ReadSigns That Your Boss Wants You To Quit

Tips For Dealing With A Difficult Female Boss

1. Be Sure That You are Dealing with a Bad Boss

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Before you start working on your exit strategy, first establish whether you are dealing with a bad female boss. There could be different reasons for her behavior, or you could be too hard on her.

Take time to observe your boss for a few days and point out a few things you feel she does well versus what she does poorly. When your boss does something you consider wrong, try imagining the most forgiving reason as to why the situation happened.

Find out if, indeed, it’s her fault or if it is something out of her control. Is it a power struggle or just a lack of respect? Remember, your boss has a lot on her plate. They deal with demands from sources you may not know, or they could be having personal issues.

The relationship with your boss is significant within your workplace. A negative relationship with your boss can negatively affect all aspects of your work life, so before anything else, make sure that you are dealing with the right problem.

Explore: How To Apologize To Your Boss For A Mistake At Work?

2. Identify Her Motivation and Triggers

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Understanding what motivates your boss can give you insights into her management style. Maybe she doesn’t care how long your lunch break should take. Perhaps she’s only concerned about how your break looks to other employees and her superiors.

If your boss is under pressure and turns the pressure on you and your colleagues, the best way would be to voice how the pressure could affect your work life.

Understanding your manager’s motivations can help you see things differently from her perspective and create platforms for conflict discussions.

If you realize your boss has anger-management issues, consider finding out what triggers her meltdown and avoid it at all costs. If you are creative and recognize that your editor flips whenever you misspell names or have typos, triple-check your notes before submitting.

If your boss snaps whenever you arrive at work late, reconsider your commuter schedule to ensure you get to where you are needed ahead of time.

Explore: Destructive Criticism Examples & How To Handle It

3. Don’t Take it Personally or Let it Affect Your Work

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Dealing with a difficult female boss can be challenging, but don’t let it get into your head. Don’t take anything personally because it’s work. The situation can push you harder if it creates negative emotions, so guard your emotions to maintain positive energy and reduce stress.

Assess the situation based on your boss’s point of view and no matter how complex the situation is, remember the objective is to stay on good terms with your supervisor and keep your job. Don’t even score by taking excessive off days, more extended lunches, or working slower.

Trying to even out your boss’s behaviors will only put you behind in your workload. Additionally, taking things personally can be detrimental to your career, making you seem defensive, lacking confidence, and not taking pride in your work.

Also ReadThings That Will Get You Fired Immediately

4. Take Responsibility When Necessary

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The nature of your relationship with your supervisor can be due to your behaviors. While it may seem okay to blame your boss for her negative behaviors, it’s equally important to assess your role in the nature of the relationship you two have and take responsibility for any contribution.

If your behaviors amplify the negativity felt in your relationship, it is best to address those accordingly. If you do not take responsibility for your contribution, it may worsen the situation and prevent you from mending your relationship with your boss.

Taking responsibility for your behaviors is a sign of professionalism and essential to advancing your career. It can also help you strengthen your professional bond with your co-workers and supervisor and prove to your boss that you are a valuable employee.

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5. Choose Your Words Carefully

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While being open and honest is essential at your workplace, it’s wise to remain tactful and thoughtfully choose your words when interacting with a difficult female boss.

Being disrespectful or saying the wrong things at the wrong time may increase tension between you and your boss.

Choose your words carefully and if possible, document your interactions with your supervisor. Make sure you remain professional as you speak to your boss and stay results-oriented in your discussions.

Keeping conversations professional will ensure that you don’t focus on personal problems and only talk about work or topics that can help you achieve the end goal. Document your conversations to insulate yourself from blame in case the situation escalates.

Also ReadExit Interview Tips To Talk Out Bad Boss & Toxic Workplace

6. Set Boundaries

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Studies show that people who work under bad bosses are susceptible to serious health problems such as chronic depression, anxiety, increased risk of low immunity system, and stress.

So, when dealing with a problematic female boss, know your rights and what you can tolerate and cannot.

Be clear about your expectations from your boss and stick to your principles. Even if it means standing up to the boss when necessary, if your boss attacks you on a personal level or treats you with disrespect, let her know what you cannot tolerate.

Setting boundaries with your boss or colleagues is an excellent step to establishing a healthy work-life balance. If you are unlucky to work with a boss who does not respect your boundaries or doesn’t know when she is asking too much, then you might have to remind her of your limits.

If your manager is not friendly to you, don’t be rude. Instead, keep your distance and detach yourself from the relationship as much as possible.

Remind yourself that you may not have your boss forever and if you are lucky to have a chance to switch your team, do it when you feel things are getting out of hand.

Also Read: Thank You Messages For Your Boss

7. Don’t Gossip About Your Boss With Peers

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When dealing with a demanding female boss, you may be tempted to bad-mouth her with your peers. Even if you have that one colleague you trust and run to whenever you need advice, don’t mention your boss in your conversations.

Assume that anything you say will get to her. Remember, workplace gossip can be dangerous, so you don’t want to be the source of increased anxiety among your team. Rumors often spread without clarity of which information is correct and which is not, eroding trust and morale.

Nothing good ever comes from office gossip and office politics. Whether you aim to win against your lousy boss or any other underlying reason, gossiping corrupts professional credibility and creates unhealthy professional networking.

Even if your colleague noticed how mean your boss is to you and came to mention it to you, try to remain professional and avoid such discussions as much as possible, as it may get you noticed for the wrong reasons.

But since speaking to someone about your complicated relationship with your boss is part of taking care of yourself, we recommend talking to a friend you trust or a family member you respect for their opinion.

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8. Try to Understand Your Boss’s Communication Style

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Suppose you are facing difficulties in communicating with your boss. In that case, it is best to understand her communication style and the mode of communication she prefers the most to foster effective communication.

There are various communication styles, including verbal, non-verbal, visual, and written communication. No matter your chosen communication style, ensure that you actively listen, observe, and empathize to understand the message better and respond appropriately.

If your boss prefers email communication, consider sending her an email first before you could confront her one-on-one about your relationship or any work-related matter.

Once you understand how best to communicate with your boss, there are high chances that your relationship will improve.

Check Out: Best Resignation Email Subject Line Examples

9. Stay One Step Ahead of Your Boss

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If your boss is a micromanager, she’ll want to control everything. Sometimes she may feel like the environment, or the company is out of control, and all you need to do to mitigate this type of management is to show her that everything is under control.

Stay ahead of your boss by giving her updates before she asks for them. Send her regular emails updating them on what you plan to do in your next work block. Once you finish your project or assignment, let her know everything is completed.

Stay positive and transparent in your communications, trying to understand her perspective and allowing her to understand yours too. Dropping her a simple message like “I left a draft of the week’s schedule on your desk for review” can save you from her constant reminders.

Micromanagement can also signify fear, lack of trust, or insecurity. Know that you cannot correct all these overnight, but with clear and honest communication, such issues can be alleviated. Once you’ve communicated with your boss, set your boundaries, and forge forward.

Check Out: Good Reasons To Call Out Of Work

10. Stop Assuming That Your Boss Knows Everything

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Just because your boss has a managerial position doesn’t mean she has everything figured out. As you move up your career ladder, there are high chances that you will report to a person who has never done the same job before.

Before you panic, working under a boss who hasn’t been in your specific role doesn’t mean you cannot get things done.

But the problem may arise if your boss isn’t even interested in understanding what you do, valuing what you do, or needs to understand your contribution to the company’s mission.

Demoralizing as it may sound, your boss may not have bad intentions. She could be struggling because it’s her first time in such a position, and she needs you to help her understand her role better.

You can turn all these into a win-win situation by not letting her understand what you do on a micro-level but by letting her know that she can count on your support, expertise, and work. Feel free to ask for help, but do your homework before the meeting and be specific.

Take time to understand how your work contributes to the company goals and consider breaking things down into clear, actionable objectives that you can easily focus on.

If, at the end of the day, all your best efforts to make your boss understand your value to the company fail, you may consider changing your role.

In the beginning, we mentioned that quitting is never the best option when dealing with a toxic boss, but you wouldn’t wish to keep wasting your talent on people who don’t deserve you.

Modern-day companies are indeed full of clueless bosses, but this can be something other than your reality.

So, get back to the drawing board and start looking for your next gig. But this time, make sure that you do your best to evaluate and understand the company culture and your boss’s management style before you can accept the offer.

Also Read: Best Testimonial Examples For Employees

11. Seek Help From Your Colleagues or Customers in Passing on Their Praise

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If your boss is unwilling to listen to you, then your next step is to go through others for your boss to hear you out. Tap into your internal network and leverage the opinion of your workmates with a better understanding of what you do.

Whenever you get things done, and your colleagues compliment you, ask them to share their thoughts with your immediate boss. Do the same with happy customers or external audiences you happen to serve.

A simple request like “Hi, I loved working with you and your team. Could you pass a quick note to my boss to let her know how well we worked together?” can cause a turnaround to your relationship and restore productivity.

Collect all these accolades, including testimonials and kind words from your colleagues, and keep them handy. Don’t wait for your annual appraisal to share with your manager. Make it a monthly practice to tell your boss how your co-workers or customers value your work.

If you cannot get through these updates on your regular one-on-one meetings or you are unsuccessful in setting up one with her, a brief email on the same would still deliver the message.

Check Out: Best Teamwork Examples At The Workplace

12. Be Your Own Cheerleader

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It is not enough to know how crucial your work is to the company’s overall success. Let your boss know too. So, don’t be shy about your achievements. But make sure that you don’t sound boastful.

Instead, try to frame your achievements in terms of how they are essential to your boss’s and the organization’s overall goals. Self-promotion may not be your thing, or maybe you wish someone would notice your efforts without you “boasting” about it.

But the reality is, if you do a great job and no one knows, you might not be helping your career. If you have yet to meet with your boss weekly or monthly, it’s time you started. Start your conversations with the recently set revenue goals or departmental goals.

Don’t just say it. Put it down on paper clearly and concisely, then share the document with your boss through email.

List down the more prominent company goals followed by your team’s contributions, then narrow down to your individual contribution in helping the company realize those goals.

Avoid just listing down your daily duties. Frame it in a way that reflects your measurable achievements.

Mention how your daily tasks contributed to the bottom line, how you are helping in fostering teamwork, and guide your boss into seeing the value you bring in and not just how much you make her shine.

Also Read: Best Self Evaluation Examples For Performance Reviews

13. Act as a Leader

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When dealing with an incompetent female boss, it’s best to make some leadership decisions independently. If you understand your job so well, nothing should stop you from pursuing a direction you know will bring in better results for the company.

An incompetent boss can be frustrating and can seriously derail your career. If she seriously lacks knowledge, there is no way she will make you grow as an employee. Therefore, your responsibility is to initiate your growth by creating opportunities outside your job.

An incompetent boss lacks insight and understanding and could lead to bad decisions, wrong direction, and insufficient support. You need to think through how she functions and use whatever strength she has to avoid career-limiting outcomes.

Instead of whining and stressing about a challenging and incompetent boss, upskill yourself, figure out the problem spots and see if you could be involved in decision-making. Make every time you speak to your boss a time to teach her and train her about your area of competence.

You might feel a bit uncomfortable training your boss, but you’ll realize it’s worth it when they finally become savvy. Make sure that you get a proper grasp of things when teaching your boss, be respectful and show genuine kindness.

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14. Support Her Success By Working Around Her Weaknesses

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While it may not sound good to support a problematic female boss, there is equally nothing to gain by making her look bad or facilitating her failure. Exposing your boss’s incompetence might only escalate your own misery or even damage your reputation.

The best way to support her success is by helping her focus on her natural strengths and proactively working on her weaknesses. If you realize that your boss is disorganized, help her put things in order rather than whining about her lack of organizational skills.

If you realize your boss is often late for meetings, offer to start the meeting for her until she arrives. If she forgets things quickly, document your interactions to have a point of reference in case she contradicts herself in the future.

If your boss takes a long to respond, keep working as you wait for her response. The bottom line, make yourself indispensable, and someone, your boss, can always count on you. By helping her succeed, you lay a solid foundation for your tremendous success.

Also Read: Most Common Leadership Styles

15. Focus on Performance and Not Friendships

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Your boss doesn’t have to like you in a friendly way. As long as your work is respected, focus on delivering value rather than building friendships. Be yourself, find joy in your work, and let your energy lead you to better productive heights.

You’ll be surprised to learn that your demanding boss is more concerned about your performance than friendships. So, capitalize on the performance reviews she shares with you to identify areas you need to improve.

Have an open conversation with her to find better ways to work with her and help you rebuild trust and strengthen your workplace relationship. Maintain professionalism at all times, as befriending your boss could lead to further complications within your work environment.

Focusing on performance keeps everyone on track. So, focus on meeting deadlines, making more sales if you are in the sales department, and building positive customer interactions.

Remember, if you don’t perform well, your customers will feel that your company is not apathetic to their needs and seek help elsewhere.

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Final Thoughts

There you have it! Some excellent tips for dealing with a difficult female boss.

While dealing with a difficult boss can be overwhelming, it is not impossible. I hope these tips will improve your working situation, help you enjoy work more, and perform better.

Sometimes you may be tempted to quit or find another job, but understand that in most cases, it is possible to stay and learn how to navigate the situation.

So, don’t throw in the towel, as you are on your way to a less stressful work life and a better relationship with your boss.

About Author

Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.