How to deal with difficult boss who bully you (aggressive boss)

Dealing with aggressive boss

Who don’t want a great boss? We all dream for a personality who can mentor and care, but the reality is.. no one is that lucky to have a great boss throughout the career. If you get one you are an exceptionally lucky or you have mastered the art.We spend most of our productive hours at workplace from morning to evening and work with various characters however, one important person can make or break our day is  The BOSS.

Normally you have your first interaction with your boss when you first meet at the interview. Although they appear like a very professional sweet charming personality, when you start working with them mask will fade away soon and your dream job will become a nightmare.

Let us accept the fact these types of toxic mangers are everywhere your role is not an exception. Bulling people are everywhere be it office or even in business and education environment.  This is not new to you, you have experienced it in school life, later in colleges you could escape but here in office its bit tricky situation.

I can tell you with great degree of confidence; technology space is full of such a demanding  bully bosses. Some of them are really brilliant geeks, it is just that they just don’t know how to behave and follow the  basic etiquette  when dealing with people. So quitting is not the best option as such characters are everywhere and there is no guarantee your new role will not have one

Many of us left high paying corporate roles or planning to leave a great company just because of this one great personality. HR surveys have proved beyond the doubt that employees leave the boss not the company. Today let’s dwell down a bit on how to deal with difficult boss and coworkers who sits on your neck. It is not always necessary bullying happens only from your superior boss, this can also happen from your co works and team mates who can take you for granted.

Hard realities to understand

  • Boss is boss, so no point in confronting him
  • Do not expect great help from HR team
  • As long as you are there you got to deal so better learn early
  • Escaping from your boss is a project itself
  • If you deal properly you still can hold on
  • When you quit they will win


  • Don’t let yourself get isolated.
  • Don’t shy away you are not the only one
  • Don’t get into power struggle, you will not win
  • Don’t worry that is not the end of your career

There are two approaches you can take depending on your situation while dealing with such difficult micromanager, though results are unlikely to change First one is take head on and face it: especially when you are young and raw you tend to take this route. Second one is more sober way to approach,complain to HR, and use all other options explained below. What best can happen in dealing with second way is, your exit may be bit smoot.

1. This is a marathon be prepared

Fighting a bad boss is a marathon, be patient and wait for the right time to launch your project. Yes you read it right it is a project itself, you need to really work hard to bring out the truth. You will have to wait for a while to know the patterns, have enough data point to establish facts before challenging them.

When you are dealing with your bad manager it is not going to be easy and quick unless you decided to quit.  When you know the person, anticipate the behavior and be prepared to manage situation.

2. Plan your Escape route

You are swimming against the flow, be mentally prepared to be out of the system soon. As the force against you is more powerful and eventually you may have to quit. Normally in tussle between boss and a subordinate, subordinate looses the job not the boss. Some HR people may not agree but that is the reality and you have to accept it. Have a plan B ready, keep your financial commitment to as low as possible. When you have bad boss even small EMI appears big and paying them is challenge without a proper revenue source.

3. Master your work and give best Performance.

It is difficult to perform to the peak when you have a mad boss around you; however that is the reality of the problem you have in your hand. Master your work beyond what is expected in your role and perform to the peak. Unless you are a master yourself no one is going to listen to your claim. Show your capability and gain respect from fellow colleagues. Solve problem of friends and colleges and be a helping hand. Many time people attitude towards you changes when they see value in you and what you are capable of.

Performing at your peak would help you in multiple ways as it will improve your candidature for next job as well as will change the attitude of the managers and team. Making yourself indispensable is a challenging task, however this is the most effective remedy

4.  Document your case and be consistent

Make a note of all the events as it unfolds, unfortunately we are living in such a world, everywhere you need supporting evidence. Documenting your smallest incident will help you to explain your situation and people believe a piece of paper not you. This will help you to send a signal that you are a professional and have all the stuff to back your claim. This also helps you to remember the exact incidence and cause where you felt what your felt and also help you to be consistent on your claim.  Consistency is key to succeed, you will have to be consistent across your claim and persistence will help you find a solution

5. Network with colleagues but prepare to fight alone

If you are feeling frustrated it is highly likely that some of your colleagues are also feeling the similar way Or they learned to live with it.  Sharing is important to reconfirm you are not the only one is getting suffocated here under toxic boss. This will also give you psychological comfort and strength that someone is also with you in this fight.  Confide with your colleague is good however, don’t depend on them too much. Please note this is your battle don’t expect them to speak up for you or themselves. There are different dynamics works within a team and it is highly likely they may go silent when you needed them most

6.  Face the reality and be confident

Face it, never ever allow you to get isolated and loose hope. Be confident of what you are doing and aware of the consequences. Expect the worst, take some help of your friends to went your emotions if required. As long as you are aware of what you are doing is right and prepared for the consequences go ahead and face it.

What is bullying, how they behave ?

  • They criticize you publicly
  • Demeaning and Terrorizing
  • Micromanaging only your work
  • Failing to nurture talents and leaders
  • Biased and not recognizing your effort
  • Makes irresponsible loose comments about your work
  • Consistently ignore your effort and achievements
  • Favoritism and promote incompetence
  • Lack of planning and blame your for delay

It is better you understand these nuances and be mentally prepared.The traditional way of handling mad boss is through formal approach, that is  going in a methodical way, this needs a more maturity and patients. Especially when you are in mid age and have couple of gray hairs on your head that is when people tend to take this route

1. Know your boss and look within

It is easy to judge any one and blame, it is very difficult to evaluate without bias. It is very important to know a person and their style of working and the behavior they exhibit in different situation. For all you know some of them may not have that bad attitude towards you, it may be your cooked up stories in your little mind voicing all kind of negative feelings  to cover up your shortcomings. It happens to many of us at times, we will be telling our own story and play a victim card without understanding the others point of view. So before getting into become aware of your maturity level and reconfirm the boss behavior with other co workers to ensure what you are feeling is also others feeling.

Have a look at these personal development online courses  they are highly effective

2. Speak to your boss

If you are not comfortable speak to your boss, if you are scared to speak take help of HR and ask them to be present when you are speaking. Go with facts and clear situation where you felt uncomfortable and ask him/her what you can do to come out of that feeling.

Some time they may not even noticed that you are uncomfortable; speaking to them will serve two purposes. First you are not submissive persona they need to be sensitive. Second one is it will give them a chance to explain you and correct in future. This is not a risk free, many boss can carry grudge on you, but that should not stop you from speaking as you are already on a bad shape

3.Speak to your mentors

Many established process has a practice of assigning a mentors to team members who may not be directly connected to your day today work. They are the great source for building your network and understanding system dynamics. You will also be comfortable to share your feeling and get the guidance from right prospective.

This will help you in many ways as mentors are the one who can influence your behavior as well as guide you in distress. By sharing your situation you may be able to get insights on how to get out of these as they would have handled similar situation.

4. Be professional

One of the most important aspects of handing a tough boss is you should not be at fault, no matter what is the situation follows the established procedure even you know that is not effective, don’t be impatient and try to argue with your supervisor. Remember he is the boss for a reason so system respects him more than you.

5. Speak to HR don’t expect much help from them.

Speaking to HR is the established procedure when you are not comfortable working with some of the people around you, may not be your immediate boss even colleague bully you or try to harass HR should be the first one to come to your rescue.

This is the most effective way for all other things but may not be very effective when supervisor is your opponent. In reality HR has a very little control over operations management and sourcing a manger is more expensive than replacing you, so expect some politically right answers.

Many suggest speaking to HR is good, I too agree that is the right way however in technology environment HR will not have power to act on your boss unless they have a history against your boss. In case of sexual harassment or any other serious breach of confidence HR will act however, in case of normal operational behavior daily torture, humiliation HR can be very little help to you.

Nothing against HR team there are many exceptions however, In reality HR will be as sweet as they could be and show you smooth exit route then helping you address behavioral issue of your boss. So going to HR against your boss is, in a way you are preparing your Exit route in a smooth way.


Having a bad boss is your bad luck and you have to face the reality. It is important to understand the situation and person’s behavior to take appropriate action. You need to consider this as a part of the project and try to manage. There is no easy escape unless you are prepared to quit. Many at times, communication gap creates huge misunderstanding between manager and the subordinates. Start with filling those gaps, you will have to establish right channels to address this and have a methodical way of dealing. Depending on the stage of your employment (maturity level) you can choose to handle situation. There is no perfect boss in any environment so do not expect them to be perfect, keep your expectation low. With this article hope you will be able to face your bad boss effectively and find solutions. Please do comment your prospective we love to hear your views.

Also read on

Top 7 Soft Skills to grow fast in IT Profession

 Making First impression in First few days of your Job!

10 ways to improve your job search and getting selected

There is good article on this subject in Harvard business school, some insights may help you.

Fore more career articles and great courses for a nominal price visit our course marketplace 

Good Luck


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