TAO Self-help

Title:What To Do When You Hate Your Boss: 5 Simple Steps

Author:Hannah Morgan

Date:December 2023

Source:Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission

It's an unfortunate reality that the words, "I hate my boss" get said by people across pretty much all careers and industries.

But if you're one of these people, this doesn't need to be a situation you're stuck with. This guide will help you understand what you can do about the situation.

Common Reasons to Hate Your Boss

You're not alone if you feel a growing sense of disdain for your boss. Many people have strong feelings about their bosses, managers, and supervisors. Unfortunately, the inability to see eye to eye with leaders is a common reason many employees leave for greener pastures, and that's true for any industry.

Before you jump to decisions, it's important to understand why you hate your boss in the first place. There are a million possible reasons for this, but here are several of the most common ones.

A Clear Lack of Effort

Nothing is worse than having a boss who barely puts in any effort on a daily basis.

It's understood that bosses delegate tasks and rely on others to complete objectives while working toward a common goal. However, great bosses realize that they'll need to roll up their sleeves and do work themselves once in a while.

The reason why so many people believe that bosses don't do anything but delegate is an unfortunate byproduct of too many leaders failing to show enough effort in their jobs. In reality, good bosses are some of the busiest people in the building!

If your boss doesn't seem to be around when you need him/her or isn't available when deadlines need to be met, their leadership may fall onto you or another person on your team. When that happens, that individual does extra work without the title or pay raise!

It's a frustrating experience, and you're likely not the only one feeling it. Bosses who aren't present and don't contribute put the pressure of success on everyone else's shoulders.


Micromanaging is another common issue that drives people crazy, and rightfully so. It doesn't matter whether you're a high-level executive or navigating your first entry-level job. Having someone constantly looking over your shoulder and micromanaging your every move can drive anyone nuts.

"Micromanaging" refers to controlling every little detail about how you do your work. A great boss will delegate tasks and allow their team to get work done. They may check on individual employees occasionally, offer feedback, and guide them in the right direction.

Unfortunately, micromanaging bosses feel the need to control every aspect of their employees' work. Your boss might get too involved with the details, forcing you to do every step their way.

People hate micromanaging because it shows a clear lack of trust. It's also oppressive, making it impossible to maximize your productivity on your terms.

Blaming Others

This behavior can make bosses fall out of favor with an entire team or office. Blaming others for mistakes or a lack of success shows a clear lack of confidence. Furthermore, it's often downright wrong.

It's seldom the right move for a boss to blame everyone but themselves. In most cases, everyone should share the blame when things go wrong. Companies don't rely on a single person for success. It's a collective effort and a collective failure.

However, some bosses blame others as a knee-jerk reaction. They don't want to take the heat, so they shift the blame onto subordinates. Sometimes, that blame comes with unjust repercussions.

A good boss will realize that their team's failure might be a product of his/her own mistakes and shortcomings. They'll recognize the collective effort of teamwork and accept the heat of failure alongside their team. If your boss blames others, it's a huge red flag.

Taking Credit

It's not just shifting blame to others that causes people to hate their boss. Even worse? When they don't put in the effort, roll up their sleeves and get involved with the work.

Taking credit for work or success not earned is a cause for animosity. No one likes it when a boss takes credit for their hard work. Bosses can contribute in some way or guide the final product. But a good boss will recognize that others are responsible for making achievements possible.

Great bosses will use those achievements to motivate, leading to better productivity and a great work environment.

However, bosses who claim to take all the credit make their teams feel undervalued. It's like having someone steal your hard work, and that's never easy to take lightly.

Not Being Understanding

Finally, many people hate their bosses when they lack empathy and perspective. This behavior can translate itself in many ways.

For example, your boss might have a "do it my way or else" mentality. There's a bit of micromanaging thrown in there, but a big part of the issue is that bosses can fail to see why employees choose to do things differently. When you complete most of the work, having a boss force you to do things differently can be frustrating.

Another way bosses show a lack of empathy is by failing to put themselves in the shoes of their employees when things go wrong. For example, you might need to take time off after working on a stressful project to recoup and get your mind in the right place. While that's not always possible, great bosses are understanding and will often try to accommodate you somehow.

Meanwhile, hated bosses might brush off those concerns because they can't empathize. Therefore, they don't offer the emotional support or useful assistance their teams need.

What to Do If You Hate Your Boss

So, what do you do if you hate your boss?

Working under a boss who exhibits any of the abovementioned behaviors can make coming to work every day feel like a nightmare. But before these situations turn into unnecessary drama, here are a few things you should do.

Try to Be Empathetic

You should show empathy on your part, even if your boss doesn't. It's easy to think bosses have it easy, but that's not always the case.

It's important to remember that your boss is just like you: A human being trying their best to deliver results and be successful. Your boss has others to answer to, as well. Whether that's higher-level executives, board members or shareholders, bosses aren't immune to stress and the pressure of success.

Just because your boss exhibits some less-than-ideal characteristics that affect you and your job doesn't mean they're inherently bad people. In most cases, they're good people with weaknesses. You can say the same thing about yourself and everyone you work with.

No one is perfect, your boss included.

Many studies show empathy is an important element in business and can transform the boss-employee connection. Every situation is different, but showing empathy on your end can strengthen your professional relationship and lead to improvements from your boss. It all comes down to emotional intelligence.

Showing empathy for your boss can result in them doing the same for you, leading to substantial changes.

Before you lose your cool, put yourself in your leader's shoes. Think about why they behave like they are, and imagine yourself dealing with the same thing. When you do that, you can gain more insight into their position, making it easier to understand their viewpoint.

Be Honest with Yourself

Here's something that's not always easy to do. Sometimes, you need to look inward and be honest with yourself if you hate your boss.

In many cases when we struggle to see eye to eye with our bosses, we aren't completely blameless in the equation. That doesn't excuse bad behavior, and this isn't always the case. Sometimes, you just have bad bosses. But you must consider your role in the relationship and how it might exacerbate the strain between you and your boss.

No one likes to admit when they're wrong or that they have things to work on. Be objective and reflect on what you bring to the table.

Is the criticism your boss provides legitimate? Maybe your boss feels the need to micromanage you because you've missed the ball several times before. Or perhaps they've revamped your work so much that it's barely recognizable, making them not recognize your contributions. Do you exhibit behaviors that drive your boss nuts, too?

Reflect on your performance and behavior. When you look at things objectively, you might find that your boss isn't the monster you think they are. Again, practice empathy and own up to your own faults if they exist.

It's also important to consider your overall view of authority figures. It's not uncommon for people to hate bosses that everyone seems to love. In those cases, the issue might not be with the boss but with concepts of authority.

Your boss can remind you of an awful manager you had at a previous job or a teacher who bullied you throughout grade school. Even if you don't realize it now, that connection can make you view your boss through a clouded lens.

Issues with authority or transference are more common than most realize. The key is recognizing those issues. Once you understand that your boss isn't 100 percent to blame for the hate, you can take steps to fix things.

Explore What Can Be Done to Help You See Eye to Eye

Hating your boss can obviously make going to work difficult, but it doesn't have to stay that way. Whether you recognize you're partly to blame or not, you should give the situation a chance to change. That can feel impossible now, but no one benefits from a lack of communication and second chances.

Consider having a frank and professional conversation with your boss. You'd be surprised by how far this type of honesty can go.

Tell your boss you don't feel like your relationship is great and want to remedy the situation. This is a challenging conversation, but many bosses will appreciate the honesty and the openness to work things out.

You can discuss the issue at hand and explore possible solutions together. It can take time to fix things, but working on the problem instead of ignoring it benefits everyone.

Consider Talking with HR

Generally, having that difficult conversation is the first step on the road to a much better working relationship with your boss. But sometimes, it doesn't resolve things at all. Unfortunately, some bosses are too stubborn and proud to change.

If so, you can consider raising the issue with human resources (HR).

However, this should be one of the last resorts. There are many potential downsides to going to HR. There's a real possibility that HR will side with your boss, making the situation worse. That's a common scenario.

It's hard to hear this but the role of HR is to support the legal interests of the company. They are not there to advocate for the employees.

If you want to make a case with HR, back things up with evidence. Document interactions and encourage others with similar issues to speak up. Without that documented evidence, there's a good chance that nothing will come from going to HR.

Think long and hard before doing this, and try other options to remedy the situation. Treat it as a last-ditch effort to handle the issue.

Decide if You're Prepared to Leave

If all else fails, you can consider quitting. For many employees, this option is the only solution left after failing to fix things with open communication and even going to HR.

Before you leave your job, ensure you're ready. It's best to have something lined up before you put in your notice to vacate the position. Don't let the hatred for your boss make you quit on the spot or display any sense of unprofessionalism which would reflect poorly on you.

Keep your head down, search for another job and have things lined up before you leave. Exit on your terms and turn to greener pastures.

While it's unfortunate that bad bosses can ruin an otherwise great job, seeking employment elsewhere may be the best solution to ensure you can have the career you deserve.


If you hate your boss, there are things you can do to improve your situation. It might be viewing the situation differently, approaching your boss directly, or even searching for a new opportunity.

Once you're able to have a more positive relationship with your boss or manager, your work experience will improve significantly and it will be easier to take the next step in your career.

Hannah Morgan is one of this year's LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careersand a nationally recognized author and speaker on job search strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to combine her career expertise with her love of writing, speaking and social media. Her mission is to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today's job search process. Hannah is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, Aol Jobs, LifeHacker, The Muse, Business Insider, SmartBrief, Payscale as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.

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