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The Boss from Hell...How to Deal with a Difficult Boss

published December 17, 2008

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left
Published By
( 17 votes, average: 4.8 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.
If you work closely with your boss or supervisor, then much of the atmosphere and mood of your workplace depends on your relationship with your boss. If the atmosphere is negative and tense then it makes for a LONG workday! Read on for some tips on how you can deal with your difficult boss to make your legal staffing job a little easier and hopefully more enjoyable!

Communication is Key

Perhaps the problem isn't exactly with your boss. Maybe it's a problem communicating with your boss. Start by repeating any instructions that your boss gives you, or emailing to ensure that you are on the same page. This not only helps to ensure that you understand the instructions you are given, but also documents the instructions and the conversation (in the unfortunate case that you need to provide it).

Another good thing to do is to ask for regular progress reports. This will allow you to cultivate a boss/employee relationship while giving you opportunities to sit down with your boss and bring him or her up to date on your work. You may think that you've been doing everything that you're supposed to, but your boss may think otherwise. This is a good opportunity to get on the same page.

You could also try talking to your boss and explaining what you need in terms of feedback, support, and direction. This is not the time, however, to lash out and declare what a poor boss you think he or she is. This would be counterproductive with respect to what you are trying to accomplish. It may sound lame, but some bad bosses don't realize that their management skills are poor. So be tactful but strong.

Let's Work Together…

Ask your boss how you can help him or her reach certain goals, and go the extra mile to help with certain duties (of course, only after your own work is done). It maybe that your boss has a lot on his/her shoulders and the stress that they are under is causing them to be hard to work with.

Or you might also suggest that you work together on a project. Doing so may open up opportunities for your boss to see how hard you work and that you are working with, rather than against, him/her.

Go Over Your Boss's Head

Depending on the situation, if you feel that you have tried every option to deal with the situation directly, it may be time to go to your boss's supervisor or someone in human resources, especially if you feel that your boss is treating you unlawfully.

In this situation, it is imperative that you remain calm and try to keep your emotions in check. Describe exactly what your boss does and the impact his or her behavior is having on you and your job performance. Be prepared to give documentation of the dates, times, and circumstances. If your situation is serious enough, perhaps you could have someone who witnesses how the boss treats you go with you to talk to HR. This covers your side. Also, realize that once you make your case to the HR department, they will most likely talk to your boss about your concerns, so be prepared for the outcome.

If your boss is reprimanded, you may not even know about it due to confidentiality, so be patient if you do not hear about an immediate result from taking this step.

Time for a Change…

If none of the advice above helps to resolve your situation with your boss, and you absolutely cannot tolerate working with him/her any longer, you may want to consider asking to work under a different boss or supervisor. This shows that you enjoy working for your employer, just not your supervisor.

If this is not an option, it may be time to consider looking for a new job. But before you give your notice, keep in mind that getting a job is not easy – especially in today's economy. If you love everything about your job but your boss, then perhaps grinning and bearing it is worth it.

Alternative Summary

Harrison is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and several companies in the legal employment space that collectively gets thousands of attorneys jobs each year. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. Harrison is widely considered the most successful recruiter in the United States and personally places multiple attorneys most weeks. His articles on legal search and placement are read by attorneys, law students and others millions of times per year.

More about Harrison

About LawCrossing

LawCrossing has received tens of thousands of attorneys jobs and has been the leading legal job board in the United States for almost two decades. LawCrossing helps attorneys dramatically improve their careers by locating every legal job opening in the market. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing consolidates every job in the legal market and posts jobs regardless of whether or not an employer is paying. LawCrossing takes your legal career seriously and understands the legal profession. For more information, please visit

published December 17, 2008

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left
( 17 votes, average: 4.8 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.