It’s difficult to come up with universal strategies for dealing with difficult bosses because, well, they come in so many bizarre types. There are, however, some best practices for preventative measures. They don’t work all the time, but they work often enough to make things a little more bearable if you’re burdened with a Boss from Hell. Here are three:

1. Make him look good

Pretty much all bosses, including Bosses from Hell, respond well when you do and say things that make them look good. Let them take the credit for the good things you do. Even better – give them the credit for your successes. Don’t worry about people not recognizing who’s really doing the work. They know.

2. Make him feel important

Want to have some fun with your boss? Praise him. Make an offhand comment about how much you’ve learned from him, or how good he is at something. Then sit back and watch how his attitude toward you changes!

3. Don’t talk about problems without already having a solution

Bosses these days are under a lot of stress relative to a decade ago. And every time someone comes up and says, “Boss, we have a problem,” the stress just increases. As the stress increases, of course, so does the Boss from Hell behavior. Next time there is a ‘problem,’ make sure you tell your boss about it, along with a possible solution. Ie: “Boss, we have a problem. I was thinking maybe we should do … to fix it.” Assuming your idea is a good one, your boss will appreciate the effort.

By the way – don’t feel that you have to wait for a bad boss to come around to try these techniques out. Good bosses will appreciate them as well.

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