7 Ways to Deal With Workplace Stress and Your Difficult Boss

by on January 18th, 2011
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At some point in our careers or jobs, we have felt “burned out.” It doesn’t matter whether or not you have a good paying position, one way or another, directly or indirectly, workplace stress, if not dealt with the right away, could get to you.

My first job in my late teens was at a burger joint, I was making a mere $4.25/hr. Life was good. No responsibility. I just have myself to take care of. But it wasn’t enough for me to settle. The kind of stress that got me was very simple, considering my age and lifestyle. I was assigned to work in the front, taking orders. On slower days, I had to do both the front and drive-thru registers by myself. The manager would send someone home to save some corporate money. Back then I worked and studied full-time. It was a good stress, I would say. It gave me the motivation to pursue life and my future.

So I got my diploma and began my career, and second career later, something would always remain the same; no matter how much you change your jobs and careers in your lifetime, stress will always be constant.

Unfortunately, workplace stress is something that is often linked with poor management and/or having a difficult boss. Well, according to American Psychological Association, this can only be partly true, and I completely agree. It does not matter if you feel overworked, underpaid and never appreciated, if you don’t do something about it, then you are in full acceptance. This is when the feeling of being “burned out,” if not resentment, comes in.

Personally, there were a couple of times in my earlier careers, where I felt “overworked, underpaid and never appreciated,” but that was then. I dont’ sweat the small stuff these days. No, it is not that I no longer feel immune to workplace stress, remember, it is constant, right? I just don’t let it get to me.

Now, if you are feeling overworked, underpaid and never appreciated yourself, either on a daily basis or occasionally, you may find your boss as an easy target and a scapegoat for every work-related stress that is happening around you. As mentioned above, this is just partly true. In light of this topic, here are seven questions to ask yourself that may help you understand how to handle your workplace stress better, or better yet, handle your ill feelings about your difficult boss:

1. Assess the situation and understand your emotions. In stressful workplace situations, you don’t have to react negatively and feel like a victim everytime. Your boss may be acting difficult right this minute, but, look at the bigger picture and see where it’s coming from. How you respond to that stressful situation could make or break you. If you feel like reacting, keep your cool and just try to walk away. Being proactive is the better approach.

2. Communicate with your boss in a manner where it can end up as “win-win” situation for both parties, and not just one. A workplace relationship can be compared to that of a marriage, For it to work, both parties need to learn how to communicate effectively to the other person. Try to find out the root of the problem so that you can deal with it appropriately. Remember to attack the problems, not the person.

3. Remember to separate your personal from your work issues (always). If you just heard a comment from your boss that you did not quite get, and makes you want to take it as a personal attack…stop! It has been said and done, no need to make it worse at this point. You cannot change what your boss had said, but, you can certainly control your emotions and respond more “professionally.” Notice I said, professionally, since it should not be taken personally. If you have work ethics and you would like to stay in this job, you would be the better person. Do not let it go out of hand, remember No. 1 and No. 2 above, you assess the situation and take it proactively.

4. Even if you feel stressed out, with your back against the wall, find reasons to stay. Don’t make excuses of why you have to stay eventhough you feel miserable at the present time, instead, find reasons to stay at your workplace right now and link it to your future. Professional advancement is a great reason to stay. Focus with the positives more and less with the stress. Stress is constant and everywhere, the only person that can change it is you.

5. Change your outlook and take a remark from your difficult boss in a constructive manner. Instead of taking a remark from your boss negatively, try to look at it with your rosy colored glasses and make something positive out of it.

6. Empower yourself as an employee. Empowering yourself as an employee does not mean you have to go against your employer’s workplace policy and become a rebel about everything. It simply means changing the way you see yourself, look at the bigger picture. Replaced negative things with positive ones. Don’t allow your mind to see yourself as a victim, instead, see yourself as a workplace asset.

7. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Each individual has a different way in dealing with stress. What you view as a stressful situation may not be the case with another individual. The key is to understand yourself better. Practice grace under pressure. The more you practice control, the less stressed out you become.

Share your thoughts and ideas on how to deal with workplace stress and difficult boss effectively.

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