A challenging boss is someone whose work ethics do not match yours. You find him insensitive, indecisive, unfair and cruel. You have a tendency to question his management style and you feel that your career growth is hindered under his tutelage. You dread coming to work because of him, and you often toy with the idea of resigning and moving to another company. Bad managers and supervisors are abundant in the workplace. There is no escaping them. At some point, you will have the misfortune of being handled by one. Your only recourse will be to know how to deal with the situation when it happens.
Face the Reality
The fact of the matter is that you need your boss to properly function as an employee. Regardless of your personal differences, you need to accept that your boss is responsible for honing and developing your career. He is the one in charge of assigning tasks for you. His level of influence also goes beyond your circle and can affect the perception of his managers. He can make or break you. Your career growth is highly dependent on the recommendation and review of this person. Going against him will only make things more difficult for you. Resenting him will only affect your performance. It is also a reality that you are stuck with him unless he commits a terrible offense. It will be virtually impossible for you to get rid of him without good reason. You can try to look for weaknesses but you need to understand that there is a reason why he got the position in the first place. He will most likely have a specific skill or connection that makes him indispensable for the position. As far as his manager is concerned, he does the job assigned to him. Directly confronting his manager with non-substantial complaints will only make you look bad.
The next step is to understand his work ethics and values. You need to know what his goals are and what he values the most. Find out what he looks for in his employees. Learn his work habits and understand how he conducts his data analysis. His decision-making skills are also something to look into. Knowing how your boss ticks will give you a better understanding of how he works and what he values the most. It will give you a clearer picture of why he functions the way he does.
Helping your boss achieve his goals will help you reach yours. Communicate with him constantly on the issues that are valuable to him. If he is the type of person who relies on heavy data, then you should prepare comprehensive reports and spread sheets. If he cares about timeliness and deadlines, then you should make it a habit to submit deliverables on time. Keep him posted on the progress of your tasks and do not wait for him to check on you. Be proactive and give him what he needs before he asks for it.
Be His Apprentice
Every manager desires to have someone to train and develop. They need a person they can trust to carry on their duties and responsibilities in case they are not available. They need someone to pass the torch to in the event that they are promoted to a higher position. Signify your interest to learn from him and let him know that you are willing to take on tasks that will give your career a boost. You may feel like you are selling your soul to the devil but you are simply opening your mind to bigger possibilities. Expand your horizon by accepting the possibility that other people may know how to do their jobs better than you. Do not hinder your professional growth by your limited knowledge and immature perception.