How to work effectively with a difficult boss


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    Key Books

    How to Manage Your Boss: Developing the Perfect Working Relationship

    Managing Upward: Strategies for Succeeding With Your Boss

    Coping with Toxic Managers, Subordinates ...And Other Difficult People: Using Emotional Intelligence to Survive and Prosper


    Key books on solving problems with and protecting yourself from bad bosses, managers or supervisors, organized by theme areas.

    Please note: Any books you purchase after following one of the links from our site helps support us through a small commission paid by, and we encourage review comments to help others decide which books are most appropriate.

    Popular Books

    Your Rights at the Work Place: The Things Your Boss Won't Tell You

    Reviewer/Reader Feedback: "The book, "Your Rights at the Workplace - The Things Your Boss Won't Tell You", shows how to identify on-the-job discrimination or harassment and offers legal suggestions for dealing with it. Author and practicing civil rights attorney Leo James Terrell examines workplace situations that include on African American engineer whose complaints of verbal harassment by coworkers and supervisors are ignored by management; and a highly qualified registered nurse who's passed over for a promotion in favor of a colleague involved with the boss. Through case studies like these, Terrell illustrates the "snares, traps and pitfalls your employers can use to oppress and otherwise shatter your life at work."

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    How to Defend Yourself from an Abusive Boss: The Formal Complaint Process

    Reviewer/Reader Feedback: "Is your boss abusive or just a jerk? Grievance specialist Healey explains how "abused" employees can end mistreatment in the workplace."

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    Does Someone at Work Treat You Badly?/How to Handle Brutal Bosses, Crazy Coworkers...and Anyone Else Who Drives You Nuts

    Reviewer/Reader Feedback: "a guide to dealing with bullies, backstabbers, incompetents, harassers, and other office offenders. Every office has one...and sometimes, more than one. They can make you dread getting up in the morning even if you like your job-and they can interfere with everyone's efficiency and productivity. Dr. Leonard Felder explains how to deal with them, get the respect you deserve, manage relationships, and keep the workday running smoothly."

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    Fighting Back: Overcoming Bullying in the Workplace

    Reviewer/Reader Feedback: "This is a practical guide to overcoming bullies in the work place. The biggest cause of workplace stress in the UK is generally acknowledged to be bullying. A recent civil service college survey stated that almost every person in the civil service had been bullied at one time. Taking a simple, straightforward approach, this book looks at how to recognize a bully, how to protect yourself, how to gather evidence, and what steps you should take to avoid it happening in the future."

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    When Smart People Work For Dumb Bosses

    Reviewer/Reader Feedback: "In When Smart People Work for Dumb Bosses, William and Kathleen Lundin bring corporate stupidity out of the closet. Through an extensive collection of personal and refreshingly candid interviews with employees at every level, the authors expose a broad range of inflexible, short-sighted, insensitive, and otherwide "dumb" behaviors on the part of management and survey the damage they can have on the people and the organizations they work for, as well as offer solutions for employees to cope. Using the popular co-dependence model to demonstrate why management stupidity is often condoned and even supported, the Lundins provide valuable therapeutic/psychological strategies and suggestions for understanding and dealing with each type of problem in a way that won't cost readers their self-respect, or their job. Milton Moscowitz, co-author of The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America calls it "an inspirational book."

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    What Your Boss Doesn't Tell You Until It's Too Late: How to Correct Behavior That Is Holding You Back

    Reviewer/Reader Feedback: "The number-one reason for a firing, report a number of studies, is not incompetence. Rather, it's a murky area that, for lack of a better name, is called "personality differences." Behavioral and management consultant Bramson addresses the issue of correcting behavior before a pink slip arrives. First he outlines the commitment to change and then the steps needed for change, which range from figuring out goals to repairing one's image."

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    Brutal Bosses and Their Prey: How to Identify and Overcome Abuse in the Workplace

    Reviewer/Reader Feedback: "The whole idea of taking back control of your professional life is explored in this short (149 pages) book. It has anecdotal feel to it and a list of types of abusive personalities as well as a questionnaire. Reads fast. Check out the extensive Bibliography. Can see how this type of book could be helpful to some of our clients in trying to identify their sense of betrayal after a poor match in their careers."

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    Bully in Sight: How to Predict, Resist, Challenge and Combat Workplace Bullies

    Reviewer/Reader Feedback: "I read 'Bully in Sight' from cover to cover twice. It provided me with invaluable and indispensable help in coping with stalkers and bullies. I have dedicated the last 5 years to the study of the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Most narcissists are bullies. Few have captured the essence of bullying and stalking as Tim [field the Author] has. His work has given hope to many - the trapped and desperate victims of bullying, harassment and stalking."

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    In Sheep's Clothing: Understanding and Dealing With Manipulative People

    Reviewer/Reader Feedback: "This book is an excellent tool for anyone manipulated by a covert aggressive personality... I never knew there was a model for this personality type! This is an excellent book for all to read, should you ever come across a covert manipulative personality that stops at nothing to get what they want, yet somehow makes it look like it's not them. They're not hurting, stressed out or insecure, they're just going to get things the way they want!"

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    You Want Me to Do What?: When, Where, and How to Draw the Line at Work

    Reviewer/Reader Feedback: "DeMars [the author] is practical, practical, practical. She tackles the most confudling dilemmas at work and provides an ethical compass to resolve them. You can always quit,but why not resolve the dilemmas and keep your job,too? I didn't always agree with her, but DeMars got me talking to my coworkers and my boss about what was the best solution-which was exactly DeMars' purpose for writing the book in the first place, I suspect. Yes, sometimes good employees do bad things--so here's what you do when it happens."

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    The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense

    Reviewer/Reader Feedback: "Suzette Haden Elgin, nationally recognized linguistics expert and author, applies her acclaimed techniques for combating verbal violence to common on-the-job situations. Forceful yet non-threatening, her proven strategies will empower workers of every level to recognize verbal abuse, gently defuse it, and replace it with courteous and effective communication."

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    Controlling People: How to Recognize, Understand, and Deal With People Who Try to Control You

    Reviewer/Reader Feedback: "This book has an amazing way of unearthing and organizing all those painful feelings you feel if you are being controlled, or "told who or how you are" in a forceful way by another human being. If you have low self-esteem as a result of believing in someone who wants nothing more than to control you, than you need this book to help free yourself from the controller's delusions. Reading Controlling People is more like witnessing, allowing you to experience a huge reality check as you come to realize that you're nowhere near alone, and to trust your own "creative force". The book is genius in its logical explanation of why people become abusers, and, how, if you've been abused, you can find a realistic path toward self-healing."

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    How to Manage Your Boss: Developing the Perfect Working Relationship

    Reviewer/Reader Feedback: "We've all got one; even the best ones aren't always easy to get on with; the worst ones can make life hell. Bosses. It's time to manage them back.How to Manage your Boss is the user's guide to getting the best from your manager. Understand what matters to them and how they like to function, and you can start to build a relationship that is as beneficial as it is rewarding. Developing a good relationship with your boss is vital for a low-stress, high-reward working life and you are in control. This is the book to help you get more from your most significant working relationship - from understanding your manager's manager (or boss?)(and what pressure is being exerted from above) to tackling subjects in the most appropriate way for your manager's personality, and dealing with problem manager characteristics."

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    Gray Matters : The Workplace Survival Guide

    Reviewer/Reader Feedback: "None of the insights are new: we all know that people resist change, don't walk the talk, don't understand their business, aren't team players, ad infinitum. But most business books are either too dense to read easily or are too trite to be relative. Gray Matters is in between and comes close to a bulls eye. I especially like its part 3: 'the Seven Deadly Workplace Sins.'"

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    The Bully at Work: What You Can Do to Stop the Hurt and Reclaim Your Dignity on the Job

    Reviewer/Reader Feedback: "If I had read this book MUCH sooner (such as when the bullying FIRST started), it would have helped me emotionally. I would have realized MUCH sooner what was happening, and known that I wasn't crazy. I could have fought back sooner, and would have known how, and which strategies to use. I also would have kept detailed records of each bullying incident, and I would have gotten witnesses' statements. In short, if you are even questioning yourself about whether bullying is happening to you, or not, BUY THIS BOOK."

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    Have you ever quit or changed positions because of your boss?
    Three times
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