How to work effectively with a difficult boss


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    Key Books

    Coping With Difficult Bosses

    Managing Up: 59 Ways to Build a Career-Advancing Relationship with Your Boss

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


    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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    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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    You Don't Have to Take It!: A Woman's Guide to Confronting Emotional Abuse at Work

    Reviewer/Reader Feedback: "Is it you? Are you really just too sensitive to harsh words on the job? Or is it abuse? The authors share personal experiences and walk you through defining the problem, developing a remedy and placing this type of abuse into the larger social context. The workbook format allows you to objectively view your situation and to take appropriate action. Stop feeling powerless; stop feeling as if there must be something wrong with you."

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    Tongue Fu! : How to Deflect, Disarm, & Difuse Any Verbal Conflict

    Reviewer/Reader Feedback: "Dealing with difficult people is a part of everyday life. However, by focusing on real-life responses to verbal challenges instead of theories and platitudes, the author has delivered a convenient handbook for the mental martial art of verbal self-protection. Divided into four sections, the book offers techniques and skills for responding thoughtfully in conflicts, expressing honest feelings and goals, seeking cooperation in difficult situations, and living a life of value during trying times. Each of the 30 chapters offers examples that demonstrate the expected goals and acquired skills in action."

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    How to Survive and Get Ahead When Your Boss is A Tyrant, Control Freak, or Just Plain Nuts!

    Reviewer/Reader Feedback: "Whether master manipulator or serious psycho, a bad boss can make life miserable for everyone. Most workers simply can't walk away from a sticky supervisory situation, however; they need to learn instead how to cope as well as thrive. Career expert and syndicated columnist Bob Weinstein proposes ways to do just that. The result is an upbeat handbook filled with solid suggestions for getting along with any boss from hell."

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    Nasty People

    Reviewer/Reader Feedback: "I've had to deal with several jerks, overbearing bosses, narcissistic-types, etc. in the past 20 years or so, and I have to say I wish I had this book before I met these creeps. I still have to deal with some ..., but they aren't much trouble any more. Jay gives CLEAR instructions on how to deal with these kinds of people, written in easy-to-understand language."

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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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    Crucial Conversations

    Reviewer/Reader Feedback: "I've seen a lot of books and training programs that purport to teach people to be more effective communicators. Most teach tried-and-true, but old-and-generic, understandings and skills that help people become somewhat more effective. They do not, however, teach people to be really effective in those few important communication challenges that really matter. That is the contribution of Crucial Conversations. In my consulting practice, I've noticed repeatedly that many managers and executives don't take on the tough issues or don't handle them well or, even worse, handle them in a way that creates positive harm in their relationship with others. When I talk to them about their situations, I find that they know they can be better communicators on tough issues; they just don't know how! That's where Crucial Conversations adds real value."

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    Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace, 2002 Revised Edition

    Excerpt: "Every year, millions of Americans become victims of emotional abuse inflicted at work. They are damaged to such an extent that they can no longer accomplish their tasks. Co-workers, colleagues, superiors and subordinates attack their dignity, integrity and competence, repeatedly, over a number of weeks, months, or years. At the end, they resign--voluntarily or involuntarily--are terminated, or forced into early retirement. This is mobbing--workplace expulsion through emotional abuse. Ironically and sadly, the victims are portrayed as the ones at fault, as the ones who brought about their own downfalls."

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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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    Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Boss? 13 Types and How to Survive Them.

    "When people know they're being watched, they tend to behave differently—better than they would if they weren't being watched—that's why there isn't much information available about what really goes on in the workplace. So Haight conducted a five-year research study, spying on managers from within their company from 1997 to 2002. She worked as an employee in eleven organizations in various industries across the northeastern and southwestern United States. Because the people she studied did not know they were being watched, this book makes often hidden management misbehavior public knowledge."

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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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    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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