How IT Managers Can Deal With A Demanding Boss

It can be hard to get any work done when you work for a demanding boss
It can be hard to get any work done when you work for a demanding boss
Image Credit: Kaushal Karkhanis

Oh, oh, you’ve just discovered that you are now working for a demanding boss. More and more often despite your IT manager skills, you are finding yourself in a no-win situation. Your boss is assigning you projects that have due dates that are way too short. Or else your new boss is always trying to get in touch with you via email, text messages, or phone calls even when it’s late at night. Just exactly what you going to do about this: do you complain and allow yourself to be seen as a roadblock or do you go along with it and screw up your personal life? There is no IT manager training for how to deal with this situation.

The Challenges Of Working For A Demanding Boss

You’ve got some real challenges on your hands if you find yourself working for a demanding boss. If you find yourself agreeing to your boss’ unreasonable demands, then what’s going to happen is he or she is going to think that they are ok and will continue to make them. The bad news here is that there are things that you can possibly do that may end up making things even worse for you.

One such thing would be accepting a deadline that your boss hands you even as you realize that there is no possible way that the project can be done by then. The problem with doing this is that you may force your boss to start setting deadlines even earlier just to provide them with some margin of safety. When it comes to a manager who is trying just a bit too hard to stay in touch with you all the time, ignoring their messages may just end up motivating them to try to get in touch with you even harder.

You need to determine what kind of demanding boss you are currently working for. The best kind is the demanding boss whose career is on the rise. This kind of boss is often given the most exciting projects. What’s good about working for them is that as their career advances, so too can yours. However, there is another type of demanding boss. These are the unorganized ones. They are anxious and they are always focused on the next impending crisis. They are not going to be able to keep track of what you are currently working on.

How To Deal With A Demanding Boss

There are a number of different ways to deal with demanding bosses and their impossible requests. The first is the boss who hands you a project and asks you to wrap it up in a time period that is too short. When this happens, you need to lay out for your boss all of the other projects that you are currently working on. Ask him or her to help you to determine which ones should be put on hold so that you can work on the project that they have just assigned to you.

Another situation that can pop up with a demanding boss is when they just won’t leave you alone. They send you emails, text messages, and even phone you at all hours of the day. They don’t seem to understand that when your work day ends, you are done with work. If you find yourself in this situation, then you need to take action. You are going to need to sit down with your boss and explain that you are not going to be able to respond to their messages after working hours. However, offer them a compromise. Tell them that you’ll check your messages before you go to bed and you’ll respond to them at that time.

Your boss lets you know that he or she is going to need you to start working on Saturdays going forward. This is going to severely impact your personal life and you just are not going to be able to do it. This is going to be a tricky discussion with your boss. Clearly there is work that they need to have done and they feel as though you are not going to be able to get it done during normal working hours. Once again, offering a compromise can help you out. Tell your boss that you’d be willing to work extra hours during the week in order to create the time that this important project is going to require.

What All Of This Means For You

At various points in our career we may find ourselves working for a demanding boss. These are people who want to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time and they have no problem asking us to do the impossible. No matter if it’s getting a project done in too short of a time or trying to contact us 24×7, their needs come before our needs and they don’t spend a lot of time worrying about IT team building. What’s an IT manager to do?

What you don’t want to do is to make things worse with your new demanding boss. Don’t just go along with their demands when they ask too much of you. If you do this, there is a very good chance that things will just get worse. Working for this type of boss may be a good thing if their career is on the rise – you can tag along. However, you are going to have to work things out with them. You are going to need to sit down with them and work out ways to handle project deadlines that are too short, unreasonable requests for your personal time, and requests for you to work over weekends.

When you find yourself working for an unreasonable boss, you need to treat this as a career opportunity. Do not just let them walk all over you because they won’t realize what they are doing. Instead, take them aside and create a new plan that handles the issues that they are trying to solve while still allowing you to have a personal life.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: What should you do if your demanding boss still wants you to work on the weekend even after you’ve had a talk with them?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

How funny are you? Who says so? We all love a good joke, but when we are at work the issue of humor can get tricky very quickly. The things that make us laugh may be inappropriate to being discussed in the workplace. We need to be very careful what jokes we choose to tell to the members of our team lest we end up offending anyone inadvertently (or on purpose). Even with all of the risks that come along with humor in the workplace, it is still a powerful tool. What’s the best way for us to use maximize out IT manager skills and use humor on the job?