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Dealing With a Difficult Boss


The pain on her face revealed the severity of inner turmoil. As I listened, I grieved with my friend as she articulated her challenge: A Difficult Boss.

Long after my acquaintance and I parted, her scenario stayed with me. What could I possibly offer? After prayerful consideration, three factors emerged.

Perhaps you — or someone close to you — faces the same problem, and would find these factors beneficial. Here they are:

The God Factor

Only God can redeem such, so turn to Him with two laser-specific prayers.

1) Thank Him for the situation, and ask that He use it to make you more like Jesus.

2) Ask God to give you a supernatural love and compassion toward your boss. Feelings of compassion are marvelous, but God might be asking you to love with His love, whether or not you feel loving.

The You Factor

Set mental boundaries.

Do not allow this individual to define who you are. When said person comes to mind, create a one-word association with the image: love. Then, move your mind to other life-giving images.

Set spiritual boundaries.

An inordinate amount of focus can lead to such a matter controlling one’s heart and mind. So, be vigilant, and refuse to allow the relationship to become an idol.

Set social boundaries.

When possible, place an imaginary No Trespassing sign on your conversations with friends. Don’t let the subject of your boss rob you of much needed life-giving fellowship.

Set physical boundaries.

Deny this relationship access into the peaceful atmosphere of your home. Dr. Howard Hendricks, beloved professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, told of his practice. At a certain bridge on his driving route home, he mentally tossed out the difficulties from his day. He knew they would be there for him when he drove to the office the next morning, and he could collect them again. But he determined these difficulties would not go with him into the door of his home.

Then, of course, there is …

The Boss Factor

Seek a godly perspective of this individual. In humility, ask yourself, “What is going on below the surface in the life of my boss?” “Am I called by God to be a source of encouragement?”

Now, this next component requires courage, maybe fasting, and perhaps the presence of another colleague. The timing is crucial, so conceivably, this step is only appropriate at a quarterly review or year-end assessment. When the moment presents itself, go into the discussion with the words of James 1:19 guarding your actions: Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. Then, following the leading of the Holy Spirit, ask your boss:

  1. What contribution can I make to help our organization (office, team, business) move ahead?

  2. Where can I improve? What changes do I need to make?

  3. What can I do in this situation to help you do your job well?

Having acquired this information, go to Jesus and seek His supernatural guidance as to whether or not you are in the right place of employment or service. Ask Him if He wants you to move on, or if He wants you to wait. Allow the wisdom from Proverbs 3: 5-6 to light your way. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths." — even in Dealing With a Difficult Boss.

Living With Eternal Intentionality®

When did you experience a situation like that of my friend?

How did God meet you in your difficulty?

What advice would you offer to a friend who comes to you in a similar dilemma?