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Difficult bosses—ever had one? I’ve discovered that most of us can describe some difficult person we’ve worked for—or are still working for.
As I shared with you, at one point I found myself working for an impossible boss. And it was extremely frustrating for me until I began to pray for him and for wisdom, and then dumped the self-pity and asked God to show me what I could learn in the situation, instead of trying to run away.
Then God showed me some other passages in Scripture that shed more light on dealing with a difficult boss. Proverbs 25:15 says: “By forbearance a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue breaks the bone.” Forbearance means tolerance or length of anger. Even if your anger is justified in your particular situation, you need to lengthen it. Stretch it out; don’t have a short fuse.
And, most importantly, keep a soft tongue. With forbearance and a soft tongue a ruler can be persuaded. If you want to change your boss’s behavior toward you, try God’s principles. They are very clearly set forth here. Be tolerant and speak with gentleness and kindness. And watch what happens.
When you’re working for a really difficult boss, this is a great time to practice what I call “re-framing.” Put that boss in a different frame. That’s what God showed me to do. I had put my boss in the “humiliator and intimidator” frame, because he did humiliate and intimidate at times. But once I had him in that mental frame, that’s the only way I thought of him and the only way I talked about him. So, every day I feared he would be humiliating and intimidating, and guess what, he often was.
When God began to deal with me about my attitude toward my boss, I decided to put him in a different frame—a “smart” frame. You see, he was a very smart businessman and knew a great deal about marketing and running a business. So I chose to see him as smart, to talk about how smart he was, to focus on how much I could learn from working for him. Amazingly, once I re-framed him and made myself think about his positive characteristics, it greatly reduced my frustration, I’m sure my performance improved as I was more motivated, and he didn’t seem nearly so humiliating and intimidating.
Maybe you need to re-frame your boss. Ask God to give you a new frame for him or her. It’s amazing how God can change a situation when we are first of all willing to let God change us.