How to deal with a difficult boss

These articles on, How to deal with a difficult boss, were originally published in Dr. Lynn Friedman’s, nationally-syndicated, Washington Business Journal column, Corporations on the Couch, and in the Washington Post.

Managing your boss can be a challenging task. How do you manage the boss who yells, especially, when the workplace seems to support him despite his modus operandi?

And, how do you manage your boss when she’s constantly undermining you? She appoints you to be second in command but allows your direct reports to do end-runs around you. In this way, she completely undermines your authority – and, then, criticizes you for being an ineffective manager. How do you deal with this boss from hell, without losing your cool?

How do you deal with the difficult boss, your needy boss, who uses you as a surrogate friend, mother, or unwilling confidante? How do you address that difficult situation?

What about the boss who is completely untrustworthy? He changes his allegiances and loyalties every time the wind blows. He promises that he’ll back you and then surreptitiously undermines you to the brass.

A first step to managing your boss is to try to understand what drives her behavior. This means understanding the bosses personal dynamics and understanding the complex corporate dynamics, too.

Dr. Lynn Friedman’s, nationally-syndicated, Washington Business Journal column, Corporations on the Couch, addresses these issues and more. Read more about it below.


Your job may not be driving you nuts, but if it is Dr. Lynn Friedman knows how to help. By examining workplace dynamics — hirings, firings, narcissistic bosses and passive aggressive employees, the office scapegoat and the bosses pet, corporate dysfunction and corporate health, happy employees and miserable ones — Friedman puts “Corporations on the Couch” in her widely popular column by that name. The psychoanalyst, psychologist, Johns Hopkins faculty member, organizational consultant and executive coach explains, in frank and often funny terms, how corporate cultures and corporate leaders support and sustain (albeit inadvertently) the surprising, strange and truly bizarre array of workplace behaviors. And, like any good therapist, Friedman helps readers to get off the couch, build healthy relationships and end bad ones.

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Dr. Lynn Friedman

Dr. Lynn Friedman, Ph.D., FABP, is a Clinical Psychologist, a Supervising and Training Analyst, and a Clinical Supervisor in full-time, private practice. She provides evaluation, psychotherapy and psychoanalysis as well as supervision to psychoanalysts-in-training and other mental health professionals. Beyond this, she is a board certified, psychoanalyst who teaches at Johns Hopkins University and the Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis.

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