The Secret to Dealing with an Obnoxious Boss

What is the secret to dealing with an obnoxious boss?

I’ve never been one of those or had to deal with one thankfully…OK I couldn’t type that and keep a straight face.

Dealing with Obnoxious Boss by Mike Holmes
You can’t change your boss. You’re not supposed to. You’re supposed to change you, and as you change so will your boss. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook

Here is a great guest post from Mike Holmes that answers that question. I wish I had read this years ago! Mike Holmes is the founder of Tithehacker. The purpose of the site is to stir up a revolution of radical giving. Stop by and get a copy of his free resource “The Art of Hacking the Tithe 101”You can guest post too. Click here to find out how.

Take it away Mike…

Before I knew this secret I dealt with obnoxious bosses in one of these ways:

  • Arguing back.
  • Complaining about them to coworkers.
  • Finding ways to work less.
  • Quitting the job…only to find that they were in the next job in another person’s body!
  • And yes…indirectly telling them I would love to punch them in the face after work.

I’m not proud of this. But that was before I knew the secret. When I learned the secret, it revolutionized my life. This secret made every obnoxious boss putty in my hand. I will warn you: this secret will forever change you.

If you think you’re ready for it…keep reading.

Jesus Hinted at the Secret

Jesus knew how powerful the secret was…and yet He only glossed over it. He didn’t delve into it. He didn’t elaborate on it. He just threw it out in the middle of conversation:

And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. (Matthew 5:41 NKJV)

He knew everybody wouldn’t want it–so He made it available to those that did.

Before I tell you more, please understand this: You can’t change your boss. You’re not supposed to. You’re supposed to change you, and as you change so will your boss. Until I understood that I could not find the secret and you won’t until you do.

So what is the secret?

Signs You Have a Crappy JobIt’s simple: go the extra mile.

When Jesus shared the secret, He related it to an oppressive custom of the day. It originated with the Persian government and was later adopted by the Roman government. Under this custom the king’s messengers had power to take horses, camels, and men into service against their will. Couriers and messengers were staged in specific locations by the king; if someone were to pass the location the courier rushed out and “compelled” them into service. Simone of Cyrene was later “compelled” into helping Jesus with His cross.

Rather than quarrel and complain about the treatment Jesus advised otherwise: don’t just comply with the request, but exceed expectations in a spirit of love and service. And that’s what I did:

  • If she asked me to do four things I did eight
  • If she asked me to have something done by 1:30pm I had it finished before lunch
  • If she needed something done in 20 minutes I did it in 10

And I did it all with a smile on my face!

Little by little her gruff exterior towards me (I can’t vouch for anyone else) softened; and my influence with her grew. I changed my response to the problem…and ended up changing the problem!

The Benefits of the Secret

  1. You benefit by the law of comparison. Most people don’t go the extra mile. They go the first mile and complain all the way there! Some don’t even finish the first mile! When you go the extra mile the spotlight of attention shines favorably on you. And after a while you soon become indispensable to those around you…especially superiors…and indispensable employees are always paid more than dispensable ones!
  2. You develop greater leadership qualities. Going the extra develops the habit of personal initiative–a trait necessary for ANY kind of leadership. As you employ the extra mile your brain looks for more ways to become helpful. Soon you stop waiting for people to tell you what to do–you just do it. You no longer wait for things to happen, you make them happen!
  3. God makes sure you’re compensated fairly. At the end of day whether we’re salaried or self-employed: we write our own checks! We do this with the service we give to a boss, company, or clients. But even though we write our checks, God is still the Boss. And if the Boss sees you going above and beyond, you can know that He’ll reward you fully.

What do you think? Are there any other benefits of using this secret? What has been your experience with it been?

Note: You can download 4 free chapters of Michael’s book here.

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  • That’a a great post, and one I plan on writing about myself. Thanks for the research material 😉 I actually do love those words of Jesus. I have heard his phrased this way: “The first mile is the transaction. The second mile is the relationship.”

    • “The first mile is the transaction. The second mile is the relationship.”

      I like that Todd. I just got a mental picture of something I have never had before in all these years.

      The first mile, the Roman sees the Christian as doing his lawful duty. Nothing more or less. But the second mile…just picture the soldier now. What is he thinking or doing? Hmmm

      • Matt – You got it. That’s the whole point. It isn’t until the second mile that we show who we are as Christians. Same goes for “If a man sues you in court and wins your shirt, then give him your coat too.”

        • That’s a great point. Especially considering the fact that most people dont even go the first mile…and if they do they normally do it with a bad attitude.

      • I only wish I had thought of that. I hope you dont mind Matt…I see me stealing that lol!

    • As was already stated, hardly anyone actually goes the extra mile. I’ve heard it put this way: “There’s no traffic in the extra mile.”

    • Wow Todd! That should be a great post. Let me know if you need anymore resources on it. And when you’re finished shoot me a link…I’d love to read it.

      • Mike – I sure will. I’m heading over to click Subscribe to your site now. I need some new material 😉

  • This is a great post! A lot of things to make me feel like a terrible person. Haha.

    I’m sure I know the answer, but I’m gonna throw it out tere anyway, because its the situation I find myself in.

    What if you don’t WANT to like your boss and to Sony care f they like you. I have a boss that offended ad disrespected me so bad awhile back that I do not like him…ad don’t want to like him.

    That probably makes me a bad person, but it’s where I’m at :)

    Thanks again for the awesome post.

    • The best thing you can do Mark for you is to go out of your way to serve him…more than he expects. Its that whole “bless those that curse you” kind of thing. Most of the bosses I did this with…I did not like them as a person. But I liked the Lord and if He told me to work as unto Him that’s exactly what I was going to do. Doing that was a big character growth for me…and a big witness for Him. Not to mention the fact that it is A BIG career boost.
      I hope that helps!

    • I feel you brother. I have been there.

      I really screwed up but thankfully my wife talked me into staying.

      Remember who it’s about. Hint: It’s not you.

      Easier said than done, I know. But try it.

  • Mike, this is so true but easy to forget. We are supposed to all work as unto the Lord. So if I have a wonderful boss, I serve as unto the Lord. If I have a terrible boss, I ~gulp~ serve as unto the Lord.

    • I’ve had the privilege (and yes I do use the word “privilege”) of serving both. A great boss you want to work for, lighten the load of, and make look good because they’re a great leader. And with the bad boss its great to see their tough exterior melt and your influence with them rise everyday. It’s a great experience either way!

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  • CClaussen

    I am going to have to hang onto the fact that my ‘compensation’ may come in Heaven and not here on earth. I did do this, and although my boss did turn around and stop treating me so poorly, I was still let go during the layoff, the reason was “you have really changed and I truly appreciate it, but you and I just don’t make a good team.”
    So to this I add the verse: “The Lord is my Sheperd I shall not be in want.” I still want that job back, I loved it, but I my needs are being met, by God and I am learning to live in His peace. I am practicing being grateful even in this time. God is the only one that has true power and authoring over my life, only what He wills gets done.

    • Correction:

      You ‘compensation’ WILL come in Heaven and not here on earth.

      But, awesome point nonetheless :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • I have to disagree Claussen: going the extra mile, over a period of time, with a pleasing attitude always returns. Whether it be heavenly or earthly. I am sorry about the layoff…but it doesn’t mean that God will not reward you. And you really shouldn’t expect anything less. Considering the fact that 95 out of a 100 people fail to go the extra mile it makes you that much more valuable. And what you learned from this job you can take with you to any other job.

      Just my thoughts…

  • This post ended up being the most popular post in terms of comments and visits last week. Way to go Michael!

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  • becky

    I love this post. Thank you for reminding us that this is all being done for God. Bless you and this blog!

    • Thanks Becky!

      @MikeHolmes:disqus did a great job with this post :)

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  • JB92578

    Unfortunately in my last job I did exactly what you listed above. I still got screwed over by my boss who was jealous and insecure. He basically felt threatened by anyone who worked for him. Me and two others on his team got fed up and quit. To be yelled at and spoken to in a derrogatory manner, on a daily basis, just isn’t worth it.

    • So the second best thing happened…you moved on with integrity.