How to Handle Stress at Work Caused by Your Manager

Since one-third of your 24-hour day is spent at work, wouldn’t life be better if those eight hours at work were a pleasure rather than a misery?

According to, research has shown that younger employees are far more likely to suffer from stress because of manager behavior or attitudes, compared to mature employees. The figures showed that 75% of employees aged between 18 and 24 years old, claimed that managers had contributed to their stress at work. Having 75 out of every 100 young employees experiencing stress because of their managers, is far from acceptable.

I’ve Been There and Done That

When I left school, I worked as a photographer. Don’t think about fancy studio’s and fashion models, think instead of massive buildings and rusty metal. I was an industrial photographer.

The company I worked for was a large national company, and my principal place of work was the head office of the company. Apart from the occasional site visit, I’d be based at the head office for the majority of my working life there.

I stayed working at that company for ten years, and I only left because the industry was privatized and things changed a lot after that. I’d have continued working there had the privatization not taken place.

So what has all this got to do with me suffering stress because of a manager?

My first six years were hell!

Stressed To The Point of Having Physical Symptoms

Crazy Boss Stress

I’d like to say this another way, but I think I’ll just tell it like it was; my manager was nuts!

Looking back now, I genuinely believe that he had mental issues. But aged just 17 years old, all I knew was that this guy was my boss.

My only relief was that all my work colleagues were older than me, and he also made them stressed too. My disadvantage though, was that they had more experience of life to be able to handle him better than I could.

My last sentence brings me to a crucial point, and this relates directly to the start of this post where I mentioned that 75% of young people feel stress from their managers. The thing to understand is that being young in itself is enough to feel stressed by your manager. Looking back, I know with 100% certainty that I didn’t have the mental strength or social experience to deal with my overbearing manager. But if he was my manager today? I would probably laugh at him!

But back in my youth, this guy’s constant mind games made me physically ill with stress.

Stress Is Simply Being In A Situation That You Don’t Know How To Handle

work causes stress

I say “simply,” but I mean it without trying to give the impression that the situations are simple. But the actual state of being stressed is brought on by a simple fact: you don’t yet know how to handle this situation.

If you have learned to drive, then you may recall being stressed when you were still a learner driver. But now that you drive everywhere, you most probably find driving to be quite pleasurable. If driving isn’t your thing, then think of something else in your life that was difficult at first, and later became second nature to you.

Any area of your life where you don’t know how to cope with what you are facing can cause you stress. Your manager is no different from anything else.

How I Stopped Being Stressed By My Manager

You will recall that I mentioned that I started my job as a photographer, aged 17. Well, by the time I was 23, my boss was no longer a source of stress in my life. He hadn’t changed one little bit – but I had!

I decided to no longer be fishing bait to this guy’s constant mind games. I developed a straightforward tactic that played-out way better than I had ever expected.

I started to agree with everything he said! And I mean… everything.

If he insulted me I’d agree. If he said my work was junk, I’d agree. If he told me that my constant agreeing was childish, then I’d agree. He had no idea whatsoever how to handle someone agreeing with everything he did and said!

The power of a bully is seeing the effect he has on his little whimpering victims. It’s very hard to be a bully, however, when your victims stop whimpering.

It’s Not Only Young People Who Feel Stress Because of Their Manager

This title is true! Mature adults can also feel stressed because of their managers’ words and actions.

But the recipe when you are older is the same as the recipe when you are younger: develop skills to combat the bully. But when I say ‘combat,’ let’s not take that word literally. You aren’t aiming to take-down the bully; you are seeking to increase your own powers to handle better the situations caused by your manager.

Building your social skills in a specific way is one way. Taking an Assertiveness Course can be one useful step to take. Such a course will make you feel empowered to handle virtually anyone (your bully-boss included.)

You could also consider taking up self-defense lessons. Again, this is not to have some ambition of finishing-off your boss permanently, but instead you’d be doing it for you. You’d be doing it to raise your self-esteem, your sense of power and have a feeling of control in your life.

Don’t Forget To Be Honest…

So far, my entire post has presumed that your manager is a monster. But what if your manager is merely doing his job and your own work is genuinely poor? Or perhaps you always arrive late to work? Or you have worked there for two years, and you still aren’t doing even the basic tasks correctly?

If you are continually being pushed by your manager to improve or to do your job correctly, then is he actually correct? Is the problem you?

Be honest!

If so, you can decide to make a considerable effort and up-your-game, or if this job really isn’t for you, then look for another job. There is no point staying in a stressful situation if it has no future.

If you sincerely want to do well at this job, then seek the help of the manager that stresses you out, and be honest. Explain the problems that you are having and ask for training. It could just be the right move to get rid of all that stress.

Are You Suffering From Stress From Your Manager?