It’s a nightmarish reality with which many Missouri workers have to cope with on a daily basis — having a truly lousy boss. Whether it’s lack of management ability, poor people skills or sociopathic character traits, a bad boss can make going to work an onerous task.

It’s unfortunate but having an ineffective or difficult boss is not a violation of any employment laws. Simply put, bosses can be workplace jerks as long as they do not break any laws already in place to protect workers from discrimination or retaliatory behavior.

If you find yourself having to work with one of these individuals, employ these strategies to make the best of a bad situation.

— Identify their motivations. If you can learn why your boss acts and reacts the way he or she does, you are better positioned to avoid situations that trigger these negative responses.

— Adapt to their preferences. We all have our own style of communication and interaction. If yours is the polar opposite of your boss’s, it’s your responsibility to tailor your responses to fit his or her style.

— Make them look good. Insecurity is often the root of bad behavior, so use your strengths to compensate for their weaknesses and become a real team player. If their skills are really abysmal, higher ups with eventually see the true picture anyway.

— Don’t allow yourself to be bullied. You will never get respect on the job by cowering in fear. It’s important to stand up — respectfully — for your rights. When a tirade is launched in your direction, defuse the situation with questions about how to turn a problem around.

— Address your concerns. If you never speak up, you can’t expect changes to magically occur. Respectfully request a conversation where you outline what you perceive as problems and allow your boss to honestly respond.

— Don’t sink to their level. Your job performance shouldn’t reflect your frustration with your boss. Act calmly and always maintain a professional demeanor. Your reputation is at stake too.

— Get your ducks in line. If all else fails and you need to jump ship for your sanity, lay the groundwork first. Never jump from the frying pan into the fire out of desperation. Make a clean exit without burning any bridges.

Questions about employment issues can be explained in depth by a Missouri employment law attorney.

Source: Forbes, “How To Handle A Bad Boss: 7 Strategies For ‘Managing Up'” Margie Warrell, Nov. 25, 2014