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Managing an angry boss

When you switch on the television and the latest edition of The Apprentice is staring you in the face, don’t fall under the misconception that Sir Alan Sugar is a one-off.  There are millions of Alan Sugars in the world. If you want to learn how to get on the right side of your Sir Alan Sugar, namely your boss, read on to discover how you can stay in their good books and avoid staring down their index finger and hearing those dreaded words; “you’re fired”.

There will always be a tough boss reigning on their throne, looking for a reason to put you in your place, but whilst many employees break out in a cold sweat simply because they had to walk past their office, life would be much more enjoyable if they could learn how to deal with the problem. There will come a time when you will have to come face to face with your boss and while the very thought of it makes you shudder, that dark cloud is effectively hanging over your work performance and causing you to hold back when you should be standing out. Here are some ways to help you cope…

When the heat is on… chill out

You have been busy in the office, minding your own business and you’re having a fairly good day until the boss catches your eye and asks you to make them a coffee.  Suddenly, all hell breaks loose and you find yourself stumbling on your words and falling apart at the seams.  Your heart is racing so fast, you are sure  your colleagues can see it pounding out of your chest and you think “Why me…why was I stood here at this very moment, why did I  catch their eye”.  Stop! Take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds and then slowly release. Your boss is a human being and fifteen minutes from now you will have prepared the coffee, delivered it, and nothing will have hurt or upset you because prior to entering the office you put on a virtual suit of armour.

Learn to spot the difference:

You had a great weekend, the sun was shining and it was wonderful to let your hair down and enjoy some great food and company, but now it is Monday morning and you are stood in front of your irate boss. Their voice is so loud you cannot fathom the words and can only see their mouth moving.  Granted, this may not be the best way to start the week but don’t let it shape the remainder of the week. Whilst you’re natural reaction would be to defend yourself, this really is not the time and you don’t know what has caused the anger, so bite your tongue, take what he has to say on the chin and do not make any comment at all, just walk quietly away. Keep reminding yourself that they are under a lot of stress and you would feel the same way if you were in their shoes.  Things which were said to you were spoken out of sheer frustration and the anger is theirs, not yours. By refusing to rise to the bait, you demonstrate respect, self-control, poise and dignity, all valuable commodities.

Check it out…

It is always a good idea to keep a mental note of your boss’s moods throughout the day.  Is there a certain time when they seem happier than usual?  Have you noticed a sequence of events which tend to press their buttons? Try not to wind your boss up by doing things which you know will raise their blood pressure and remember they are your superior so treat them with the respect that they deserve.  Always appear pleasant and calm, even if you are seething inside, and try to drop in some compliments. The great thing about compliments is that they cancel out negativity so if you want to earn some brownie points, slot in a smidgen of praise here and there. Can you remember the last time your boss praised you? Relive that moment when they were kind and encouraging as this will lessen the effects of any verbal outbursts and help to strengthen your self-esteem.

Don’t ask for trouble…

If you prefer to go about your duties without the ringing of your bosses voice in your ear at 100 decibels every hour on the hour, try to avoid them as much as possible…the last thing you want to do is become the office drudge or sounding board.

Make your boss look silly…

Not literally! If you are shy and the mere presence of your boss lurking around makes you break out in a cold sweat, you may find that your work suffers.  The trick is to curb those nerves whenever they are near.  Now is the time to let your imagination run wild and to picture your boss in a completely different light.  Imagine him shrunk down to the size of a parrot, in fact imagine him sat on your shoulder!  Give him some bright red rosy apple cheeks, some vivid green hair and a trumpet for a nose and make him speak with a scurried, high pitched voice.  Does he still seem scary?  Suddenly, he has softened and you have turned the bitter into the sweet.  Now you can work alongside them without any stress at all even if they decide to sit in the chair next to you.

Leave them at work…

When you leave work, be sure to leave your boss at work too.  When the day is all wrapped up, this is your cue to wind down and relax.  No more thinking or talking about work until tomorrow, so switch on the television or listen to some music and distract yourself from work.

Get it off your chest…

If you find it difficult to function when your boss shouts at you, it is probably better to address the matter head on. If you want to tackle the ‘big cheese’, approach with mountain-sized proportions of tact and diplomacy as you do not want to look confrontational or accusatory. Explain how you like a peaceful and harmonious environment and offer suggestions as to how this can be achieved. Have this discussion when you know your boss will be able to give you their full attention and keep your voice and mannerisms calm and controlled. If you feel that getting things off your chest will help you move forward, it is far better to take this approach rather than have it play on your mind for months on end.

Time to say goodbye…

If you still find it impossible to work with a boss who is rarely a happy bunny, it might be better for your emotional health if you worked somewhere else. When nerves become frayed at the mere mention of their name, the process of looking for a new job will help you survive each day. Why? Because psychologically you will know that you are doing everything in your power to manipulate that ‘get out’ clause. Keep practising this and you may even change your way of thinking. You may find that several weeks from now, your boss is not so much of a big bad wolf after all!


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