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How to Handle an Angry Boss


It's a fact that the main reason why most people are unhappy with their job is poor management. At one point or another, chances are you will have to deal with a difficult, grumpy or (hopefully) unwittingly disparaging boss. You know the type: they get angry for no apparent reason, they completely ignore your questions and the only times they do talk to you is when they find fault with something you've done. I've been there myself and over the years I've found four successful ways to handle difficult managers. Here they are: 1. First thing, don't take it personally. Chances are, you're not the only person they treat in the same impolite and often condescending way. If so, their behavior most probably is a reflection of some deeper psychological issues that extend further than a typical workday. 2. Find a discrete way to inform them about the negative effects their unhelpful behavior is having on your work productivity. For example, if you've been left out of last week's client meeting, make sure to highlight that it's difficult for you to fix customer problems if you are not involved. Address these issues factually and in a relaxed manner, without questioning why they acted as they did. 3. When they criticize your performance, ask for specific details. Make it clear to them that it's important for you to receive factual feedback on your work so you can improve it accordingly. How else could you possibly perform better on the next task if you don't know what the problem was? 4. Make it a habit to praise your boss every time they act wisely and considerately, even if it's just a small gesture on their part. Your positive feedback is likely to encourage similar behavior in the future and maybe even trigger unexpected acts of kindness. Remember, some managers have no idea that what they're doing is making employees unhappy at the workplace. This is when your feedback and good communication can be an essential prerequisite to them improving their behavior. What other strategies have you used in the past to deal with a bad boss? We'd love to hear your stories below in the comments section.

2 Responses

  1. How to Handle an Angry Boss

    There are 2 additional strategies.

    (1) Leave

    (2) Use all, & every, Macchiavellian special weapons & tactics to ensure either they are dismissed or, at least, removed from your orbit.

    Life is very short & too much of it has been wasted trying to placate imbecilic, selfish, borderline psychopathic bosses.


  2. Tactics for managing a bad boss

    Thanks for your comments Paul. Re (1), yes, I have also left a bad boss when I realized the situation won’t improve. When I have done this, the bad boss was a symptom of a whole organisation that was dysfunctional. I realized that my boss is unlikely to change when his behaviors are supported by the system.

    Re (2), this really is a high risk option. Depending on your political alliances within your organization, the tactic may backfire and you may find yourself as the one being fired. I think it also comes down to a question of integrity. Are you willing to use tactics that you criticize others for?

    What other ways have people used to change a bad boss? I’m interested to hear your experience.

    Leslie Allan Author: Training Management Maturity Model

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