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Sunday, October 4, 2009

How to Deal With An Angry Boss

The right communications skills can be the antidote to a toxic boss. The bad news is if you haven't learned them then an argument is certain to ensue. The good news is good communication skills can be learned. Communication skills can place you and the angry boss into what I call productive dialogue and a little strategy can offset and diffuse a potentially very bad situation.

The boss that comes in and yells is unequivocally inappropriate however a one time incident has a different set of symptoms/results than a boss that does this behavior all the time. A boss that is prone to inappropriate behavior definitely has one of the issues of communications, emotional intelligence or stress and should get help.

Having said that my answer to the question is to excuse yourself to the restroom! I know this seems random however I have divorcing clients in court do it all the time. It is the only thing a person won't say "no" too. That time away allows you to collect yourself. Most people have to step out of the ring as it is very easy to go right into defending oneself however if you can do this without the "bathroom trick", then by all means do so. Just know that it takes two to argue and stepping out of the ring for a moment will allow you to comeback and diffuse. Once you return ask your boss into an office with a closed door to finish the discussion. Or if you have the presence of mind to stay in the ring you can go to the final step.

Here is where you close in for the kill-offer your boss what he wants while presenting him with a neutral factual way to get there-by treating you better!

"I want to give you everything that you want in the future. At the same time, I find it difficult to do that when I am being criticized. It makes it harder for me to do my best. Where could we go from here?"

Now you are in productive dialogue and can start negotiating a win-win solution as an adult. This can help facilitate change without putting your boss on the defensive. Use facts by saying "share with me your performance expectations" or " talk to me before criticizing my work". Remember stay away from provocative language such as " what a jerk" or "what dummy calls employees out"?