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10 Ways To Deal With A Moody Boss

10 Ways To Deal With A Moody Boss
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Is your boss perfectly nice and charming one day and aggressive and bad tempered the next? If so, you have a problem, like millions of others. Dealing with a moody boss is no easy task, but have you thought the whole issue through? Read on to discover 10 ways you can manage her/him and still survive to tell the tale.

1. Try to understand what is really going on

There may be several reasons why your boss behaves like this. Have you thought that any of the following may be an explanation?

  • He or she may be having private personal issues which are spilling over into the workplace
  • There may be intense pressure from higher management to reach targets with reduced resources
  • Lack of self confidence in doing the job
  • It could be a cover up operation for some failure and a temper tantrum can be a camouflage tactic

 2. Try to discover the triggers

You may notice that there is a certain regularity in these outbursts, so it is a good idea to do some detective work here. There could be tension before and after meetings, deadlines for financial returns, or before an audit.

This will help you to use your mood meter radar. If you are successful in this, you can make sure that you avoid your boss at those times and keep out of the way!

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 3. Seek out an ally

A co-worker who is close to your boss may be an invaluable ally in that they can alert you as to when a storm is about to break. They know the normal signs too, but are also aware of emergencies and crises. They may also be able to give you some of the background.

 4. Could you be the cause of the boss’s moodiness?

You should ask yourself honestly if this is a possibility. A boss may be irritated by poor performance, so you have to ask yourself if any of the following could apply to you:

  • Unpunctuality
  • Frequently off sick
  • Failure to meet deadlines
  • Inability to get along with co-workers
  • Asking for time off or special arrangements
  • Objectives are not met.

If any of these apply to you, then you can start working on improving them so that you can eliminate this from your list.

Also ask yourself honestly if you yourself are subject to moodiness too. Are there days when you are in such a bad mood that nobody wants to even to talk to you?

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 5. Don’t get infected

The risk of being resentful and hurt when the boss is moody could affect the way you work and how you are treating colleagues and subordinates. This is a vicious circle and could affect staff morale negatively. Resolve to be calm, shrug it off, but also note what is going on. This is the advice offered by Lynn Taylor in her book, ‘Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant’

 6. Limit the fallout

If you are getting too much of your boss’s moodiness and it is affecting your work negatively, have an escape plan so that you can get away. Use some of these excuses to reduce the flak and also protect your own mood from going toxic:

  • Report to finish
  • Urgent phone call to make
  • Client or representative waiting
  • Splitting headache

 7. When things get serious, record everything

If your boss’s behavior turns from moodiness into regular harassment, then you should keep a note of what is happening. Sometimes there is a very fine line between abusive behavior and having a bad day. If you are close to breaking point, this will be really useful when you seek help from HR or actually get to talk to your boss about the issue. You will have legal rights and there should be procedures in place to deal with bullying.

 8. Try to get and give feedback

Performance assessment is ideal for this. If you have a choice about the actual meeting time, choose it wisely, based on your research above. Do your homework. When your boss asks you, ‘Are there any issues troubling you?’, you can point out very politely that certain behavior such as yelling, bad temper and so on are affecting your performance. Your boss may be a ‘histrionic personality’ although you should not point this out!

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Having the documentation here is a great plus because the boss may pretend not to remember or to lack certain self-awareness. You could also point out that certain privacy procedures mean that any feedback on your work is done in private and not in front of other staff.

It is two-way traffic so your boss may point out some defects in your own working methods and this can be really useful to help you improve.  Watch the video on how to approach this meeting.

 9. Don’t act as a therapist

When your boss flies off the handle or vents his rage, there is no need to act as therapist. You are neither qualified nor paid to do such work. Try to put your escape plan (see #6 above) into action if this is taking too long and you want out.

10. Be a good listener

Unfortunately, when a boss lets off steam, he or she is usually trying to make a point or get things done. It could, of course, be just criticism, but usually there is an action point to be emphasised. Yes, it really sucks that they have chosen this way to deliver the lecture!

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Now, here is where good listening techniques come in, because if you switch off, interrupt or make certain assumptions, then communication has broken down. Later, when you have to mop up and ask a lot of questions, the boss may become even moodier!

Have you had to deal with a moody boss? How have you coped and are there any techniques you would like to share with us? Let us have them in the comments below.

Featured photo credit: relative calm holds sway/emdot via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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