Advertising
Advertising

10 Ways To Deal With A Moody Boss

10 Ways To Deal With A Moody Boss

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!

Advertising

 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?

Advertising

 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!

Advertising

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!

Advertising

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.

10 Reasons Why People Are Unmotivated (And How to Be Motivated) 12 Secrets To a Super Productive Meeting You Should Know Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Smart Ways to Be More Productive What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It 10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

Trending in Work

1 Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It Step-By-Step) 2 10 Killer Cover Letter Tips to Nail Every Interview Opportunity 3 How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch 4 How to Make Going Back to School at 30 Possible (And Meaningful) 5 7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 23, 2019

Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It Step-By-Step)

Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It Step-By-Step)

Nobody enjoys failing. Fear of failure can be so strong that avoiding failure eclipses the motivation to succeed. Insecurity about doing things incorrectly causes many people to unconsciously sabotage their chances for success.

Fear is part of human nature. As an entrepreneur, I faced this same fear. At times, I forgot that who I was wasn’t what I did. My ego and identity became intertwined with my work, and when things didn’t go as planned, I completely shut down. I overcame this unhealthy relationship with fear, and I believe that you can too.

Together we’ll examine how you can use failure to your advantage instead of letting it run your life. We’ll look at what a fear of failure is, where it comes from, and how to overcome it so that you can enjoy success in your work and life.

What Is Fear of Failure

Fear causes you to avoid potentially harmful situations. Fear of failure keeps you from trying, creates self-doubt, stalls progress, and may lead you to go against your morals.

What causes fear of failure? Here are the main reasons why fear of failure exists:

  • Patterns from childhood – Hyper-critical adults cause children to internalize damaging mindsets.[1] They establish ultimatums and fear-based rules.This causes children to feel the constant need to ask for permission and reassurance. They carry this need for validation into adulthood.
  • Perfectionism – Perfectionism is often at the root of fear of failure.[2] For perfectionists, failure is so terrible and humiliating that they don’t try. Stepping outside your comfort zone becomes terrifying.
  • Over-personalization – The ego may lead us to over-identify with failures. It’s hard to look beyond failure at things like the quality of the effort, extenuating circumstances, or growth opportunities.[3]
  • False self-confidence – People with true confidence know they won’t always succeed. A person with fragile self-confidence avoids risks. They’d rather play it safe than try something new.[4]

How the Fear of Failure Destroys Success

Unhealthy Organization Culture

Too many organizations today have cultures of perfection: a set of organizational beliefs that any failure is unacceptable. Only pure, untainted success will do.

Imagine the stress and terror in an organization like that. The constant covering up of the smallest blemishes. The wild finger-pointing as everyone tries to shift the blame for the inevitable cock-ups and messes onto someone else. The rapid turnover as people rise high, then fall abruptly from grace. The lying, cheating, falsification of data, and hiding of problems—until they become crises that defy being hidden any longer.

Miss out Valuable Opportunities

If some people fail to reach a complete answer because of the lure of some early success, many more fail because of their ego-driven commitment to what worked in the past. You often see this with senior people, especially those who made their names by introducing some critical change years ago. They shy away from further innovation, afraid that this time they might fail, diminishing the luster they try to keep around their names from past triumph.

Besides, they reason, the success of something new might even prove that those achievements they made in the past weren’t so great after all. Why take the risk when you can hang on to your reputation by doing nothing?

Such people are so deeply invested in their egos and the glories of their past that they prefer to set aside opportunities for future glory rather than risk even the possibility of failure.

High Achievers Become Losers

Every talent contains an opposite that sometimes makes it into a handicap. Successful people like to win and achieve high standards. This can make them so terrified of failure it ruins their lives. When a positive trait, like achievement, becomes too strong in someone’s life, it’s on the way to becoming a major handicap.

Advertising

Achievement is a powerful value for many successful people. They’ve built their lives on it. They achieve at everything they do: school, college, sports, the arts, hobbies, work. Each fresh achievement adds to the power of the value in their lives.

Gradually, failure becomes unthinkable. Maybe they’ve never failed yet in anything that they’ve done, so have no experience of rising above it. Failure becomes the supreme nightmare: a frightful horror they must avoid at any cost.

The simplest way to do this is never to take a risk, stick rigidly to what you know you can do, protect your butt, work the longest hours, double and triple check everything and be the most conscientious and conservative person in the universe.

If constant hard work, diligence, brutal working schedules and harrying subordinates won’t ward off the possibility of failing, use every other possible means to to keep it away. Falsify numbers, hide anything negative, conceal errors, avoid customer feedback, constantly shift the blame for errors onto anyone too weak to fight back.

The problems with ethical standards in major US corporations has, I believe, more to do with fear of failure among long-term high achievers than any criminal intent. Many of those guys at Enron and Arthur Andersen were supreme high-fliers, basking in the flattery of the media. Failure was an impossible prospect, worth doing just about anything to avoid.

Loss of Creativity

Over-achievers destroy their own peace of mind and the lives of those who work for them. People too attached to “goodness” and morality become self-righteous bigots. Those whose values for building close relationships become unbalanced slide into smothering their friends and family with constant expressions of affection and demands for love in return.

Everyone likes to succeed. The problem comes when fear of failure is dominant. When you can no longer accept the inevitability of making mistakes, nor recognize the importance of trial and error in finding the best and most creative solution.

The more creative you are, the more errors you are going to make. Get used to it. Deciding to avoid the errors will destroy your creativity too.

Balance counts more than you think. Some tartness must season the sweetest dish. A little selfishness is valuable even in the most caring person. And a little failure is essential to preserve everyone’s perspective on success.

We hear a lot about being positive. Maybe we also need to recognize that the negative parts of our lives and experience have just as important a role to play in finding success, in work and in life.

How to Conquer the Fear of Failure (A Step-By-Step Guide)

1. Figure out Where the Fear Comes From

Ask yourself what the root cause of your negative belief could be.[5] When you look at the four main causes for a fear of failure, which ones resonate with you?

Advertising

Write down where you think the fear comes from and try to understand it as an outsider.

If it helps, imagine you’re trying to help one of your best friends. Perhaps your fear stems from something that happened in your childhood, or a deep-seated insecurity.

Naming the source of the fear takes away some of its power.

2. Re-Frame Beliefs About Your Goal

Having an all or nothing mentality leaves you with nothing sometimes. Have a clear vision for what you’d like to accomplish but include learning something new in your goal.

If you always aim for improvement and learning, you are much less likely to fail.[6]

At Pixar, people are actually encouraged to “fail early and fail fast.”[7] They encourage experimentation and innovation so that they can stay on the cutting edge. That mindset involves failure, but as long as they achieve their vision of telling great stories, all the stumbling blocks are just opportunities to grow.

3. Learn to Think Positively

In many cases, you believe what you tell yourself. Your internal dialogue affects how you react and behave.

Our society is obsessed with success, but it’s important to recognize that even the most successful people encounter failure.

Walt Disney was once fired from a newspaper because they thought he lacked creativity. He went on to found an animation studio that failed. He never gave up, and now Disney is a household name.

Steve Jobs was also once fired from Apple before returning as the face of the company for many years. [8]

If Disney and Jobs believed the negative feedback, they wouldn’t have made it.

Advertising

It’s up to you to notice your negative self talk and identify triggers. Replace negative thoughts with positive facts about yourself and the situation. You’ll be able to create a new mental scripts that you can reach for when you feel negativity creeping in. The voice inside your head has a great effect on what you do.

4. Visualize all Potential Outcomes

Uncertainty about what will happen next is terrifying. Take time to visualize the possible outcomes of your decision. Think about the best and worst-case scenarios. You’ll feel better if you’ve already had a chance to mentally prepare for what could happen.

Fear of the unknown might keep you from taking a new job. Weigh the pros and cons, and imagine potential successes and failures in making such a life-altering decision. Knowing how things could turn out might help you get unstuck.

5. Look at the Worst-Case Scenario

There are times when the worst case could be absolutely devastating. In many cases, if something bad happens, it won’t be the end of the world.

It’s important to define how bad the worst case scenario is in the grand scheme of your life. Sometimes, we give situations more power than they deserve. In most cases, a failure is not permanent.[9]

For example, when you start a new business, there’s bound to be a learning curve. You’ll make decisions that don’t pan out, but often that discomfort is temporary. You can change your strategy and rebound. Even in the worst case scenario, if the perceived failure led to the end of that business, it might be the launching point for something new.

6. Have a Backup Plan

It never hurts to have a backup plan. The last thing you want to do is scramble for a solution when the worst has happened. The old adage is solid wisdom:

“Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”

Having a backup plan gives you more confidence to move forward and take calculated risks.

Perhaps you’ve applied for a grant to fund an initiative at work. In the worst-case scenario, if you don’t get the grant, are there other ways you could get the funds?

There are usually multiple ways to tackle a problem, so having a backup is a great way to reduce anxiety about possible failure.

Advertising

7. Learn from Whatever Happens

Things may not go the way you planned, but that doesn’t automatically mean you’ve failed. Learn from whatever arises.[10] Even a less than ideal situation can be a great opportunity to make changes and grow.

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.”

Ask yourself:

  • What did I learn?
  • How can I grow from this?
  • Did anything positive come from this situation?

Dig deep enough, and you’re bound to find the silver lining. When you’ve learned that “failure” is an opportunity for growth instead of a death sentence, you conquer the fear of failure.

Final Thoughts

Together we’ve learned what fear of failure is, and how it can have a crippling effect on our ability to achieve. This fear often stems from childhood, perfectionism, ego and over-personalization, and a lack of confidence.

Luckily for us, there are plenty of ways to tackle this fear. We can start by figuring out where it comes from and re-framing the way we feel about failure. When failure is a chance for growth, and you’ve looked at all possible outcomes, it’s easier to overcome fear.

Stay positive, have a backup plan, and learn from whatever happens. Your failures will be sources of education and inspiration rather than humiliation.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

Failures can be blessings in disguise.

Go boldly in the direction of your dreams and goals. Don’t allow fear to stand in your way.

More About Conquering Fear

Featured photo credit: Vecteezy via vecteezy.com

Reference

Read Next