How much time is lost in worrying – wakeful nights spent in stressful contemplation or negative thinking where you repeatedly ask yourself the question, “Is it me?”
Here are some mind-shifting reflections that may soothe your troubled brow and get you out of the downward spiral that is the damaging relationship you have with your boss.
1. Root Cause – When you dig into the context of Mr. Angry’s latest explosion there is a distinction to be made – between the anger and the cause of the problem that set off the outburst. If you like, there is a logical component and an emotional one. If you can focus on the logic and the rational and dial down your judgement of his inappropriate emotional expression, this can prevent further damage to you and your boss.
It is of course the last thing that you want to do!
Please read on – Anger, aggression and inappropriate office communication are never without a range of causes, some of which are COMING FROM YOU!
2. Anger is not Anger. The appearance of alpha power that accompanies displays of anger is misleading. A good mediator will quickly tell you that this is a mask of power, covering a fearful heart. Yes, your boss if afraid. Linked to 1. Root Cause, he has a lot on his plate and some of his list of worries are really freaking him out.
His stressful issues back him into a corner and his reaction is exactly that of a cornered lion – pumping up the power and roaring.
The release does not come by you tackling his anger but by reassuring him about the lack of threat posed by the underlying issues.
Again the logical pathway from problem to solution is the route here. Anger is unpleasant and painful but it is not at the core of the problem. It is merely a symptom.
3. Who are you dealing with? Everyone is different and needs to be handled accordingly. A raw steak eating warrior needs you to, “Get to the point” and, “Give him the bottom line!”
Even if you wish to fill him in with background details for the sake of professional excellence, you will only be adding to his distress.
If he or she is a perfectionist, detail oriented, completer finisher, then they do not want charm, schmooze, and a deep and meaningful relationship – They want an e mailed spreadsheet with accurate data and correct algorithms.
This is related to 4.
4. Strategies and Tactics. With every communication and communication style, you have choice in how you respond and engage.
With the Warrior you can stick to your story telling, context providing and warming slowly to the punch line – This will increase the frequency of blow- ups – guaranteed.
You can ADAPT and switch your style to accommodate to his informational requirement – This will decrease the rage and frequency and may win you a window of opportunity to negotiate a better contract for mutually beneficial communication.
5. Blame and finger pointing. The critical thing to remember when getting shouted at and abused is…. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.
Blame is his emotional shift away from talking responsibility and has little or nothing to do with YOU.
No one is right or wrong – Numbers and product quality can be wrong. People never are WRONG.
With practice, you can hopefully transcend the guilt and shame of being pointed at and regain your calm stance and confidence.
6. Reframe – The art of dealing with all difficult people is YOU detaching from YOUR emotional triggers around THEIR words and gestures.
Rephrase the sentences you hear, scrubbing them of blame and drama. Speak using only functional language in your head. “My boss requires a one sentence cause of today’s lower widget production total.”
In such a way you may help break the destructive cycle that you find yourself in.
This is a complex issue and there are many other ways to help yourself survive and prosper, break the abusing patterns of an angry boss and, over time, help your boss to regain his or her dignity and communicate in a more productive way.
I wish you well on your journey.
Matthew Hill is a leadership trainer, coach and author – 07813 760 711