How to avoid confrontation with your boss
From gruelling workloads and long hours to wage freezes and unpaid overtime, there are plenty of reasons to be mad at the boss. But how you deal with your anger could play a significant part in your progress up the career ladder.
So whenever you start to feel angry, take a few deep breaths and think about the situation. Try to remain calm and see things from their point of view. This can be hard – especially if the boss is shouting in your face – but it will help you to remain focused and avoid a verbal backlash.
Remember too that just because your boss is losing it, doesn’t mean that you have to react in kind. If they’ve decided to start shouting in an open office, anyone could be listening – including the Managing Director.
Instead, wait until they’ve finished and think carefully about what you say. Something like: ‘I’m sorry you feel that way, let’s see how we can work it out’ is great because it’s noncommittal and offers a solution.
Get into the habit of documenting your work and recording all your accomplishments. So next time your manager decides to have a go, you can back up your statements with evidence of all your hard work. It’s a lot harder to argue with hard facts than simple statements. There’s no need to get flippant – hopefully your working record will speak for itself.
Sometimes talking things over can help you gain perspective but choose your friends wisely. Venting can be a great way to offload but if the boss gets to know it could spell trouble. Better to chat to someone outside of work rather than a colleague, who could be involved themselves.
Even if you’re performing well and everything is up to scratch, highly critical people will always find a way to complain. Working for this kind of boss isn’t much fun but don’t let it get to you. Look at the bigger picture and ask yourself if it’s truly worth an argument.
If you do need to confront the boss, be prepared to express your opinion behind closed doors. No manager will ever want their decisions questioned within earshot of other colleagues. Arranging to meet them outwith their usual office environment can also make the situation less threatening.
Finally, if you are going to challenge your boss make sure you can deliver viable alternatives to any problems you highlight. Just complaining for the sake of it rarely gets you anywhere.
Confronting management is tricky but it can also be a steep learning curve. Even bosses have bad days sometimes and shout for no reason. So knowing how to defuse tense situations can be a valuable skill.
That way, when you become the boss, you’ll know exactly how to handle frosty confrontations.
Image from The Office by BBC Comedy.