It is Monday Morning. You walk into work and your boss is grumpy. What do you do? Do you skulk off to your cubicle? Do you turn around and go home – to later call in sick?
A grumpy boss can suck all the air out of a room. He or she can cause worry among the staff and lead to an overall negative work environment if something isn’t done.
Here are 5 quick tips you can use to disarm the grumpy boss and get on with a happy workday.
1. Directly address the situation – Ask your boss what is troubling her. This takes some guts but can pay off royally. Asking simple questions like “You seem a bit stressed, what’s wrong? Can I do anything to help?” Will deflate some of the most volatile situations.
However your boss responds (or reacts), remain calm. Breathe and pay attention. There is an old saying “people aren’t mad at you, they are mad at the person who came before you.” So there is a chance there is nothing you can do except be a sounding board. This can pay dividends as far as becoming a trusted part of the boss’s inner circle.
Now if the problem is YOU, then be prepared to take your medicine. But as a success oriented person, you should want to know when you make a mistake. Listen and acknowledge the mistake. If you feel it’s unfair, save that for a calmer time. But try to see the situation from your boss’s perspective. Overall, winners take responsibility – even if it seems like it’s not their fault.
2. Divert with good news – Sometimes all a boss needs to get rid of a bad mood is some good news. Good business news can turn his bad attitude inside out. So the time to drop the good news that you landed the new account or finally finished the major hurdle that stood in the way of a major project will divert Mr. Grouch into thinking more positive.
Think of diversion as a change of subject. It is a way to put the mind into another state. A simple example is if you are stressed, turn off the lights, close your eyes and think of sitting on a warm beach for 5-10 minutes. Don’t you feel more relaxed, calm and positive?
Therefore, don’t think of diverting your boss’s bad attitude as something bad. You are doing everyone at your office a favor.
3. A small gift – Warning: I am not talking about a bribe. Remember that your boss is completely human. Sometimes their spouse ticked them off on the way to work. Other times a friend may have let them down. A small gift like a piece of candy, a funny and pertinent cartoon clipping or an article cut out of a magazine you think she’ll like. Heck, you can even print up some of the articles you’ll find on this site. That’s sure to improve anyone’s day.
4. Ask if there is something you can do – Find out if there is something you can do to alleviate the situation. I am not suggesting you be the boss’s “whipping boy” by any means. Just get in there and solve some problems. If you can pick up some slack or take care of some small problem then your boss will be thankful.
5. Stay away – If you have tried prior 4 tips, and your boss is still flying off the handle, it is time for some distance. If he’s an absolute tyrant, now may be the time for you to do some work off-site. You might consider retreating to another part of the building – or your car – until the storm passes.
Now is definitely not the time to ask for any favors. When your boss is in a crabby mood, that is not the time to ask for a raise. It’s not time to ask for a leave of absence. Save your request for a calmer time.
Final thoughts: Realize that you can play a powerful role in how your office dynamics play out. You can help not only your boss, but your entire office, have a better day. It can be intimidating and a challenge, but I think you are up to the task.
I am sure some of you have some creative ways of disarming your bosses that I haven’t mentioned. Please share your strategies in the comments below.