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Boss from hell

Foxed on how to deal with work front gymnastics? Shilpi Madan tells you how to deal with difficult superiors.

sex and relationships Updated: Apr 22, 2008 18:39 IST
Shilpi Madan

You may have won the Miss Congeniality title in high school, but your boss, Mr Cantankerous, makes it difficult to live up to that name now.

It's becoming impossible for you to smile through his idiosyncrasies. If you are foxed on how to deal with work front gymnastics, take heart. There are several ways of dealing with the situation effectively.

He's always right
"It may sound subservient, but you need to be calm when your boss rants. Tell yourself the boss is always right," says marketing executive Shikha Arora.

"Body language can actually prevent escalation of your superior's temper. For instance, nodding your head in agreement with whatever he or she is saying, at that particular moment," she says.

That tacit but obvious acknowledgement of his words assuages him or her effectively. If you feel you are actually in the wrong, admit it verbally to calm the tirade, before it turns vitriolic.

An apology will immediately diffuse the boss's anger. It can be difficult "Who says it is easy?" says Jatin Agarwal, a BPO employee. "When you put in long working hours and have to make do with an irritable and fastidious boss, it's like working in a pressure cooker-like environment. It affects productivity and makes for shorter levels of patience."

Of course, it doesn't help that you are berated in front of your colleagues. The trick lies in handling the situation with aplomb. Learn to respond to angry remarks in a calm, non-confrontational tone.

This demonstrates both respect and understanding as well as empathy while under fire. Of course, it helps that your colleagues understand the mechanics of the boss' behaviour.

Fall out
In many cases, employees start to scout for greener pastures. "I have over a decade's experience as a cameraperson," says Sattva Bagadia.

"When the new chief of bureau took over, she made the work environment unpleasant. I couldn't take the consistent throttling of creativity and put in my papers. What is the point of working at a place where there is no value for your self worth?"

In your own hands
Sometimes bringing the matter to the notice of the company's HR could help. But often, matters have to be sorted on an interpersonal level itself. You need to take a call whether your superior's demeanour is justified or not.