Skip to content

UXL Blog

Creating Successful Leaders

Tag Archives: keeping a confident calm

When your manager is difficult

They’re always wearing a frown, criticizing staff, and shooting down ideas. They are a storm cloud, blocking out sunny moods and lightheartedness. They are difficult managers.

Many of us have had the unfortunate experience of dealing with a difficult manager at some point or another. It’s amazing how a single person can sour the mood of an office, isn’t it? Their callous attitude can bring everyone down, deflate motivation, and squash innovation and creativity.

How can you possibly defeat such an energy vampire? Isn’t it easier to simply quit your job and find better management elsewhere?

Even though it can sometimes be difficult to overcome an unsupportive manager, there are a few methods you can try before raising the white flag and heading somewhere else. Start with the following five tips:

Remain calm

The way you react to your manager can have a profound effect. If you return a snippy attitude with snippiness, or if you return anger with anger, you’ll only end up more frustrated. Instead, work on detaching yourself from your manager’s poor attitude. The next time he riles you up, remove yourself from the situation (physically or mentally), count to ten, and think about the encounter logically. Is it worth it to respond in kind? Probably not. Instead, find your inner calm and return childish behavior with calm reason.

Refocus

Although it may take significant effort on your part, it is best to focus on a task, not the criticism. Unless your manager has good reason for her critiques, it is best to let them slide off your back. Strategize and forge ahead as best you can, keeping the goal—not the criticism—at the center of your mind.

Be direct, if possible

Sometimes, it’s a good idea to be direct with your manager. If one of his criticisms seems off-base, ask him to explain what he means and how you and your team can perform better next time. Alternatively, you might try bringing up your feelings in a one-on-one meeting with your manager. Let him know how you’re feeling, why you’re feeling that way, and what would make the situation better. Use the D4 model of feedback as a guide and be sure to bring up specific examples.

You’ll have to be brave to directly face your manager, but honestly, what do you have to lose? Sometimes a direct approach can be a breath of fresh air. It’s possible your manager is unaware of the profound effect of his words and actions and simply needs someone to point it out.

And if your directness completely flops? It may be a sign that it’s time to move on to greener pastures (but be sure to consult a career coach before doing anything too drastic!)

Have perspective

An article by Liz Ryan of Forbes Magazine encourages us to see our difficult managers as minor parts in our lives. She says, “Eventually you reach a point where no manager can make you fearful, because you realize that any boss is just a bit player in your movie. You are the director and the star. You could leave any boss at any moment and it wouldn’t kill you — it wouldn’t be ideal perhaps, but you’ll survive. Keep that in mind!”

Ask what you can do better, specifically

It’s possible your manager’s expectations are simply not aligning with your work. The only way to find out is to ask for specific feedback on specific projects. Small changes in your work may have a big impact on your boss’ attitude.

Be empathetic

If your manager suddenly becomes more grim and angry than usual, it’s possible she’s going through a rough patch in her personal life. Many of us leave our personal struggles at home and cover up hardships as best we can in the workplace. This might be the case with your difficult boss. With that in mind, be empathetic and understanding. Don’t take harsh words too personally. Remain calm and talk to your boss as an individual, not as a brutish machine, out to get you. Your empathy may make all the difference.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

young-791849_640

At one time or another, we all must deal with a crisis or emergency, whether at work, at home, or out in the world. While we can never know where or when these events might occur, there are steps we can take to ready ourselves for when that time comes. When we have trained to navigate a crisis, we can remain calm. Remaining calm can give others peace of mind; this will encourage them to focus on the task at hand, and remedy the crisis, instead of worrying about possible outcomes. Here are four strategies for remaining calm during a crisis:

 

Have a Plan: Chances are, your building or office has a first aid kit on site and fire evacuation plan established. It is just as important to plan for business-related crises. With a plan in place, you can tackle a situation proactively, rather than reactively. While there may be no way to plan for every possible scenario, there is value in preparing for potential crises, such as handling a hesitant client or defusing a public relations issue. With a clear crisis management plan, team members can efficiently collaborate to address the situation and begin to execute the plan.

 

Breathe In, Breathe Out: When under mental or emotional stress, your body physiologically reacts; with rapid breathing and increased pulse, your brain may be too worried about your well-being to concentrate on the crisis in front of you. Turning your focus to your breathing for a few short minutes can return you to your previous state. Try breathing in through your nose for five seconds and exhaling out of your mouth for seven seconds. Now, with a calm body and mind, you can pay attention to the current emergency.

 

Be Your Own Cheerleader: The concept of fake it until you make it has some credence to it; even if you don’t always feel confident or brave, telling yourself that you are can help boost your self-esteem. Out loud or in your mind, tell yourself that you know you’re smart and capable enough to conquer the task before you. This is a strategy that you could use every day; that way, when crises arise, you may not need the internal pep talk like you did before. Additionally, when you emanate this confidence in front of your team members, they are more willing to rally behind you and have trust your capabilities.

 

Practice Mindfulness: In moments of crises, your mind can flood with what-if thoughts and negative outcomes. When you practice mindfulness, you can concentrate on the current task without being distracted by unhelpful thoughts and emotions. This allows for better ideas for crisis resolution in a shorter amount of time. If you want to train yourself to be more mindful, you can practice outside of work: focus on each step you take as you walk the dog or concentrate on each dish as you wash it.

 

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

Tags: , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: