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It is said that most people leave their jobs because they want to leave their bosses and not necessarily the organisation. However, resigning because of a difficult manager is not necessarily a solution as there is always the chance that you will find a similar – if not worse – manager at your new workplace.
Therefore, it is advisable to learn the art of handling a difficult boss no matter where you work; and here is how you can do this:
1. Analyse. Begin by identifying the reason for friction between you and your manager. Does the problem stem from a particular incident or event, from a misunderstanding, or is it simply a personality clash?
2. Converse. Once identified, address the cause of friction with your manager at a mutually convenient time; in all probability your boss will be unaware of the challenges s/he presents you with.
3. Priming. Begin your conversation by ‘priming’– using phrases that will psychologically prepare both of you to tackle a potentially challenging situation. For example, start by saying: “I have been contemplating talking to you about an issue and I believe you can help me address it.”
4. Effective communication. For effective dialogue, the three ‘Vs’ of communication (verbal, vocal and visual) need to be aligned, since your choice of words, tone of voice, body language and facial expressions affect communication. Remember – do not get too emotional.
5. Patience. Give your boss some time to absorb the situation and address the issue, as it is not easy to listen to critical feedback, let alone accept it.
Depending on your organisation’s culture, you can also seek advice and guidance from the HR Department or a mentor. But be aware that this could have an adverse impact, if your boss hears about it.
If things still do not work out, as a last resort, seek a transfer to another department or change the organisation altogether.
– Muhammad Muneeb Kidwai
The writer is a trainer, teacher, author and coach currently associated with a leading telecom company. firstname.lastname@example.org.
First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on October 27, 2013.