How to Stay Immune to Your Boss’ Bad Mood
“The leader’s mood is quite literally contagious, spreading quickly and inexorably throughout the business.” – Daniel Goleman
You will agree with Goleman if you have walked into your office with so much morale and enthusiasm but met your boss in an angry mood.
How did you feel at the end of that day?
Did you feel motivated or did you find yourself stuck in the swamp of despondency?
How your boss feels can literally determine your productivity, the accomplishment of your team and the well-being of the entire workplace.
If you have seen children take on the mood of the environment they find themselves in, you will see from that perspective how the air in your workplace determines a lot.
Young children tend to cry when they see their parents or siblings in tears. They laugh when they see their loved ones laughing and they never forget to always return that smile. They fall into your open arms and hold you with so much passion.
The same is true for your workplace dear friend. Every day, offices all around the world experience a decline or improvement in their productivity depending on their boss’ mood.
At the center of the universe is the sun. All the other bodies gravitate around it and rely on it for sustenance. The same applies to your workplace. Your workplace is like the universe, and your boss, the sun.
All the employees depend on the boss for guidance and financial wellbeing. The actions and intentions of the boss are important. But should you let his emotions get in the way of doing your job in the best possible way?
Emotions travel from person to person like a virus. But if you let your emotions get in the way of your job, things can get ugly.
If you want to be free from the effects and aftermath of your boss’ mercurial temperament and avoid contracting the virus going around, you can read on to see how the following suggestions will give you the inner peace that will help you remain calm during the tempest and the light that will keep shinning even in the darkness around you.
DON’T EAT FROM THE SAME PLATE – BE POSITIVE
“The more a man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.” – Confucius
As earlier mentioned, emotions travel from person to person like a virus. However, in order to remain unaffected by your boss’ bad mood, don’t breathe in the “contaminated air.”
If you arrive at your workplace all happy, motivated and lively, picture yourself leaving at the close of the day with those same positive feelings. What you think will be the outcome of work at the end of the day matters a lot.
Just because your boss is all grumpy and in a bad mood doesn’t mean you should be in a bad mood too. We attract what we fear. If your boss is in a bad mood, the office often fears the worst, and this fear tends to be fulfilled—goals seem further away and unattainable, meetings go bad and so on.
How do you keep your thoughts positive despite the negativity in the air?
When your boss starts ranting all around the office about things that are not working as planned, let your thoughts and attention shift to the things that are working according to plan.
Dwell on the projects that have been perfectly completed, and also on those going on just great. You shouldn’t allow the lapses in other people’s area of work to affect your own work.
If your boss is bitterly complaining about a project you’re not involved in, you don’t have to start scrambling around.
If he’s mad about a project you’re on, assure him that you’re doing your assignment in the best way possible and will be through within the stipulated time. Make sure the manager knows you’re on top of your own part of the project.
Neutrality is key and actually helps you fix the problem rather than being a part of it.
DON’T ASSUME IT HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH YOU
“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” – Dalai Lama
There is always an underlying event, an occurrence or series of events that add up to cause a bad mood. If you remember the last time you got angry, you didn’t just develop a foul mood.
There was definitely a cause, even if you might not be able to pinpoint. Perhaps you were thinking about the future and how uncertain it seemed to look, or about how your teenage son is handling his school work.
There are a plethora of events that could put you in a bad mood. The same thing applies to your boss. Your boss is also human. He probably has a home, kids or many other things he has committed himself to.
If something goes wrong with anything he is involved with, he might come to work feeling already pissed off and just waiting for someone to pour his anger on. Psychologist call this displaced aggression.
People tend to transfer their aggression to an easy victim that will most definitely forgive them and not to the source of the anger.
Since you have seen that you can get angry at someone who didn’t disappoint you or cause you any harm, it should give you peace of mind when your boss is angry. It is not always about you.
Don’t victimize yourself or fill your innocent mind with guilt. Guilt will kill your passion and morale for the job. If your mind always points accusing fingers at you when your boss is angry, you should learn to control your thoughts and truly understand that it is not about you.
Always remember that your boss is not an angel.
He or she would have shortcomings in some areas of his or her life too. There are many shortcomings that your boss may have. He may not have the best time management skills and maybe a heavy procrastinator, making him have too many things on his mind at a particular time.
Whatever the situation, if you haven’t intentionally done something you know could precipitate your boss’ bad mood, it’s safe and OK to presume that it did not originate from anything you did wrong.
SEARCH FOR THE LANDMINES
“Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.” – Maya Angelou
If you notice that your boss frequently has a bad mood at certain times of the day it week, there could be a pattern.
It is important that you pay close attention to your boss’ thunderous moods, and try to detect the pattern.
If you study and notice when your boss gets his foul mood, you might find out that he gets more agitated the morning before his weekly executive report is due, or that because of the stress at work during the day, he is more likely to erupt at the end of the day, or that he fumes when he gets a report on his child’s performance at school.
Whatever it is, try to pinpoint the periods he is more likely to be angry and take out his emotions on the team.
There are different ways you could approach the problem. You can either courteously address your boss if possible, or keep your distance if you think it is out of your control or literally none of your business.
If you choose to address your boss, for example, you could decide to turn in your portion of the weekly report early so that your boss can get a head start on it.
However, if you think his triggers are out of your control, keep your distance until he cools off. If you have discovered periods when your boss is most likely to erupt, it is better to avoid him during those times if possible.
Although, your presence in some scheduled meetings may be unavoidable try as much as possible to avoid too much talking during those times. Avoiding your boss may not always be a foolproof solution.
Some bosses do seem to specifically seek people to vent their anger on.
DO SOMETHING WITHIN YOUR POWER TO CHANGE IT
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.” – Maya Angelou
Don’t go all about the office complaining and talking about how the boss did this and that to you when he was angry. That’s what many people do, but you should be different.
If you want to stay immune to people’s bad mood, don’t complain about the problem, seek a solution! If you previous attitude was to complain, it is time to change strategies and techniques.
If the impact of your boss’ mood swings are taking a toll on you and making it impossible for you to give your best, you might want to confront your boss about a specific situation. If you have decided to do this, it should be done in with a calm and neutral attitude. Be specific, decide what you can do, and take action.
You might also want to use some tips from motivational speaker and life coach Brian Tracy. He gives a 10-step method of solving any problem.
A good approach is to sincerely and politely ask them if you can do anything to help them feel better. If your boss is angry, first find out the specific reason, decide what you want to do about it and take action.
For example, you may find out that your boss is specifically angry about a big project that is not going as planned. You could plan to approach him by asking him if there’s anything you can do to help.
If he gets sarcastic, it could be a sign that you’re probably not approaching the problem in the best way possible.
You could then ask your boss what he thinks would be the best way to approach it.
Some problems cannot be solved by you, but at least, you have shown your concern and he will always remember you for how you made him feel. It is possible your boss has no clue to how bad his mood affects the atmosphere of the workplace.
However, if you talk to him about it, he may get to realize he’s not handling his problems in an effective way.
You can’t control the events and circumstances, but you have the power and ability to respond in the best possible way to bring about the desired outcome.
You can’t control your boss’ mood—but you can control the way you react to them.
Remember, your boss’s state could be frequent but temporary. There was a trigger and his mood won’t last forever.
If you treat it as temporary, it is more likely to heal quickly and not fester like a sore for longer than it should.
Try to calm the stormy waves with comments like “don’t worry about that project, my team will give you a positive feedback tomorrow morning”, and so on. Use your creative mind to bring out new ways to address the issue.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
It could be difficult to look into the future if anything beclouds the lens of your telescope. Sometimes, it could be difficult to cheer someone in a professional setting, especially if it’s your superior.
It is important that you get your boss’ mind off the present problem and help him focus on the positive future. If you do this, it becomes more likely that you get them out of their present bad mood.
Ways of bringing about a shift to future includes:
- Talking about goals
- Talking about progress
- Talking about highlights
To bring about this shift, you could use some hopeful statement, or give a quick idea for a presentation at a meeting.
Try not to be too extreme and intense.
Keep it light, easy and casual.
You could check out this powerful video on how to be future-oriented. See
“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as good humor and laughter.” – Charles Dickens
If you have an idea of a little humor to lighten the tension at the workplace during when your boss is in a bad mood, try it!
Humor helps to take the mind off worries and it makes you feel invigorated when you get back to work to tackle that problem.
This could be a joke or funny youtube video you remembered.
Sometimes your boss might not join in the humor, sometimes they will. Either way, this small act will work as a quick way to shift the mood of the office and increase team morale
In order to help you know how and when to use humor at the workplace, you could see this video on how to use humor at work:
If you also wish to learn how to use humor in all aspects of life without appearing as a clown, you can watch this video on how to use humor in all aspects of life.
Your boss should not determine your productivity. The ability to function optimally notwithstanding the circumstance around you will qualify you for greater heights and positions.
Hold your head high, and conquer every circumstance.
I really do hope these tips helped. See you at the top!
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