Just like with anything else in life, your attitude and mindset play a big role in how you deal with the distinct set of challenges having an angry boss presents. This isn’t some feel good ‘believe it to achieve it’ rah-rah pep talk. This is the real deal. If you are tired of your angry boss frustrating you, making you paranoid, depressing you, or otherwise making your life a living hell, keep the following tips in mind. The problem with your angry boss might not be your boss-it might be you. Seriously. Learn how to finally get over having to deal with spawns of hell in authority roles.
Realize that your angry boss is an unhappy person
Anger has its time and place as an emotional response. In certain specific situations, anger can be healthy. However, in most work situations, responding to coworkers in hostility is not good for anyone’s health. If you want to be at peace with the fact that you have an angry boss, you have to remember that her or his unhealthy anger is a bad coping mechanism. Obviously, your boss reacts to certain triggers like reports being late, meetings not going as well as planned, or operation setbacks from in a less than optimal way. Anger doesn’t motivate enough. Anger burns relationships and causes tension. Your boss is obviously stuck in communicating her or his emotions in one restricted way: anger.
Once you accept that your angry boss is simply communicating disappointment and trying to cope (albeit badly) with stress, your boss’ usual rants and other displays of aggressive hostile behavior makes more sense and you can live with it. Accept the fact that he or she is an unhappy person with a very limited emotional vocabulary. Move on after you realize this. Think of it as like discovering that schoolyard bully who gives you a hard time actually has ADHD and might be mildly mentally handicapped. Instead of viewing your boss with equal anger or scorn, instead you feel bad for the person and you treat her or him accordingly. By emotionally distancing yourself from the need for revenge or taking the brunt of the emotional rawness of your boss’ anger, you maintain your cool because you understand where he or she is coming from. Your superior’s anger is no longer personal. It now belongs where it should-squarely in your boss’ personal life.
Separate the good person from the anger
Once you are able to emotionally separate your emotions from your boss’ anger-based coping mechanisms, the next step is to focus on your boss as a person. Let’s face, it is very easy to caricature an angry boss as a person who makes it his or her job to make your working life a living hell. It is very easy to view your boss as the enemy. However, you have to keep in mind that your boss is obviously doing something right or else he or she won’t be your boss.
If you want to succeed in your job and learn the skills and attitudes you need to continue to climb your career ladder, you have to learn to separate your boss from your boss’ coping mechanism. Reacting badly is just what he or she does. Don’t define your boss by his or her anger. In the same way hammering a few nails in your life doesn’t make you a carpenter, the fact that your angry boss is hostile in certain situations or at certain times of the day doesn’t mean you can define your boss as just an ‘angry person.’ Nobody deserves to be defined by just one part of their lives. In the same way, our jobs don’t define us, our emotional states don’t define us. We are far more precious and valuable than that. By focusing on this realization and living it, you go a long way in not only doing well with an angry boss but doing well in life in general.
View your angry boss as a test of character
In this day and age, most people aren’t interested in developing character. Problems are meant to be overcome as quickly and painlessly as possible. The whole idea of having to work through a series of challenges so you can come out at the other end a stronger, better, and wiser person sounds, well, antiquated and often downright corny. We want our results in 30 minutes or we demand a refund. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. There will be circumstances where you won’t have the luxury of convenience. In such circumstances, you face a choice: you can learn from the experience and develop new character traits or you develop a negative, resentful, and, ultimately, destructive coping mechanism. It is your choice. You can make progress or you can make excuses. This is precisely the kind of challenge an angry boss provides. It is a worthwhile challenge to face because there many things out there, regardless of what TV ads might lead you to believe, that you can’t control. By developing the right character in the face of challenges, you go a long way in developing practical coping mechanisms that can help you achieve positive outcomes in many other parts of your life.
The bottom line is clear: instead of looking at your angry boss as the problem, maybe you need to view him or her as the symptom. The larger issue is how you respond to challenging situations. By using the coping mechanisms, mindsets, and approaches above, you can go a long way in not just handling an angry boss but handling life in general. We’d all like to think that we have life all figured out. We’d all like to think that we have our lives under control. Sadly, it only takes a few changes for things to quickly spiral out of control. Still, our lives are our responsibility and we need to focus on mastering how we respond to situations, people, and things to ensure we get acceptable outcomes. This much is not going to change.