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6 Tips for Dealing With a Moody Boss

Do you have a moody boss who is nice and charming one day, and throws a fit the next day? A moody boss is tough to work with, and every work day is like tiptoeing on broken glass. If you do have a temperamental boss, I hope these tips would prove helpful:

Try to understand what's really going on. There could be a host of reasons why your boss is moody, like 1) personal issues bearing down on his performance at work; 2) intense pressure from his own bosses to meet targets (with hardly any budget!); 3) a dwindling sense of self-confidence in his own performance or leadership.

Discover the triggers. Observe his mood patterns. Some detective work is in order here. What tensions trigger his outbursts? Where do these come from? Is it before or after meetings, deadlines for financial returns, or before an audit? Once you establish this, you would have a mood meter radar, and would know when to be around him and when to stay out of his way!

See if you are the cause of his frustrations. Be honest: Could you possibly be the cause of your boss' moodiness? (Just serving you some tough love here.) Could he be irritated by your poor performance, due to (come on, pick one) your consistent tardiness, your more-frequent-than-usual requests for leaves, time off, or special arrangements, failure to meet deadlines, not meeting your objectives? If any of these apply to you, then you know who needs to change. Clue: it's not your boss.

Get and give feedback. This is one reason to be thankful for performance assessment sessions. When your boss asks, "Are there any issues troubling you?", you could politely point out how his disagreeable or distressing behavior – yelling at people, constantly being on edge, having a bad temper or even fits of rage – affects the work atmosphere and your own performance at work. This conversation is a two-way street, so your boss may point out some defects in your own working methods and this can be really useful to help you improve.

Be a good listener. When you do get a chance to talk with your boss about this issue, listen well. Try to look into his or her valid points. Step into your boss' shoes, and like I mentioned, try to understand the sources of his frustration.

Another area where you could put your excellent listening skills to use is when your boss is upset. Unfortunately, when your boss is in the middle of an outburst, he or she is usually trying to make a point or get things done. Though he may unfortunately be critical of your work, your boss might actually have a point he wants you to act upon.

Try to record everything when things get serious. If your boss' behavior turns from simple moodiness to actual harassment, then you have to record everything that's happening. Documentation is important because your boss can simply deny everything or feign forgetfulness or claim a lack of awareness.There is a fine line between abusive behavior and having a bad day. Seek help from HR so they can actually get to talk to your boss about the issue. You have legal rights and there should be procedures in place to deal with bullying.


Boris Joaquin is a top-ranked public speaker and masterful trainer for leadership programs and other soft skills. He is a seasoned management consultant, being involved in various industries and business sizes, from multinationals to locally owned enterprises. Presently, he’s the President & Chief Equipping Officer of Breakthrough Leadership® Management Consultancy, Inc.

Boris is a registered Investor in People Specialist helping assess and advise other organizations to achieve their business priorities through the development of their people. You may be able to contact Boris at (02) 813-2703/32 or email



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