Managing Your Boss When They Are Stressed

You’re under pressure, but your boss may be under even more!

How can you deal with a boss who may be stressed and taking it out on you?

Well, think first what it is that is actually causing the frustration.

Be aware of the pressures they are under.

Is it a client problem? Financial difficulties? Poor time management?

Whatever it is, work on helping them cope or reduce the impact.

You might try something like… “Tony, you said at last week’s meeting how the xxx account is taking up so much of your time at the moment. I’ve got some ideas I’d like to bounce off you where we can take on some of that responsibility and help you deal with the time issues. It will mean moving some priorities, but I think we can manage OK. Do we want to hear what my suggestions are?”

Here, we showed how we are aware of the boss’s frustrations, did some research to see how we could help and then came up with some solutions to the situation, rather than adding to the problems.

Hopefully, a reasonable boss would at least give it an airing. Present it in a way that they like to see things.

View it from their perspective…are they big chunk thinkers or detail-oriented? Are they visual? Can they work through the ideas with you at speed or do they need time to think it through?

By being on their wavelength, you have a better opportunity of communicating the message effectively, and maybe the stress they are going through can be helped by your approach.

Thanks again


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   

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Updated on: 8 September, 2010

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