The right attitude toward work and the workplace is essential – whether you’re the employee or the boss. So if your manager displays hostility on more than just an occasional basis, you need to take the right steps to change the situation for the better.

Research reported by the Journal of Applied Psychology has shown that trying to avoid your hostile manager, or plotting ways to retaliate, are not effective tactics. By the same token, it doesn’t help to try going above and beyond to help an abusive supervisor, or by being extra nice or empathetic.

So, what options do you have?

What Works

Like most problems, the first step to a solution to a hostile manager is finding the root cause. From there, you can work towards resolution.

  • Start by not taking it personally – unless it is. Self-examine the situation. Look honestly, with objective outside help as needed, and determine what factors may be contributing to your manager’s hostility. Ask yourself, “How much, if any, is me?” Unless you do this, you might take follow-up actions you later regret.
  • Emotional disengagement helps. Chances are, your boss’s hostility has nothing at all to do with you. Detaching can be hard, but it’s effective. You might want to try some mindfulness meditation: Focus your attention solely on observing the negative emotions your manager’s behavior arouses in you. Just “watching” these emotions, as though you were observing a character in a movie, can be very helpful. You will begin to experience a sense of managing the actual dilemma and its impact.
  • Create a buffer zone. Visualize a “space” between your own emotions and how you choose to deal with them. If you don’t, you risk saying or doing something unhelpful or damaging. Stay aware of which of your buttons your boss pushes. This buffer zone further strengthens your self-awareness about the whole issue.
  • Proactively communicate. Ask directly about how you can help. This generally works better than avoiding or circumventing necessary objectives. Express calmly, clearly and professionally how your manager’s words or actions are affecting you. Make a behaviorally specific request regarding how you need to be treated in order to be more effective.
  • Focus on your overall career goals. You may want to update your resume and begin looking for a new position. If this is the case, work with a qualified recruiter to find a better position. Don’t contribute to history repeating itself.

As you deal with management or related workplace issues – or if now is the time for you to make a career change – consider partnering with PrideStaff Fresno to keep your career strategy on track. Contact us today so we can discuss the possibilities!

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