Dealing with an unapproachable boss

May 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Workplace

If you’re like me, a typical American, you’ve worn at least a few hats in your life, which means you’ve had more than one job since starting your working career. If you’re like me, you’ve had to handle all sorts of difficulties and stresses in all manner of occupations, and it’s sometimes comforting to know that, should the walls cave in, you can confide in and turn to your management to be flexible and understanding, to give praise or to provide constructive feedback.

If you’re like me, nothing can be more thorny in a work environment than being stuck with an unapproachable boss. They’re distant or grumbling, petty or prickly, stuffy or uncommunicative, or just plain mean. They may see you so much as a subordinate, they wouldn’t stoop low enough to pat you on the back or deal with you directly. Lucky for us, there are ways of dealing with unreachable bosses, and it all begins in your head.

That’s right. Like the old saying goes, “If Mohammed won’t come to the mountain, the mountain must come to Mohammed.” Coping with an unapproachable boss is mostly a mind game, and you can win it with the right attitude and healthy mental conditioning. The first thing to do, therefore, is to realize that, inasmuch as you may want to change your boss, they are most likely not going to warm up to you, and if they do, it’s not likely going to be because of a sudden change of heart. The process is gradual, and the initial steps are going to have to be taken by you alone.

Because an unfriendly boss can be very daunting, you’ll need to check in with your own self-confidence. See if the meter is running high or low, and adjust the dial so that it settles near the top. You will need to do this because there’s nothing more deflating to your ego than a boss who makes you feel small, and it can really get to you after a while. Before long, you’ll be asking yourself if you did something wrong to deserve such cold treatment, and you will begin to take their distance from you personally. Whatever you do, don’t go there. Look into your own internal dialogue and see if you’re letting your imagination run away with the reality. Take care that you’re not projecting feelings of insecurity onto the way they’re acting. Remember, this is their issue, not yours, but you’re going to have to be strong in yourself.

Now that you’ve gotten the mind game down, it’s time to make good use of middle management. In many cases, that’s what they’re there for in the first place. If you cannot

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