Dealing With An Angry Manager
An angry manager can be a big problem. However, no matter how hard you try, upsetting them from time to time is inevitable. And, you know what? That is fine. You are human. It is OK to make mistakes and learn from them. Do not expect everyone in the workplace to like you, either. Maybe there is something about you that gets on your manager’s wick. Or, maybe they are just someone that has a lot of pent-up stress and anger that they have difficulty controlling. Regardless, the way you deal with an angry manager is crucial.
Instead of going at it hammer and tongs, be wise. Create a damage control plan to manage conflict in the workplace and put the bad blood behind you.
How to Manage Your Angry Manager
Below, are five ways to strategically deal with an angry manager, by minimising stress and controlling their anger without irritating them even more:
1. Never Put the Blame on Coworkers
Getting blamed for a coworker’s mistake does not just feel terrible. It also puts you in a difficult spot.
If you take the bullet for a colleague, you may compromise your reputation at the company.
Therefore, when a problem occurs, your natural reaction may be to bounce the blame away from yourself. It may be tempting to point the finger of blame at the wrongdoer and shame them in front of everyone.
Therefore, playing the blame game will present you as selfish and unemotional. Moreover, it may compromise your relationships both with your manager and the rest of the team.
In order not to frustrate your already angry manager, approach these situations with extreme caution. You do not have to accept the blame. Explain what happened without playing the blame game. Do that with a calm, neutral attitude.
If your behaviours or actions contributed to the problem, emphasise that you understand your responsibility and apologise. Own up to what you did not do right. Keep the apology short, honest, and effective.
That is how you earn respect and sympathy from your boss.
2. Find Your Solution to a Problem
Once you make a mistake, do not expect your boss or coworkers to resolve it. You do not want to give the impression that you are incompetent for the job or that you do not care about the problem caused.
In addition to supervising you, your angry manager has a lot of day-to-day tasks to handle. If you start complaining about a problem to a boss without offering any ideas and solutions, you will only annoy them.
Therefore, do the heavy lifting before bringing a problem to a boss. Come with a few ideas about how you can make things right. Write them down and show them to your manager.
That way, you will demonstrate your proactivity, autonomy, and solution-oriented mindset. Knowing that you are capable of working independently and dealing with stress and anger-provoking situations, a manager will trust you more in the future.
3. Avoid Making the Same Mistake Twice
Like I mentioned above, making a mistake is not a big deal. A manager will understand that. They will probably talk to you, explain the problem, and provide you with actionable tips on how to prevent it in the future.
However, if you make the same mistake again and again, well, you will make their blood boil.
The more often the problem occurs, the harder it gets for your boss to get over it. Seeing that you are not learning from your mistakes, they will perceive you as passive and untrustworthy. This will only exacerbate their struggle in controlling their anger, making them more combustible.
Therefore, think about why a mistake happened in the first place and how you can prevent it in the future.
If you have broken an important deadline, why not start using a calendaring tool or a task management solution that will notify you when the deadline is due?
Or, your company has recently migrated to the AWS cloud and you are not comfortable with this solution. If it impacts your performance, ask your manager to invest in the right training programme to help you and your colleagues. Apart from improving your productivity at work, that is a chance to build your cloud skills, achieve AWS certification, and prove you are eager to advance your career.
Remember, no one expects you to be perfect. Your boss only expects you to be aware of your roles and responsibilities. By demonstrating dedication and initiative, you will reduce anxiety in the workplace and be in your manager’s good books.
4. Do Not Ignore Problems
Let’s get back to the abovementioned problem of cybersecurity threats. Did you know that 40% of businesses say that employees hide IT security incidents to avoid punishment?
No matter how perfectly you play it out in your mind, the ostrich algorithm does not work in real-life situations. Sweeping a problem under the carpet is particularly useless when it comes to dealing with an angry manager.
Your boss will learn about the problem at one point or another. Your insincerity and unreliability will only get them ticked off.
Therefore, even when you are worried about what your angry manager will say or do, be honest. Good communication skills are critical in the conflict resolution process.
Address the problem at the forefront. Explain why you made a mistake. Directly collaborate with your manager and be proactive.
That way, you will come across as honest and manage to smooth things over faster.
5. Avoid Behaviours That Irritate Your Angry Manager
Always keep in mind that your manager, too, has a lot on their plate. Just like you, they have personal problems, pressures, deadlines, employee grievances, and maybe their overly demanding boss.
If they are struggling with controlling anger management issues, do not blame them. Instead of frustrating them, learn how to communicate with them effectively. Observe them for a few days to detect what behaviours trigger their meltdowns. Proceed extra careful about avoiding them.
For instance, if your boss flips when you are late, make sure you arrive at work on time. If your offices open at 8 am, plan to be there at 7:50 every day.
If your angry boss does not directly tell you what irritates them about you, schedule a one-on-one meeting. Ask them whether there is something they would like you to improve.
That can help your relationship on several levels. First, you will know how to avoid conflicts with your boss in the future. Second, you will demonstrate initiative and willingness to improve, which is crucial for your boss.
Dealing with an angry manager is not easy, but it is manageable. Approach conflict resolution strategically to avoid additional stress and anger.
If you have made a mistake, apologise without blaming anyone else. Show initiative and thoughtfulness by coming up with the solution on your own. Kicking back and relaxing while others are resolving your problems will only enrage your boss further.
Finally, talk about the problems honestly and avoid behaviours that irritate your manager (if they are reasonable, of course).
How do you deal with an angry manager?
For further tips and information, you can take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Conflict Resolution Skills and our Conflict Resolution Skills YouTube Channel. Also, check out our award-winning blog to see more Conflict Resolution Skills Tips and articles.