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Ask an Expert WORKPLACE / DEC. 21, 2016
version 5, draft 5

My boss has become very demanding lately. How can I deal with him?

businessman talking to female colleague
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Dilemma:

My boss has been very grumpy lately, and I don’t know how to talk to him anymore. Other colleagues seem to be facing the same problem, but he doesn’t appear to understand this. While he has always been a difficult and demanding boss, he has never shouted at any of his employees.

But that was until the new guy made the mistake of interrupting him while he was speaking during a meeting. Since then he changed his behaviour towards everyone and doesn’t allow us to say anything that goes against his views. He has also started micromanaging us, and this means we can’t do our jobs effectively. The situation is getting so out of control that I am considering quitting my job. Is there any way to avoid this?

Kyriaki says:

I am very sorry to hear that you are having problems with your boss, but I don’t think you need to take such a drastic step as quitting - well, at least not just yet. Usually, when such things happen, it’s better to give it some time, have patience and wait for things to improve. Besides, from what you are telling me, the situation hasn’t been like this since forever.

If this is the case, it might be worthwhile to make the effort to understand where your boss is coming from. Being in charge of a business is not an easy job, and there are many things you need to be responsible for. Just try to empathise with him. Having employees he can trust in and rely on is crucial for the survival of the business, and he is the one person in charge of ensuring that everything works the way it should be. Also, what do you think happens when you add other, more personal responsibilities to the plate?

Just like it’s possible to happen to you, it’s easy to get lost in the endless sea of responsibilities that life provides and lose your work-life balance. This may result in becoming more anxious, bored at work or even lose interest in it. On the other extreme stress could be making you more controlling, frustrated and ill-tempered. However, there are certain limitations to everything and I do understand that there is only so much that a person can handle, including a demanding boss.

The solution to this is manning up and talking to your boss. If you don’t want to go in there alone, tell your boss that you and the rest of the team would like to have a talk. Perhaps you want to report the issue to a higher manager or someone who has direct communication with the boss. Alternatively, the best thing to do is to talk about it with the human resources personnel.

A human resource manager can take employees requests or demands directly to the boss, which makes the communication with him a lot easier. If there is no human resource manager, you can go to the head of your department and ask this person to speak on your behalf and other colleagues.  

Hopefully, this can help resolve the issue. Just let me know how it goes! In the meantime you might want to take a look at these articles to help you out:

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