ASK HR: My boss reacts under pressure, how can I raise this matter?

Thursday October 11 2018

My boss can get very disagreeable when he is under pressure and I am afraid this could scare away our clients.

My boss can get very disagreeable when he is under pressure and I am afraid this could scare away our clients. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Q. I have worked with my boss for about two years and I can say that I know him fairly well, in terms of his rhythm of work. What is the best direction to take when he overreacts simply because he is having a bad day and not for any solid reasons? He is generally a very amiable person but can get very disagreeable when he is under pressure and I am worried that this could push away some clients.

Your sentiments are in good faith but may put you in a collision path with your boss. Always remember that even if you perceive that you understand your boss, there is a professional boundary that you should never cross and must respect.

Could this be your own opinion? Have your colleagues in the department observed this reaction from your boss?

There are many approaches that you can choose from; depending on the organisation you work for. Consider getting insights from your clients to countercheck if this is a challenge that affects them. You could suggest that your organisation conducts a client survey for this.

Some organisations have 360-degree feedback, where the performance tool gives an opportunity to assess both peers and superiors. This is usually anonymous hence there is no fear of retribution from your supervisor.

Employee feedback survey, is an avenue through which an employer allows employees to comment or give views on areas of challenge, improvement and opportunities within the organisation. This issue should be highlighted with the intention of assisting the manager and not as a witch hunt.

The other option is to engage the HR department to identify the intervention your supervisor requires in order to improve on his interactions with clients.

During your appraisal discussion; an opportunity might present itself whereby your boss asks for feedback about himself.

You can take this opportunity to tactfully bring out your concerns. Otherwise my advice is that you cannot approach this issue directly with your boss, since he might take it as a personal criticism which might interfere with your work relationship.

It is unlikely that you are the only one who has recognised that weakness with your boss, I am certain his supervisor most probably is also aware. Why don’t you let this issue be handled at that level?

If the pressure your boss is going through is work related, you could consider stepping up and taking up extra responsibilities and thereby relieving him off the stress.

Approach him when he is in a good mood, it might surprise you that you could be the solution to his outbursts.


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