A Healthy Workplace
True Love|September 2020
Sometimes, getting ahead in your career isn’t just about technical skills and knowledge. It’s about having a good working relationship with your boss, too...
Norma Young

Monday mornings are always tough for Lihle Manzi*, a 32-year-old senior developer. Walking into the office, she often has no idea of the kind of day to anticipate because her boss’s moods are erratic. When it’s a bad day, there’ll be screaming, shouting, threatening of firing and public declarations of incompetency. “He once kicked three of us out of the office,” she recalls. “But, in his fury hadn’t explained if it was for the whole day or just a couple of hours. We were terrified. So, we sat in the cafeteria until home time in case he changed his mind and wanted us to work the rest of the day.”

Her department has high attrition because of its head, Manzi says. Currently desperately looking for another job, she’s worried that the current economic state in the country may make it difficult.

Though it is a tough and unfair situation to be in, life and career coach Slindokuhle Chuene says it is possible to make it more bearable; and perhaps one day, even more positive.

DETERMINE THE PROBLEM

There are many different reasons why bosses can become disagreeable. Understanding why they behave like this doesn’t justify their behaviour; rather, it can empower and guide how you respond to them. If the outbursts are occasional, see if there is a pattern behind the behaviour such as if they occur most often around payroll, month-end or just before board meetings. Knowing this means you can be on high alert, and ensure impeccable delivery leading up to times of high stress. “Your managers have their own fears, concerns and frustrations. When they aren’t able to maturely deal with these, they’re likely to take it out on whoever is nearby and an easy target,” Chuene explains. They evaluate your work, and perhaps could give you a raise or promotion. So, you will likely have to do some delicate balancing to maintain a functional relationship, even when your boss makes this difficult.

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