Overcome the fear of your scary boss to work more effectively
Dealing with Difficult Bosses
Workplace relationships are a tricky thing. You spend so much time together and are expected to work together to produce results in spite of your different working styles. Dealing with colleagues may be slightly easier because you could outright confront your differences and ways of compromise through open discussion.
Doing so with your boss is slightly more challenging. You usually need to conform to his style of doing things, or risk his or her bad impression of you. Talking about how to work better would likely be seen as a challenge of power or symptom of disrespect.
These few weeks, I am focusing on typical difficult boss Enneagram types and how to deal with them. If you see some of these traits in your boss, it might be time to stop begrudging him or her, and take on my advice to improve your work relationship. In my last post, we looked at a type 3 boss, the overly efficient boss. This week, we get a glimpse into why the type 8 boss can be so intimidating and how you can overcome this.
Traits of Type 8 Bosses – The Driven Boss
Type 8 bosses, or the challengers, are typically driven, focused and decisive. At the same time, they may lack empathy, can be angered easily, assertive and confrontational. They have an intense energy that often evokes intimidation. At the root of their scary demeanor, they are generally just very straightforward people.
Furthermore, although they do not seem vulnerable, they are very good protectors and are protective of his people. Once your boss sees you as a valuable, honest and trustworthy member of his team and someone that deserves respect, you can trust that he always has your back.
Dealing with Type 8 Bosses
1. Keep it Short and Sweet
Understand that they simply dislike beating around the bush. As such, they usually just want the main points in a few sentences without taking up much of their time. So if you are someone who likes using a context or to create an onset to the main points, your boss may find you long-winded and be frustrated that you are wasting their time. Stick to the main points and remove any unessential contexts or examples. Only share the context when he gets interested, asks or has the time for it.
2. Create a Time Limit
To capture your boss’s full attention, before speaking to your boss, begin with the onset that you will only require a few minutes of his or her time – “Okay give me 5 minutes to tell you about this”. This creates an expectation of how much time you need of him and her, and the short time limit will ensure that your boss has his or her attention on you for all of that time. If you see that your boss is interested after the main points, expand with the context or examples.
3. Dare to Say No
Your boss is a good bulldozer. He is used to hearing a resounding yes and co-operation to his ideas because he is assertive. However, if you disagree with him, do not be afraid that he will be dismissive. More likely than not, he would appreciate your honesty and sincerity and sees you as a worthy adversary to his ideas because you are willing to give feedback.
Remember that it is important that you do so with logical arguments backing your disagreements, while standing firm and not being overwhelmed by his intense energy. Remember to keep it short and to the point – “You are right about this, there is something wrong with this other part. Give me two minutes to explain why…”. You will be surprised that he will be impressed by your courage to be a sparring partner and respect you as a buddy now!
4. Do Not Take it to Heart
Your boss may appear as if she is talking without thinking, and the irony is that that is probably true. They are emotionally driven, usually by anger. Their driving emotion ranges from irritation to agitation to anger. As a result, they react very intensely to situations.
However, when they realise that their intense reaction is not working, they often go back and reflect on the situation, and may reflect differently from then. This can happen when you dare to push back, say no, and put your points across in a logical fashion. Do not take a few bad encounters with your boss to change your attitude to her or your job. Try to take the situation with a pinch of salt and persist through it.
5. Do Not Grovel to Make Him Like You
Your boss may not perceive kindness as something they deserve. They tend to have a high threshold for pain, which allows them to brave through any tough situation, thus the intense energy. Sometimes, they may associate kindness with ulterior motives. As such, trying to suck up to him is not the way to go. Instead, if you tell him outright what the catch is, he may appreciate it. Just be upfront about it – “Honestly, I am doing this simply because…”