Use EQ to Handle Your Hot-Headed Boss

Well, maybe s/he’s not such a hot head. Maybe you did something to warrant a bit of frustration. Regardless of who’s in the wrong, if your boss yells at you it’s very easy to snap back and react in ways that can be destructive to your career.

In the Business Insider article, “6 ways to respond to your boss yelling at you”, author Kat George says “You’re beholden to your boss in a lot of ways, which means you can’t fly off the handle even when you want to. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stand up for yourself when they’re throwing a tantrum in your direction.”

Practicing your Behavioral EQ skills will easily get you out of such a pickle, so we’re here to give you some guidelines in appropriate responses to an exasperated employer.

First, we must understand that maintaining high Behavioral EQ is characterized by not only possessing Emotional Intelligence but also Behavioral Intelligence. What’s the difference?

Emotional Intelligence

  • Perceiving and understanding one’s own emotions and the emotions of others
  • Gaining insight into oneself
  • Exercising empathy for others’ experiences

Behavioral Intelligence

  • Recognizing the impact that emotions have on one’s own behavior and the behavior of others
  • Using this awareness to manage personal behavior and relationships

We must also have a thorough understanding of both ourselves and of others.

When our boss is upset, we are utilizing emotion perception to make this analysis. Through this aspect of EQ we understand and can see that they are upset, but might not necessarily understand why.  It is easy to jump to conclusions and assume what they’re upset about isn’t relevant or that they are overreacting, but by practicing listening skills and demonstrating empathy and openness we can gain a clearer understanding of their point of view. Maybe, they’re lashing out at you because they are afraid that their boss might yell at them for a mistake they didn’t catch. Taking the high road by understanding your boss’ concerns will impress and build credibility.

With the given information, it might be easy to resort to a place of defensiveness so we must also be aware of our own emotions during this time, and understand how our emotions might be coming off to our superior. Utilizing our self-control and stress management skills is crucial during this time and will allow us to convey a sense of calm and clarity. If we have made mistakes which are warranting our director’s outburst, demonstrating self-insight, or ability to receive feedback and be open to self-development, as well as being confident in ourselves will give us the assurance that we can fix the mistakes that we have made. We must also demonstrate conscientiousness, or the capacity to take personal responsibility for our performance.

We can then move forward to demonstrate our flexibility and innovativeness and demonstrate our ability and willpower to make the necessary changes that will enable success. This demonstrates not only your commitment to your job and supervisor, but your company.

If after thoroughly being open to feedback, and upon assessment, your boss’ temper tantrum isn’t your fault whatsoever, we then must practice influencing and motivating others.  If your boss is truly taking advantage of your role as hers/his subordinate, it is crucial you stand up for yourself. Setting up a time to talk one on one with your boss and make it clear how you are feeling is important. Practice your influencing others skills when discussing why his behavior doesn’t match the outcome of your work.

Kat George highlights that it’s important to always follow up. “When you’ve had a conflict at work, always follow up to see that it’s resolved. After you’ve been yelled at by your boss, follow up the next day to make sure everything is square. Whether that’s working towards the solution, or finalizing the solution, stay on top of it, and show that you care about your job and making things work. No one wants to be in their boss’s bad books, especially when that boss is prone to flying off the hook, so be proactive (which you should be anyway at work!) to earn your good graces back.”

Click here to read the full article “6 ways to respond to your boss yelling at you”.

To learn more about the Behavioral EQ Model click here.