Difficult Boss or Difficult Customer?
Last week someone asked me for coaching on how to handle a difficult boss. When they described their behaviour I realised they were having to deal with an old friend (metaphorically speaking), the “Time Bomb”. Cue the dramatic music.
A Time Bomb is easy to spot – here are some clues. You are likely to experience:
- Their nit-picking – nothing ever seems good enough
- Them exploding (hence the nickname) for no apparent reason
- A feeling of being under personal attack
And for good measure they are often sarcastic!
They sound awful, so why did I refer to them as an old friend earlier? Because whether they’re your boss or your customer, along with the tough bits come some bonuses that make it worthwhile having a strategy to work with them.
The upsides of working with a Time Bomb are that:
- They sing your praises to other people. But you won’t know that as they won’t tell you how good you are directly
- If you’ve done everything right they are fiercely loyal to you
- Under the surface they are deeply caring (hard to believe at times!)
- Your competitors or colleagues give up because they don’t know how best to work with them
And the strategy is simple:
- Keep up your high standards
- No surprises and don’t confront them in public
- If they do explode, allow them to finish exploding before being clear and concise in what you want to say
- Don’t take it personally, everyone has the same experience
It may not seem fun but it’s very rewarding!