Marie’s Answer: Hothead bosses are immature managers who refuse to exercise any emotional control. They anger easily, lash out quickly, and make life miserable for everyone around them.
If you trust your HR manager, have a confidential conversation about your boss’s temper tantrums. Then consider the following approach to handling your interactions with him:
• When your manager acts like a child, you have to be the adult. Remain calm when he gets angry, and don’t add fuel to the fire. Wait till he settles down, and then try to have a productive conversation.
• Common sense should tell you to stop criticizing him. If you were locked in a cage with a lion, would you poke it with a stick? Your boss is in the power position, so antagonizing him could be hazardous to your career.
• Since he’s being sulky and petulant, take the initiative to begin repairing the relationship. Start a friendly conversation about some safe and pleasant topic. If you smile and speak normally, he’s likely to respond in kind.
For additional Office Coach advice on “managing up” see Five Types of Difficult Bosses. And remember that if the drama becomes too stressful, you can always choose to take your talents elsewhere. Life is much too short to be miserable 40 hours a week.