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Use a delicate approach with the sulky boss

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in Your Office Coach

Q: “My boss told me to always be direct with him. However, he has been avoiding me ever since I made some very frank comments about a serious problem. I have left notes asking to speak with him, but he ignores them. I don’t understand how a manager can be so childish. What should I do?” Snubbed Employee

A: The moral of this story is that employees should always be prudent and tactful when offering criticism. Managers may invite candid feedback, but they are only human and can get their feelings hurt like anyone else.

Your boss is behaving like a sulky kid, so you need to be the adult. Leaving notes will only compound the problem, so explain your concerns in person without expressing irritation or revisiting the controversial topic.

For example: “I’ve always felt that you and I could communicate well, but lately that seems to have changed. If I’ve done anything to create a problem, I’m certainly sorry. I just hope we can return to the kind of relationship we had before.”

Should your manager reply that nothing is wrong, just say you’re relieved to hear it, then drop the subject. If you continue to be open and friendly, eventually your chilly boss will begin to warm up.

People who pout can drive you crazy! Here’s the way to handle them: Dealing with Pouters and Sulkers.

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