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Boss needs perking up

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Question: Any suggestions on how to perk up a boss who is being pulled into the pits of despair by a negative-thinking company president?

My boss has always been easy-going, but I can see the stress building up.

The company business is doing well. I don't know how to turn my boss away from the "dark side."  -- Anonymous


I don't know if your boss has believed in Jesus Christ as his personal Savior (or if you have), but a verse that always helps encourage me and others with whom I share it is Psalm 55:22 "Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you." This too shall pass. :)

When my boss was going through some personal family issues, I brought in a little bouquet of daffodils for her. It was like two dollars at my local grocery store and I know it made her happy and at least brought a little 'perkiness' to her office that day. Granted, this was a personal issue, but it was making things stressful and affecting her work.
I also think just having someone to talk to about other things in life is great. For example, my boss and I watch the same shows on TV, so we can converse about that. I just think that helps when your whole day might be consumed with more stressful things/deadlines, etc..., to have time to talk about things not related to work; even if it's only for a few minutes in the day.

I'm reminded of what my Father always said, "No one can make you happy except you yourself." I applaud your wish to help your boss get away from the "Dark side". However, only he can do that. I would suggest that you keep yourself looking on the bright side and remain as cheerful around him as you can be. I also agree with Beth that Psalm 55:22 is a powerful encouragment. Good luck.

People who fall into dispair can be suffering from many things. Worry, a hope or faith that is shaken, grief over a loss, loneliness, or even just dwelling on the "what-ifs" of life can send any of us on a downward spiral. If you have a trusting relationship with your boss, you could talk to him candidly about the changes you have seen in his demeanor and offer to listen. Sometimes that is all it takes to open up a well of emotions. Words are powerful for good or evil, and you could have an opportunity to encourage him in a heartfelt exchange. But be careful here. Such situations can lead to more involvement than you really want or even to the entanglement of inappropriate intimacy. Whether or not he shares his concerns with you, please encourage him to seek help through employee assistance, a close friend (male if your boss is male, female if your boss is female - again, to protect against illicit involvement), a pastor or a counselor and/or medical doctor. Negative thinking is a cycle that can be broken if he is willing to do the work and make the needed changes.

You can start by getting back to work and get off the enternet!

I am encouraged with Beth & Courtney's suggestion about the excellent bible verse (because people can no longer freely mention the Word or God for that matter without being scorned).

When my boss has been in that mood because of the stress, I encourage him by complimenting him. Reminding him of his accomplishments and how happy I am to have him as my boss. With sincerity, it is not being a brownnoser. Everyone needs to be complimented and reminded of what makes them great individuals. He is fortunate to have you!!

When I am frustrated or overwhelemed by what may be happening at my workplace I appreciate help. Sometimes I am so overwhelemed that I don't even think or have the time to ask and it is so nice when people offer or just handle some small tasks for me. If you know how to complete a task of your boss, just complete it for them and if you need permission to do so, just ask them, can I help you with this project until things are better. Also making sure that there is something positive during their day, like a lunch or even a complement on what their wearing or telling them they are doing a good job and you've noticed. Sometimes it just helps knowing that the people around want to see you stay "a float", it makes you realize it is not all bad

You can start by getting back to work and get off the enternet!

Posted by: Mandy | July 28, 2006 at 01:27 PM

Hey Mandy,

Are you serious !!???

Maybe Mandy is the negative-thinking company president!

Hey Mandy - give us a break! Besides you were on the "enternet" when you responded.

Anyway, it is possible that you can't help, because he/she controls how he/she holds stress. If you have a good relationship a candid conversation could be helpful. Perhaps there are other things going on that you aren't aware of. Also, bosses are people too, and encouragement is helpful, as is your willingness to chip in and help take the load off.

Mostly I'm echoing others comments above. Good luck! Generally negative thinking company presidents don't last that long, so hopefully this is true in your case.

I'm all for the direct approach. I would welcome anyone coming to me and saying "I've noticed lately that you seem to be under a little bit of pressure. I'm not sure how I can help but I want you to know that if there is anything I can do please let me know and I'll be there."

I also agree with Sandy and Jocelyn that a compliment is a great idea. Treat others how you would like to be treated. Perhaps something that might help you, may help your boss. Good luck and your boss is very lucky!

Being quietly and calmly supportive is sometimes the best way to help out in such situations. Try to keep your boss from having to deal with petty issues -- if there's something you can handle, then handle it; screen phone calls; keep office visitors to a minimum. If you go out for a beverage, bring one back for the boss. Don't try to 'cheer up' someone who is obviously dealing with some problems, personal or work-related. But, on occassion, it doesn't hurt to ask, "Doing okay? Anything I can do to help out?"

Maybe you could put notes in places where he will read it to remind him how well the company is doing, little factoids or such. Sometimes people just need to be thankful for what they have and being reminded of those things is a good place to start. He does need to find his happiness outside of himself and his surroundings.

I agree with Gayle. My department had four managers and I had been working for two of them. One of the other managers retired so her assistant was assigned to one of my former managers. Need I say my former manager took me aside commented how much she misses the little things I did to help her out during everyday as well as stressful situations. Even when things are going wrong a simple smile does wonders for anyone.

I agree with the others about offering a sympathetic ear and words of encouragement. You might want to give him/her a motivational tape or book. I read these types of books to keep me focused on positives. One book that I suggest is "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff... and it's all small stuff" by Richard Carlson, Ph.D. Sometimes we let other people dictate our moods or how we feel about ourselves. Reading motivational material help me from entering the "dark side".

I would tread very carefully in this area. How do you know that the boss stressed? Are you a psychologist or other trained health professional? Maybe the company is doing well, but the President has a low opinion of your boss because the work isn't up to his usual standard, or maybe there is even a personality conflict. Your boss has to work this out himself. If your compnay offers an employee assistance program, you might put the brochure about it on his desk. You might also read "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" or "Who Moved My Cheese" motivational books to see if they would be appropriate for the boss. Then: "I read the most wonderful book (fill in the blank) and I was really struck by the following thought (fill in the blank). What do you think? You don't really want to get involved on a more personal level, as this person is you boss.

I agree with Gayle. When things are not going well for my boss, I go into his office, shut the door and ask him if he is okay and what I can do to help. He knows that he can "vent" to me and that everything said will go no further.We have a mutual trust. I understand the pressure he is under and sometimes just talking about the frustration puts it in perspective and by the end of our converation I get him to laugh about it. The laughter is very important. It removes some of the pressure if you can laugh at yourself, not to mention upper management. On the other hand, I also know when not to interfere.

I would strongly suggest not to quote bible verses in the workplace. Not only is it unprofessional; it can be very offensive to people who are of a different faith or people that do not belive in religion or Jesus.

There is nothing "unprofessional" about offering a bible verse to someone who needs some uplifting. You know your boss, and should be able to tell if they would be open to this kind of offering. Sometimes this small gesture can make a huge difference to someone who is hurting and give them the courage to either handle their current situation or change it.

To Mandy, you're an A-Hole!

I've worked in Human Resources for several years now, and understand the statement about not quoting Bible verses in the workplace; however, if you are a believer, as I am, you KNOW who your real boss is, and quoting Scripture is something we know is the only true help for those in need. As for Mandy, I have a feeling that Mandy could use a little TLC herself. I'll be praying for you, Mandy, as well as for the person who made the comments back to Mandy. If you can't say something constructive or that will build up the other person, it's best left unsaid. As Sue mentioned, you should know your boss well enough, if you're approaching him/her. The Holy Spirit should be your gauge as to whether Scripture is appropriate for that occasion. Pray about it before you do anything.

Religion should be kept of of workplace. I work with Muslims, Budhists, Hindus and people of Jewish faith and they have enough respect to not discuss their beliefs or quote their scripture in the workplace. Sometimes just showing you care by offering a sympathetic ear is all that is needed.

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