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Respond to a boss’s challenge—unscathed

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in Dealing with Bosses,Office Management

An aggressive boss asks you to explain a “screw-up” or justify your “bad judgment.” Don’t rush to defend yourself. Instead, mentally rephrase the question in neutral terms before you answer.

Say your manager demands to know why you gave three employees the day off. You realize that what your boss really wants to know is what steps you’re taking to handle the workload.

So you reply, “Our group policy is to have no more than two front-line workers and one floor manager off duty at the same time. We hit that limit today, but we have a system in place to cover for them. Two will be back tomorrow and the third on Monday.”

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