How to tell your boss to fog off

Published: 25 May, 2010 07:14 IST | Soma Das |

Two recent studies done in Europe show that working under a bad boss can adversely affect your heart. Here are five ways to deal with a bad boss, when quitting your job isn't an option

Two recent studies done in Europe show that working under a bad boss can adversely affect your heart. Here are five ways to deal with a bad boss, when quitting your job isn't an option

You don't quit your job, you quit your boss, might be a clich �, but two recent studies prove that working for a bad boss can be bad for your health too.

"Bad bosses require you to be on guard leading to a rise in stress hormone or cortisol levels. When you regularly get nervous or angry, this brings down serotonin or the relaxing hormone levels.

Hence, the first thing you notice, when handling a tough boss, is disturbed sleep and tiredness," states H'vovi Bhagwagar, clinical psychologist and behaviour consultant.

Such stress creates a weaker immune system, blood-sugar imbalances, high blood pressure, decreased bone density and increased fat around the stomach. Here are five ways to deal with a bad boss:

Your boss is not your dad

"One of the most popular theories of psychology suggests that the way we respond to our boss is how we responded to our parents as children," says Bhagwagar.

So, if your boss makes you feel "small" or ashamed, that's simply your automatic reaction to authority figures. Learn to identify that and behave with more maturity.

Watch body language

"Imagine this: your boss yelled at you, you said nothing but he got angrier. The reason could be your tense posture, disapproving expression and mutinous look in your eyes.

Remember, 55% of communication is non-verbal," states Bhagwagar. So, the next time you break into a sweat on spotting your boss, control your body language; stay calm, breathe evenly and keep an open posture.
Take a walk if need be or run down stairs to cool down. Avoid colas and caffeine as they make you hyper.

Accept the Criticism

If you have a fault-finding boss, keep your emotions at bay by learning how to "fog", advises Bhagwagar. To fog means to partially accept the criticism.

For example, say "I agree I need to work harder", which allows you to accept criticism without getting defensive.

Know your boss's triggers

Find out what ticks your boss off. Is it when someone does not CC them on an email, when you delay deadlines or when you argue back.

"Know what your boss cannot stand and avoid doing that as much as possible," says Bhagwagar.

"If you are wondering why your boss keeps picking on you, request a five- minute meeting where you can get their opinion of your work. Make it clear that you are excited about your job," she adds.

Watch your back

You may have office buddies but it's best not to vent to a colleague about your boss.

Says Bhagwagar, "You never know when your colleague may unknowingly relay the information to someone else and the final stop in the chain could be your boss."

Work stress is bad for your heart

A Danish study published in the Occupational and Environmental Medicine journal suggests that stress at work raises the risk of heart disease for women under 50 by 35%.

The Whitehall study carried out on 10,000 civil servants in the UK  claimed that working overtime is bad for the heart and people who work three or more hours longer on a seven-hour workday had a 60% higher risk of heart-related problems.

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