Every human being on the planet goes through job pressure swings. Management teams, even the good ones, can go through moods despite the job skill of “emotional maturity.” How do you deal with a moody manager? Very carefully.
The best way to avoid issues with an angry bear is to stay away from the angry bear. So it is with a moody manager. If you’ve done a good job of setting up your work, you’ve already got most of what you need to do the job. So not interacting with a moody manager for a day could easily be the right course of action.
The day you have a moody manager is not the day you want to walk in and ask for a pay raise. Or a promotion. Or to review your 30-page presentation and ask for input. When people are under a lot of pressure, asking them to deal with even more complex issues makes things worse instead of better.
Consequently, if you need decisions from your moody manager, ask for simple ones. Ask for them in a binary way — “Should I do it this way or that way?” Binary questions ask for a simple decision and simple answers.
If you have a clue as to what the pressure is on your manager, one of the ways to break the pressure is to offer help. If you do offer help, make sure it is something you can do with no doubts of your capability, otherwise you get the opportunity to have tried to help — and failed. When your manager is under pressure, the manager will remember both the good and the bad in a pressure situation, so make sure you deliver.
When under pressure, managers don’t want a casual conversation about your life; they need to get things done. If you do interact with a moody manager, make sure you know what you need walking in the door (or cubicle), ask for it simply, get your answer and leave. That requires some preparation on your part; don’t miss doing it.
A Cubicle Warrior job skill is knowing how different people react under pressure and still effectively work with them despite the pressure. Using the tactics of not interacting with them unless needed, letting them make easy decisions, offering to help and making your interactions short and to the point will go a long way to build your skills.
The next time you are under pressure, watch yourself react to the requests of others. You might find these tips are what you would like from the people that interact with you.
What other tips have worked for you working with a moody manager?