Home Lifestyle Intimidating boss? To save your career, here are the best ways to communicate

Intimidating boss? To save your career, here are the best ways to communicate

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Intimidating boss? To save your career, here are the best ways to communicate

In the quest for a work-life balance, employees are juggling not only work commitments, family life and a challenging economy — but also job pressures that can take a toll on career productivity and performance. 

One particular issue that affects people’s careers is their relationship with their boss — and if a manager is intimidating, this can create a barrier to communication. 

To surmount this dynamic effectively, job experts shared strategies on how anyone can approach an intimidating boss in order to reach peak performance at work.

Focus on organized interactions 

Your boss’ style may not align with your personality — and if your boss is intimidating it can be a stumbling block and barrier to success on the job

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For better synergy, it may be worthwhile to have pre-set meeting times to recap business matters so that you aren’t worried about impromptu discussions. 

A meeting can be long or brief, but it should be organized, especially for those employees who feel that their bosses are intimidating or difficult.  (iStock / iStock)

“I would say the main thing is to prepare to meet,” said Rue Dooley, an HR knowledge adviser with the Society for Human Resource Management (shrm.org) in Alexandria, Virginia. 

A meeting can be long or brief, but it should be organized, especially for those employees who feel that their bosses are intimidating or difficult. 

Be prepared — and plan out what the meeting will cover. 

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“Organize your thoughts, and write down your points and concerns,” Dooley suggested. 

Eliminate unnecessary “extras” and stay focused on the primary matters at hand. 

“When employees take time to actually think about what they want to interact with their bosses about and they have an efficient, planned approach, the preparation itself builds confidence,” Dooley told FOX Business.

business team in a meeting

“It’s crucial to recognize that communication is a two-way street.” (iStock / iStock)

In addition, try to understand your manager’s communication style. 

“It’s crucial to recognize that communication is a two-way street,” noted New York-based Jenny von Podewils, co-CEO and co-founder at Leapsome, an employee enablement platform.

Consider if the boss prefers detailed reports or concise bullet points. 

Consider if the boss prefers detailed reports or concise bullet points. 

“Knowing this can make your approach more effective,” she said. 

Maintain your composure

Be intentional by remaining calm and controlled, said Dooley with the Society for Human Resource Management. 

He offered a few tips on how to keep centered. 

Business persons walking and working around the office building

“It’s a sign of professional maturity to seek clarification on the best ways to communicate and collaborate.” (iStock / iStock)

“Deep breathing, visualization of the conversation going well, seeing a positive outcome, and for some employees, even prayer — they all work, especially when used together before going into an intimidating situation,” he recommended.

Aim for in-person meetings if possible 

Face-to-face interactions are preferable to email correspondence, said Dooley.

“This gives the appearance of professionalism, seriousness and respect — and allows you and your employer to prepare adequately and to remain focused,” he said.

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But email can be used for calendar commitments and for follow-up purposes. 

“It is generally OK to use email to set up the time and date for the meeting, and after the meeting it is often acceptable to reiterate the main points and outcomes of the meeting in an e-mail,” he also said. 

Share your concerns  

If you’re uneasy about how to approach your manager for urgent matters, it’s acceptable to share your concerns about interrupting the boss when you feel you need to do so.

business meeting

“I always say that understanding a person’s history is understanding a person.” (iStock / iStock)

Expressing concerns about interrupting demonstrates respect for your manager’s time while also highlighting your eagerness to align work priorities, von Podewils with Leapsome told FOX Business. 

“It’s a sign of professional maturity to seek clarification on the best ways to communicate and collaborate,” she said. 

Work on building rapport

Try to build a relationship with your boss by finding common ground or interests to build a more personal connection, suggested Dooley with the Society for Human Resource Management. 

“Employees [can] set themselves apart by taking a genuine interest in the boss’ humanity and not just the boss’ influence.”

“Sometimes, understanding your boss’ perspective can improve the working relationship,” he said. 

Dooley also recommended learning a bit about your boss’ history. 

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“I always say that understanding a person’s history is understanding a person,” he added. 

young woman on laptop

Job experts shared strategies on how anyone can plan to approach an intimidating boss in order to reach peak performance at work. (iStock / iStock)

“I have found it strategic and helpful to actually ask the boss questions and not just questions about work — but also questions about their professional trajectory and things that matter to them.” 

So, for example, if a boss has golf or tennis paraphernalia around his or her office, it may be OK at the annual holiday party to inquire about an interest in golf, Dooley said. 

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“It’s usually advantageous for employees to set themselves apart from others by taking a genuine interest in the boss’ humanity and not just the boss’ influence,” he said. 

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxbusiness.com/lifestyle.

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