Some bosses sure know how to ruin an evening. It’s 5:45, and you’re on your way out the door, and all of a sudden, you get a call, IM, or email asking you to stay late and finish a project. Sound familiar? Or maybe you’ve got a supervisor who’s always giving you assignments with super tight deadlines you know no human being can meet? It’s no fun when the boss starts making unreasonable demands, but as Dr. Suzanne Gelb explains in a great piece for the Daily Muse, it’s possible to confront your higher-up and put a stop to the madness.
According to Gelb, a life coach and career expert with years of experience, the key is to calm down, think things through and approach your boss like a reasonable human being. Scroll down to see her expert tips on “How to Deal With Unreasonable Demands from Your Boss.”
1. Keep the Anger to Yourself — Chances are, you’re not the only at your office fed up with the boss’ unrealistic, totally unfair demands but if you get into a “group-griping session,” as Gelb calls it, you’ll only hurt morale and kill productivity. “Plus, the absolute last thing you want is word to get back to your boss that you’ve been complaining around the office,” Gelb writes.
2. Release Your Frustrations Privately — Before you talk to your boss, you’ve got to calm down. Otherwise, you’re liable to lose your cool, and that could get you in hot water. Gelb advocates going home and taking out your frustrations on a pillow, either by whacking it with a knotted-up towel or screaming into it with all your might. Regardless of how you blow off steam, make sure it’s all dissipated before you knock on the supervisor’s door. “Get all of those feelings out of your system in a safe, private space,” Gelb writes. “That way, when it’s time for a face-to-face chat with your boss, you won’t be holding onto all of that bottled-up negativity. It will be much easier to express yourself with grace.”
3. Write a Script — Don’t go into your bosses office without knowing what you’re going to say. Your arguments will be much more persuasive if they’re nice and clear, and Gelb gives an example of how you might start the conversation: “When you [describe unreasonable demand], I find it hard to [describe how you’re not able to meet the demand]. This makes me feel [share how you feel].”
“Your boss is a human being, just like you—capable of doing extraordinary work, and capable of making misjudgments, as well,” Gelb says in closing. If you work for a robot, you’re on your own.