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How to deal with an irrational boss

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Is your boss irrational and unpredictable? And if so, what's the best way to cope?

On Lifehacker.com, writer Adam Dachis says the crazed boss puts his or her interests first, and is filled with rage and prone to mood swings, with inconsistent reactions to common situations.

If you're saddled with such a monster, he suggests putting as many people as possible between you and your boss. "Generally, communication works better when you speak with people directly, but when you're dealing with irrationality that's rarely the case. Let the messages flow through multiple people," he advises.

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If the boss sends a scathing message to you, for example, it might not sound quite as bad after it's filtered through at least one of your colleagues. Also, keep a log of whenever the boss does something irrational, with the date and time of the incident. If you ever need to lodge a complaint with HR, that record will be important. Writing down the details might also ease your frustration.

Try to get everything in writing from the boss, so you might have some protection down the line if an issue arises. At the same time, don't try to engage with the boss when he or she is in a flamethrower mood. "You will not win," he advises. "You may do some damage, but you're in no position to come out of that battle alive. It may be hard to suppress your anger, but let it out in a safe place."

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About the Author
Management columnist

Harvey Schachter is a Kingston, Ont.-based writer specializing in management issues. He writes Monday Morning Manager and management book reviews for the print edition of Report on Business and an online column, Power Points. More

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