What is the best way to deal with a moody boss?

Friday March 20 2020


By Caroline Mboijana

I usually come to work with great ideas, ready to share them with my boss only to find her in a bad mood. Sometimes this idea is what I need to earn a pay cheque. How do I handle such a moody boss? Roland.

Dear Roland,
This is an uncomfortable situation to be in, but it can be managed. It is important to recognise that “mood”, which is technically behaviour, is triggered by many issues that are not necessarily work-related. In determining how best to present your idea, it is important for you to understand the personality and interests of your supervisor so that you are able to influence her.

Before you present your idea, take a moment and ask whether you have linked your idea directly to your supervisor’s concerns – her goals and priorities.
It is important to get her agreement to the top-level issue, before you pile in with the detail.

For instance, is she a person who generally focuses on problems or opportunities? If she is a problem-solver, start by focusing on a shared problem and present your idea as a solution to it. You need to have a good relationship with your supervisor so that you understand where she is coming from and how you can be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem!

Find out when your boss has a flexible schedule and make an appointment so that time is set aside for your presentation.

It is important that you have thoroughly researched your idea and that you are open to receiving feedback that can help you improve it; without giving up on it, just because you receive a criticism. You will probably find your supervisor participating in developing your idea and making sure that it will be implemented. Good luck!


Caroline Mboijana
Managing Director
The Leadership Team (U)