Surviving the Moody People in Your Work Life
Maybe it’s a side effect of passion, intensity, or commitment, but some of the most interesting people I know have a moody dark side. Moody people at work are tough to be around. If it’s your boss it’s even trickier. It’s tempting to avoid the mood (and the person who wears it) and just try to survive. But if you can take the EQ high road, you may find a rich relationship waiting to be forged just below that annoying surface.
5 Ways to Get Past Moody People at Work
1. Find A Safe Way To Talk About It
One of my favorite bosses was one of these moody people at work. She had such highs and lows that her direct report team gave her two almost matching Barbie dolls for her bookshelf. The first was immaculately dressed in typical Barbie fashion, matching shirt, shoes and pearls. The other doll wore ripped clothes, had magic marker on her face, and hair that looked like it had been eaten by a cat. Our request was that she put the doll out that best portrayed her mood as a warning sign. We knew if ‘evil” Barbie was lurking, we laid low.
She accepted the gift with a smile (we chose a “good Barbie day”). She used the dolls strategically for our benefit. More importantly, she got the point when one of us went to her shelf and switched the dolls. Find a safe way to raise the topic.
2. Notice The Patterns
You wouldn’t force your kids to eat peas right after they woke up from a nap. If you’re dealing with moody people, notice the patterns and, whenever possible, choose your timing. I actually had a peer for whom I charted the outbursts to find the discernible pattern. I learned the triggers and timing. Our relationship improved substantially. Don’t screw this up by leaving the chart on your desk.
3. Understand Root Cause
When someone accuses you of being moody, your likely reaction is likely: “Well, I may be a bit tired, or hormonal, or stressed, but the issue is real.” Others feel that way too. It’s likely crankiness could be substantially reduced by addressing the underlying causes.
4. Don’t Reward The Behavior
Don’t coddle. If you succumb to hysterics, the tantrums will continue. Stay calm and suggest another time to discuss the issue. They may be angry if you walk away, but once they cool off, they’ll likely appreciate it (and you).
5. Keep Your Cool
Bad moods wear off, so immunize yourself from these moody people as much as possible. Recognize the behavior for what it is, and don’t take it personally. If it’s really not about you, then let yourself believe that. Of course, this takes us back to number three: be sure you understand your part in the moodiness mix master.