Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Angry Boss Survival Guide; Psychology: We All Make Mistakes at Work, but Don't Despair. Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Raj Persaud, of London's Maudsley Hospital, Explains How You Can Get off the Hook

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Angry Boss Survival Guide; Psychology: We All Make Mistakes at Work, but Don't Despair. Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Raj Persaud, of London's Maudsley Hospital, Explains How You Can Get off the Hook

Article excerpt

Byline: RAJ PERSAUD

SO, the worst has happened and you find yourself being "carpeted" by the boss. Something has gone dreadfully wrong at work and the buck stops with you. It's a nightmare scenario, but the odds are it will happen to you at some time. Don't despair, however, because you can still escape with your reputation just about intact - if you play things right.

In truth, the way you handle this situation probably says more about your chances of eventual career success than how you deal with the boss when things are going well.

What not to do

You certainly won't progress up the career ladder by smiling weakly at your irate manager and saying: "Well, nobody's perfect."

Nor is it clever to ardently deny culpability.

Your defensiveness will almost certainly create an unhelpful impression.

Whatever you do, don't get into a heated argument with your bosses - it'll only leave them with the feeling that you are impossible to manage.

The rare skill - and the one that could help you succeed - is handling your foul-up so well that you don't undermine the boss.

What you should do

The first key tactic is to never find yourself in a position where, when things go wrong, you are the only one in the firing line. If you have to defend yourself alone then something has gone awry. Always take people with you in the direction you are going so that you share responsibility for your decisions.

This doesn't mean you should blame others, however. It is simply a case of never being identified as the sole culprit or person in charge when things go wrong.

Just look at the way senior politicians operate: whenever things go wrong it is always a posse of underlings who carry the can. This is because the key senior personnel make sure any decisions appears to be group ones.

So, appear collaborative to ensure mistakes seem to be group-led.

Another vital issue is to consider what your boss is going to think about you after you've had your dressing-down. …

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