Mood Reader

MH3 —  October 30, 2017

I have had some interesting conversations since my last blog post published last week.

One of them went something like this:
Them: “You didn’t talk about how to deal with a moody boss.”
Me: “Yes I did.”
Them: “No you didn’t.”
Me: “Untrue. My advice was all about how to deal with any boss.”
Them: “But moody bosses are different, you don’t know what to expect from them.”

I thought about this for a while and shared it with another friend who also runs an agency. They almost fell out of their chair as they exclaimed: “I am so tired of being accused of moodiness!”

“I am NOT moody!”, he yelled as his eyes sprung out of his head, froth erupted from his mouth, and the blood turned his skull red. Eerily I felt like I was starting in a VR mirror. Once he got out of the get-this-man-a-defibrillator zone, we sat and chatted about it.

Do you know it’s scientifically proven that the easiest way to put someone in a bad mood, is to ask them if they are in a bad mood? Try it! Or ask someone to try it on you. Now, do you believe me?

Perhaps your boss is a moody person. Perhaps they have a good reason to be, or perhaps they don’t see themselves as moody at all.

So let’s try to figure out your moody boss by looking at the following three scenarios.

Scenario #1: They arrive at the meeting in a particular mood. I can only speak to myself, as I have no ability to be a mood reader for anybody else. It would be foolish for me to pretend not to be perceived as moody in the conventional sense. Or in any sense. But I would also posit to you that much of what affects my moods is often not seen by people I deal with. As a business owner, you often have to deal with issues in isolation. You don’t necessarily have peers who you can share your issues with. Perhaps if you are experiencing moodiness from your boss right from the meeting outset, it is the result of some bigger issue to which you have no visibility. You may not like it, but you don’t have the right to demand otherwise.

Scenario #2: During the meeting your boss goes from a decent mood to an unexpected bad mood. The second driver of mood changes isn’t really mood-related, it’s situational. In this case, you should take stock of what is happening. Perhaps the work or information being shared is not meeting your boss’ expectations. Perhaps they are now creating scenarios in their mind, where this sub-par work is going to affect a larger initiative, or a sales campaign, a client pitch, or the management of another project. While you may be thinking about the specifics at hand, perhaps a pause and consideration of the overall scenario will help you understand the shift in tone. You may not like it, but you aren’t the first person who has been told by their boss to improve their output.

Scenario #3: Your boss is upset with themselves, not you. I can attest to being one of those people who gets more upset with himself than anyone else in my universe. It’s not a mature quality, but at least I am aware of it. Perhaps this is the same for your boss. It may be hard for you to believe this, but it’s not always about you!

So if you spend more time observing the person or people you work for, you might learn how they are going to react in certain situations. Put the knowledge to work and I bet you will both end up in a better mood.