Ask the Experts

Worried Your Boss Doesn’t Like You?

“My boss loses his temper a lot. He gets angry with everyone, not just me, but his outbursts cause me to lose focus. And I can’t help but think that I am causing him to lash out. I have ADHD and am insecure. What should I do?”

If your boss is yelling, name-calling, or being physically aggressive, set up a meeting with human resources to talk about his behaviors. Be specific: Say, “He yelled, began waving his arms, and threw the report on the floor.” Don’t be judgmental or vague and say, “He acted like a loose cannon.” If a coworker witnessed the outburst, bring her with you to corroborate your complaint.

Thinking that you are the reason for your boss’s outbursts seems unfounded. For those of us with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a little worry can quickly escalate into full-blown anxiety. Too much worry exacerbates symptoms, hurting your performance at work. These strategies will prevent that from happening:

1. Challenge negative thoughts with positive thinking to short-circuit worry. Did you receive a raise or bonus in the last year? Did your boss compliment your work not so long ago? Use those facts to dampen your worries.

2. Tell your worry to a supportive friend, someone you share workplace gossip with. She may remind you that your boss vents his anger at everyone and may have an anger-management problem — something you mentioned to her in a calmer moment.

3. Limit or postpone worrisome thoughts. Set a timer and give yourself permission to worry, for a specific amount of time. Then say, “Time’s up. Back to work.” Writing worries down to mull over later also helps free you from them. Reading about something you worried about in the fresh light of a new day gives you the perspective and distance you need to see just how little evidence there is to support your fears.

The Human Touch at Work