How to handle Angry Boss, The Zen Way!

While handling angry boss I am always reminded of an old Zen story. Here it how it goes:

The Story of Akkosa


In the Akkosa Sutta (sutra), a renouned brahmin Akkosaka Bharadvaja heard that a Brahmin of Bharadvaja clan had gone forth from the home life into homelessness and had just become a disciple of the Buddha.  Outraged, Akkosaka went to Buddha to give him  his piece of mind – he hurled abuse and insulted Buddha, telling him what he thought of him in no uncertain terms.

Buddha listened to Akkosaka patiently but remained unmoved in the slightest by the barrage of insults hurled by Akkosaka and inturn  asked the brahmina simple question:

“Do you sometimes receive visitors as guests?”

“Yes I do” replied Akkosa.

“And when they come, do you offer them food and drink and courtesies?” asked the Buddha.

“Yes, sometimes I do” Akkosa said.

“So what if your guests don’t accept what you offer to them – where do the food, drink and courtesies return to?”

“They return to me of course!” Akkosa answered.

Buddha replys “so Akkosa, you came here today, hurling insults and abuse at me.  I do not accept what you have offered.  So where do these insults and abuse return?”

Akkosa got the picture.

Isn’t that so funny!  Akkosa was even won over by how calm the Buddha was in the face of insult – how the Buddha didn’t retaliate with anger against his angry attacks.  Akkosa was also won over by wisdom.

If you have just been yelled upon by your boss because you messed up a major project, no need to panic, admit your mistake , apologize and vow to yourself to never let it happen again. But if there was no basis for his/ her anger you may be in an unfortunate situation of working for a perpetually angry or moody boss.


However before you make a further choice to respond these 5 Zen tips if practiced regularly can alter your personality into a calm and highly potential being.

1. Don’t take criticism personally

Certainly, this is easier said then done but it is critical to put their behavior in perspective – this is not about you. It’s about them.  Once you really accept that, the problem can seem easier to deal with.

2. Understand that what they are doing has NOTHING to do with your performance

If you work for an angry and over critical person, you’re likely to feel a tremendous amount of self-doubt. Step back and look at your work objectively, or get input from other professionals in your field too. They are likely to tell you a very different story.

3. Accept the fact that you cannot change this person.

It’s like when a person gains wait – it takes a long time for them to gain weight and it can’t come off overnight. Same with these types of personalities. They’ve taken years – or even  decades– to get to the point they are. It is extremely hard to change these individuals because they simply are incapable of internalizing anything that does not conform to their perceptions of themselves. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, but it is very very rare.

4. Start you day with Positive Affirmations

How you start your day will define the rest of your day.  Before your feet touch the ground in morning, take a couple of breaths and say something positive for yourself. For example, “Another day.gifted to me, I’ll make the best of it.” Tell yourself repeatedly that your inner core will not get disturbed in circumstances which are trying or difficult.

5. Slow Down and take small breaks and pauses during the day

If you find yourself rushing throughout the day, slow down and remind yourself “there is enough time.” A rushing mind is likely to make more mistakes than a relaxed and peaceful mind. A small meditation with deep breathing exercises will fill you with peace and WOW feeling.

When you slow down, you’ll feel more in control of your options and your inner life.
Leave post-it reminders on the computer, your car dashboard, and your front door. Our brains are not trained to remember many things, so write it down.

Bottom line:

You have everything you need to change. With daily commitment, practice, and patience, you’ll increase your ability and potential to handle work challenges with ease and mental peace.

Remember, living in the past causes depression. Living in the future causes anxiety. Living in the here-and-now enables you to make healthy choices to increase emotional well-being.

And the future begins now.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s