How do I know if my boss is stressed out and what can I do about it

The thing about stress is those who have it don't recognise it and so don't have any insight into the effect their behaviour has on those around them. If your boss has suddenly and uncharacteristically become difficult to work with, if team meetings are no longer fun, if the prospect of a one to one or even a short car journey together fills you with dread then your manager could be suffering from stress. Assuming you and your colleagues are not the cause what can you do?   
How do I know if my boss is stressed out? 
Bites finger nails
Doesn't take all their annual leave
Diary entries are in pencil because always rearranging or cancelling meetings 
First in office in the morning last out at night
Goes to pub every night and drinks alone 
Always losing papers/ reports
Asks inappropriate questions like,"do you think I am  a bully?"
Is negative about colleagues but demands loyalty in others 
Appears to have no social life or interests out side work
Says his boss doesn't like him and is trying to get rid of him
Thinks people are talking about him
Has trouble delegating
Is unpredictable
Has mood swings 
Can't sleep so sends emails
Everything is urgent and important 
Claims his views are ignored, opinions not valued, feels out of loop- "I don't know what's going on". 
When on holiday rings up daily to find out what's happening. 
Irritable and inpatient 
Abrasive with subordinates, sycophantic with those above 
Tendency to ask questions but not listen to answers,
In meeting repeats the same thing over and over as if more times says it and more ways says it will ensure it gets done
Fidgets, feet constantly rubbing carpet under table 
Never takes time off sick and can't understand why others do 
How many did they get on the irritating and unreasonable behaviour test?
A score of five or less- probably on medication 
Between five and ten - goes with the territory 
Ten or more - you don't need this test to tell you they are a nightmare 
What you can do 
Book your holidays to ensure when their away you're at work and visa versa
Avoid supervision sessions by erasing dates in their diary 
Agree to anything as long as their are no witnesses and hope they forget
Swear you never got the email
Arrange meetings away from office, " missing presumed working". 
Leave your jacket over you chair and your computer turned on when ever you're out of the office 
Do not discuss their behaviour with anyone at work but tell family and friends
Best not to debate or have a fixed view 
Best place to sit at meeting is same side of table but not next to them, easier to hide. 
Never answer the phone at home on a Sunday evening 
They say the best medicine is laughter, this is a bit of fun but it's no joke working for stressed out manager.
Blair McPherson former Director of Community services 


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