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The “Boss Is Coming” Panic- What It Reveals & What Employees Can Do About It

Written by: Kamladevi Sharma, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


The “Boss Is Coming” panic has been one of my longest observations. It’s definitely a true reflection of the phrase, “When the cat’s away, the mice will play.” As such, employees’ behaviors change for the better whenever their bosses approach. But why?

These questions lingered in my mind for some time whilst growing up. Notwithstanding, why do employees feel so intimated by their boss’s presence that they cannot be their true self all the time? Do bosses know that they trigger this reaction in their employees?

It was a mind’s battle for some time. I then grew to realize that it was an automatic reaction of fear in employees. This speaks of a boss’s leadership style and mindset, as well as the mindset of employees. Deeper thoughts revealed that bosses’ leadership styles are shaped by their personal values and the environment in which they operate in. For example, I’ve noticed that employees in the healthcare and education sectors react this way more than employees in other sectors, maybe because of the extent of risk in providing a service in those sectors or the expectation of world-class service delivery.

Where efficiency is paramount to business success, and an employee’s work diligence positively influences that business’s success, employees' behavior is short term. It has devastating long-term effects on the organization and the employee. In other words, if an employee’s performance peaks only in the presence of their boss, how practical is it that their boss remains on the scene all day, every day, and around all employees? Additionally, how beneficial is this fear to an employee’s mental and physical health?

From my coaching over 4000 management employees, I find that a toxic work culture develops with this level of panic. Employee dissatisfaction escalates in the organization and, employees become super stressed on the job due to feeling anxious and intimidated. Consequently, to better deal with this and have a more consistent forward-focused behavior as an employee, understand the source of your behavior via introspection and decide with yourself to change it if you want to.

Understand the source of your behavior via introspection

The reason for every employee’s reaction around their boss is different. Some react with panic because they fear their boss’s scolding, which may result from their poor or lagging performance, while some fear because everyone else fears. It’s important to understand why you react the way you do when your boss is approaching. Is your panic and anxiousness inherent to you, or is it inherited from someone else in the office?

If it is inherent to you, get to understand why. Do you react this way around your boss only, or do you react this way around anyone superior to you, for example, your parents?

If your reaction is only around your boss, then you need to decide if your boss’s energy will continue to have this level of impact on you. Working on your self-confidence and self-concept can help you to improve your reaction. If your reaction is the same around anyone superior to you, consider healing childhood trauma and doing mindset work. It’s possible that you have been lead to believe as a child that ‘you are not good enough’ or ‘you cannot do anything correctly.’ Hence, those thoughts subconsciously dominate whenever someone superior is around, and they influence your behavior.

On the other hand, if you inherit your reaction to panic from someone else, work on grounding your authenticity and becoming resilient to shifts in energies around you. The reason being, panicking because others are panicking in the office indicates that you are not in control of yourself in the moment and, people’s behaviors are leading yours. This can create emotional upheaval and hurt if not controlled. Additionally, as an employee who wants to elevate in an organization and achieve more in life than just the present job and its rewards, you want to open yourself to the possibilities and allow your creativity and innovativeness to come forth. Following others who are at the same level as you are, stifles this kind of growth in an individual.

Deciding to change your reaction if you want to

The ultimate power lies with you. You decide if you want to change this reaction or remain who you are. However, staying stuck on, “This is who I am. I cannot change.” leaves no room for improvement. Thus, it is important to recognize your weaknesses and work on improving them.

Further, from my experience, shifting from the place of panic and fear around a boss improves your relationship significantly with your boss. It helps you to become recognized and rewarded fairly for your talents and skills at that organization.

If you decide to make this change in yourself, make that decision in a meditative state so that your subconscious mind receives that instruction and can guide you in your conscious state to control yourself better when your boss comes around. This, followed by a religious self-awareness routine and affirming your value and confidence, will improve your reactions.

Resist panicking and own your power. You deserve to be your authentic self in any situation or any environment. It will leave you feeling personally fulfilled and professionally developed. Be magnificent and live in full enjoyment always, even at work!

For more information, join my Facebook-Community, follow me on Instagram and visit my website! Read more from Kamladevi!


Kamladevi Sharma, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Kamladevi Sharma is an international speaker and teacher of work-life balance, a certified professional life coach, and a qualified business consultant. She helps entrepreneurs and people in management globally, including you, to eliminate burnout and achieve balance in their personal and professional lives. Her dedication to achieving clarity, alignment, and results for her clients ensures that they can thrive and feel more fulfilled and successful in their lives, careers, and/or business. Additionally, her expertise in mindset and personal development strategy has benefitted over 4000 professionals globally in personal growth and over 250 businesses in jumping start a momentum for success in her signature momentum trainings at Revive. She has been featured on several podcast shows on various platforms like Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts and, the Guyana Times Sunday Magazine. Kamladevi holds a MBA in Business Administration from the University of Bradford, Bachelors in Social Psychology, Social Research and Business and, certificates in Professional Life Coaching and Counselling. Prior to co-founding Revive, she was magnificent in upper management positions in Guyana and lectured at several tertiary institutions.



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