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If your boss is always in panic mode, over-reacting to the day's events, Ottawa-based consultant Shaun Belding says that you need to use an "agree-echo-resolve" technique. In his Winning At Work newsletter, he offers an example of the boss going ballistic over you sending a fax without a cover sheet, to his mind a nightmare that can lead to the message getting lost.

Instead of trying to reassure the boss that the recipient has his or her own fax machine, try this approach: "Oh no - I can't believe I forgot that! You're absolutely right (agree). There could be confusion (echo). Let me get a cover sheet right now and re-send it (resolve). In fact, to prevent this from happening again, I'll put a note above the fax machine that says 'don't forget a cover sheet.'"

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