Whether your manager is a front-line supervisor or the CEO, every leader occasionally has unrealistic expectations. But some bosses are unrealistic most of the time. They don't take into account the facts on the ground, or they habitually refer to their past experiences at other companies rather than to the people and events in the current organization, or perhaps they report to someone who's even more aggressive or overly optimistic than they are.

When you work for one of these folks, you can feel like you're being set up to fail. It can be dangerous to defy a superior, and

1. Manage your body to manage yourself

2. Agree in principle; then share realistic details

3. Send up some trial balloons to get rapid, usable feedback

4. Gauge whether you're gaining traction with your boss or not