Bad bosses are out there and waiting for you. Many of us have been there, including me. One of the most common traits we associate with a bad boss is someone who yells and reacts emotionally on a regular basis. This trait affects people differently. The movie Horrible Bosses did a wonderful job of reminding us just how much a bad boss can affect your life!
If you’ve ever had a bad boss in your career you know what it is like to deal with yelling and high emotions. The first thing you try is to “deal with it”. This can work in some cases when you realize that yelling is just your boss’ communication style and isn’t anything you should take personally. The key for this to work is to catch your emotions before they escalate. Practice listening to just what your boss says, removing the tone and volume.
If removing the emotion doesn’t work, then what? Time to find a new job, huh? Well, hold on. There are a number of steps you can try. The reason why your boss yells and screams is often because they don’t realize how it makes you feel and you don’t tell your boss how it makes you feel. You can try to set expectations about how you wish to be treated.
Schedule a meeting with your boss and let him/her know the topic is “one-on-one communication style”. Prepare what you’d like to say and review it with your boss during a time when he/she will be most relaxed. Even after you establish what you would like, you will have to impose your will during all future outbursts, especially the next one!
Here are tips on how to deal with your boss during outbursts and how to stand up for how you wish to be communicated with.
- Realize that your emotions are high.
- Pause before you answer and think about your response.
- Separate the emotion and extract the argument your boss is using.
- Repeat his/her argument back to them, if you need, to show them you understand.
- Calmly state your position confidently.
- Don’t raise your voice or respond emotionally.
- If you need to regroup respond with, “Let me look at my work more closely and get back to you in a few minutes.”
- Prepare your counter-argument and re-engage your boss.
- Better yet, bring some ideas to help your boss achieve his goal.
- If your boss really starts yelling then calmly state, “Please stop yelling otherwise I will walk away and we will have to resume this conversation later.” If that doesn’t work, walk away.
- Don’t blow up, make accusations or call your boss names. Your boss may not even realize that he/she is out-of-line so don’t be the first one to step over the line.
Before quitting your job, consider contacting someone in your Human Resources department to intercede. Ending these unproductive outbursts is in the company’s best interests so don’t be afraid to go to them. However, keep in mind that this may cause an immature boss to become defensive and may strain your relationship even more.
If you have any additional questions please contact us to learn more about our online career counseling services. Good bosses are out there too and we all deserve a rewarding career.
What ways have you found that help when dealing with a bad boss? Leave your answer in the comments below.
Amy Wolfgang is a career coach who founded Wolfgang Career Coaching and co-founded Coaching 4 Good. She brings over 15 years of corporate and coaching experience to help organizations boost employee engagement while simultaneously helping her clients excel in their careers. She is a certified PCM (Professional Career Manager) and has a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin.
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