Almost everyone would complain about their boss, but all bosses are not created equal. Some bosses are worse than the others; some bosses are bullies who like to bring you down with offensive languages. If you have such boss, you might feel weakened and trapped in the situation, but there are actually some things you can do.
Push back, immediately
Like most abusive relationships, things get worse over time as the bully feels empowered that they can get away with this behavior. The tricky part is HOW to push back. One tactic that is pretty effective is to simply tell your boss, “Your tone is making me uncomfortable” or “can we please pick this up a little later when things are calmer.” While a boss can get you to apologize for making a mistake, but they can’t have you apologize for feeling a certain way. You can also say “Your point is well-taken, but I would appreciate it if you didn’t direct such negative language towards me.”
Point to past successes
If your boss is disappointed or angered over a recent “failure” and takes a combative tone – remind him/her of past successes. Sure, the corporate world is driven by a “what have you done for me lately” mentality, but reminding him about the past might remind him that he was the one who hired you in the first place.
Strong eye contact is a must. Your eyes darting away or looking sheepishly away is like blood to a shark – they’ll only bite faster and more furiously. You don’t need to puff out your chest and stare down the enemy – but keep your posture firm and your eyes focused.
Write it down
If these instances of verbal abuse are happening regularly you should be jotting them down in a notepad. Take note of when, where, what was said and who else was in the room or within earshot. Eventually, this information can be parlayed into an official memo to either your boss, your boss’s boss and/or HR. They key is to make it factual and unemotional. Never send it via e-mail. Writing it down is also beneficial for you – you might look back at the words and realize things aren’t as bad as you originally thought, or maybe even worse.
If you get roped into something that was not your fault – you might want to consider taking a tiny slice of the blame. Nothing irks a boss more than a lack of accountability. A small concession can save you hours on lecturing meetings.
Get ready to get out of there
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