Correcting my Speech

Question:

My boss is always correcting my speech. Now he has started doing this in front of others. What can I say or do about this?

Signed,

Embarrassed And Angry


Answer:

DearĀ Embarrassed And Angry:

You don’t say exactly what your boss is correcting and how he does it. I’ll assume you mean he is correcting what he considers a misuse of words or mispronunciation. I can well imagine that would be irritating and embarrassing. If you don’t think you have made an error it would be doubly irritating.

If he has no justifiable reason, you can bet others think less of him for doing it, so he is only hurting himself.

On the other hand, if you are making mistakes that could have business consequences (mis-stating a fact or a figure) he would be right to correct you at the time rather than waiting. So, the nature of the situation is the big issue here.

The first thing you can do is to ask to talk to him about it and start from the viewpoint that you don’t want to mispronounce or misuse words, so you are glad to hear about it later, but not in front of others. If you have a decent relationship with him, that can be said without getting an extremely negative reaction.

If your boss is really being excessive and you have a large company, you could consider complaining about it higher up the ladder in the organization. However, that might be an extreme response for something of this nature.

The most obvious thing you can do is ensure that you don’t misuse or mispronounce words. Usually when that happens it’s because people have tried to use big words when smaller words will do. If it involves some aspect of your job, it will be a matter of making sure you’re correct about the terminology. I’m afraid, other than those things, there is not a lot you can do to stop someone a level higher than you who is either being very rude on purpose or who thinks he’s doing what he us supposed to do as your manager. I don’t say that to be negative, just to be realistic. You may need to find a way to tolerate the situation and hope that your reaction and the reactions of others will get his attention. Best wishes with this. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what you do and what happens.

Tina Lewis Rowe