Can a Manager Curse and Say Bad Things About You?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a boss who insults one’s family: She also told me that if I tried to go to the store manager that there was nothing he could do. Is there really nothing I can do?

I had one of my managers go off on me, telling me rude things about my family and myself. What really pissed me off was that she said rude things about my mother. She also told me that if I tried to go to the store manager that there was nothing he could do. Is there really nothing I can do?

Signed, Pissed Off

Dear Pissed Off:

Yes, she can and yes she did. And she will continue to get away with it until and unless you act. Have you analyzed why this manager has said things about your mother and you? Isn’t there some history of conflict between you two? I assume you don’t like this person and that dislike is mutual. However, with so little information, advice you get probably will not satisfy your desire to “get back” at this individual as you imply you’d like to.

If you want to vent your anger at being cussed out and told where to go by this individual, you have some options, in spite of her declaring the going to your store manager would result in nothing. Here are several options:

1. Ignore this individual. Only speak to her when absolutely necessary to do an assignment. Obviously she would prefer not to be close to you. Avoid her.

2. Confront her. Tell her how you feel about what she said. Ask what is really bothering her about you. Apologize if her beefs are justified. If not, asked what she recommends you do to reconcile and have a cooperative working relationship.

3. Ask her to go with you to the store manager. There ask her to spill out what she said. Then present your point of view. Ask your store manager to make your job assignments clear; of who does what, when and who approves them. Often interpersonal conflicts arise because the rule and role are not clearly stated. In short there is a power struggle. It is the responsibility of a store manager to make your workplace run smoothly.

Before you decide on what course of action, look in the mirror. Ask if even in a small way you are the kind of person this manager said you were. Then unlike the stepmother of Snow White, rather than plot ways to hurt this individual, imagine what you might do to help her have a good day at work. You don’t have to allow her to badmouth you, but you might see this conflict as an opportunity to think and act in ways to make both your jobs go better. After all, the success of your store, as long as you both work there, hinges on you two working cooperatively. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. Until and unless you can resolve your difference you won’t want to come to work.

William Gorden