First Time Outburst By Boss

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about boss’s correction in front of customers:

A customer needed help today. I could not provide the help, so I asked the boss for help. In front of other customers, she corrected my explanation of the problem. One customer laughed, a few others cringed as they knew her loud outburst and correction was not called for and irrelevant to the task which was to help the customer. She was stressed today and I could probably let it go, but it feels very unfair as I was trying to help a customer. The question was not in my area of knowledge so it was nothing I should have known.

I guess my biggest complaint is her doing it in front of the customers. Sure I was bothered by it, but moreover it creates impressions in their minds about her which is not good for the whole operation.. I have read some of the responses to similar situations with bosses and I value them much.. To be honest, I am to get a raise in a couple of months, and I almost feel like letting this “go” until I assure my raise and then I will deal with conflicts then…Problem with that is the “money” trumps what is the right thing to do.. Ugh, thanks for your time as always..

Signed, Weighing What To Do

Dear Weighing What To Do:

Should you wait until after you get a raise to confront your boss about her outburst? That is an ethical and practical question that only you can answer.But should you speak with your boss about the outburst in front of customers? Yes. Bosses should not flare up at their employees, especially in front of co-workers or customers. It is wrong to bite your tongue in silence. Probably, it is best that you did not speak up immediately, but to be silent gives approval. Although it would not have been out of place for you to react, “I want to learn what should be done and I will learn more quickly if you speak to me respectfully.”Now that the outburst is past, in private tell your boss that the time for her to make corrections, unless safety is endangered, is in private.

Bosses sometimes are stressed and shout. Sometimes, they let fly with a few four-letter words. Sometimes shouting in anger is what works for them. Whatever the cause for an outburst, it is a bad, bad behavior, and likely will continue until and when they are told that such behavior does not work. Rather outbursts causes those who are their target to resent them and onlookers to disrespect them. Choose the time you feel is best to confront your boss. Do not allow her to think you are afraid of her. Our signature WEGO symbolizes the kind of workplace in which civility, respect and engagement are the norm. Feel free to share what you decide to do and how it goes.

William Gorden