I Have A Yelling and Swearing Boss

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about yelling swearing boss: He told the other staff that was in there to literally F*** off and then stood there shouting and swearing at me, calling me useless

My boss came into work today and went into a separate part of the building so I followed him. He told the other staff that was in there to literally F*** off and then stood there shouting and swearing at me, calling me useless. He’s amazing and I’m useless. He doesn’t need me calling me names etc. What can i do about this?… this is a private owned business.

Signed, Tired of It

Dear Tired of It:

If your boss owns the business, you probably don’t have anyone higher to appeal to about this. Dr. Gorden often recommends, “voting with your feet”, which is to I quit and let the bullying boss find someone to do your work. However, quitting is rather drastic if you don’t have a job to go to right away. The fact that you followed him into another part of the building and the yelling started there, indicates you knew he was in a temper over something. You probably also know what it is he was so angry about. And, you know if he has done this many times before or if this was a rare thing. If he rarely has gotten so angry, maybe you can just overlook it and figure that overall he’s an OK boss and the job is worth putting up with him.

If he often gets angry and yells, you can look at what has happened in the past to know if there is a chance he will change in the future. Has anyone ever asked him to stop yelling and cursing at employees? If they have but he continues, he probably won’t change and there is no way to force him to change. If no one has ever said anything to him, maybe he doesn’t realize the degree to which people are offended.In that case, it might not hurt to tell him in private, “Jim, I don’t want to stir anything up again, but it really got to me when you cussed me out in front of people.”

His reaction at that point will let you know if there is any point in continuing the conversation. But probably all you need to say anyway is, “I just wanted you to know how it made me feel.” You might also want to stop in right on the spot. “Hey! I know you’re mad at me, but it doesn’t help to cuss me out!”You might think that talking to him won’t change anything; but it might. One thing is for sure, you don’t have a lot of options in a small business where the boss is the only person to complain to. Of course, finding out what upset him and making sure that thing doesn’t happen again is also a good way to avoid such unpleasantness! If his demands or requests aren’t unreasonable and if they are doable, complying with them will probably be the best way to keep him in a good mood. Frustrating but true.

I’m afraid there is nothing magical that will make your boss be a better communicator, but you can be prepared mentally for him, so it doesn’t bother you so much. Put your focus on getting through the day, knowing he’ll probably be in a better mood the next day. You also can be a support for other employees he attacks verbally. If you all need your jobs and don’t have anyone to complain to, at least you’ll have each others’ friendship. Best wishes to you with this.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.