My Boss-To-Be Yells

Question to Ask the  Workplace Doctors about difficult coworker soon to be boss:

I was hired by A, who was been fired, following his personality and conflict with other members in the team, six months after my arrival. A’s boss has put me under B who doesn’t know I exist. B has later hired C, whom he relies on for many things. C is an aggressive person and always yells at me and at some other people he works with. I work closely with C and he becomes more than less like my supervisor. After yelling, he starts to smile and continue explain things like nothing had happened! It happens often and it bothers me a lot.

I asked him once to speak normally, but after two days, he becomes the same person. I cannot say much, I cannot go to see B and complain as I mentioned earlier that B depends totally on C for many things and they are pals. Moreover, B never asks questions on how I am doing! He just ignores me.The situation destroys all my motivations to do the work. I do not know when and about what C will yell at me again. To avoid the pain, I have avoided seeing him almost a month now. I don’t know if it is a good idea. But what else can I do? B will assign C to be my official boss next month. I do not know what to do. Do you have any suggestions?

Signed, To Be Bossed By A Yeller

Dear To Be Bossed By A Yeller:

I have the impression that you haven’t really confronted C, the yelling coworker who will soon be your boss. Now you have at least four choices:
· To firmly confront C about how you want to communicate
· Meet with B to let him know you exist
· Bite your tongue and shed the verbal abuse
· Look for another job.

So long as you are working scared; afraid to assert your self, the only option open to you is to bite your tongue. If you are angry enough at the disrespect conveyed by the yelling at you and the general bossiness of C, you can weigh whether to confront C or meet with B, or to schedule meetings with each separately or have a three-way meeting. I would consider a frank time-out private session with C in which you disclose that you have avoided him because you don’t like the way he yells and orders you.

In this meeting, you might present a written set if do and don’t rules you think will make for a more effective working relationship with him. See if he will buy into these or make modifications that you can live with, and that he will sign off on. Also come to an understanding that you want to meet frequently with him once or so a week to keep communication channels open and as a way of learning if the dos and don’ts are working for each of you. Such a meeting will help you decide if you want to meet with B, ask for a transfer, and/or look for another job. A second suggestion is to request an early performance evaluation by B.

In such a meeting, you should bring whatever evidence you have of your performance. Ask for what you need to do to do your job more effectively. Come with ideas about how to improve the quality of your operations; such as cutting wasted supplies, energy, time, and money. Learn where you stand and what is your future there. Also, be prepared to discuss results of your meeting with C. This meeting like the one with C will tell you if you should seek a job elsewhere.

Finally, don’t gossip about the things you describe in this question. Gossip gets back to those who are its topic. Weigh the options before you and see if you might find a more creative approach. Work is hard enough without avoiding a coworker or boss. Put on your thinking cap, but don’t become obsessed with seeing yourself as a victim. You have a voice. You are a child of this universe. You have a right to be here, as the poem goes. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS, and that is what you want for your self and your workplace.

William Gorden