Rude Boss–What To Do?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about boss who is rude and disrespectful: Once, he made a comment in front of two of my colleagues and myself that they are three blondes in a room and one brain only. All three of us are blond.

I have a problem communicating with my boss because he is very rude and does not respect anybody’s opinion. When I talk to him, he always rolls his eyes, never makes an eye contact and always turns me down with my requests.He always says that he is the one who makes decisions and he certainly has more experience than I do. He makes inappropriate comments about other people to make you feel small and weak.

Once, he made a comment in front of two of my colleagues and myself that they are three blondes in a room and one brain only. All three of us are blond. Just recently, he inspected the work that has been done by me and told me if I did it, Id’ better be packing.I feel very uncomfortable talking to him about anything because all of his responses are very rude and negative. I’ve noticed that he treats some other managers the same way like he treats me with disrespect; however there are some managers that he favors and treats very nicely. I made an appointment with our HR Director just to make them aware that this manager spreads such a negative and hateful energy to some people that definitely affects my job performance and surely some other managers. I think it is not fair that some negative people have such an impact to other people’s performances and life. Please any advise would certainly help me.

Signed, Tired of it

Dear Tired of it:

The organization where you work and its size and structure will make a difference in what you can do about this situation. But, it sounds as though it is large enough to have an HR section. So, you have done the right thing by contacting them. Let me suggest a couple of thoughts about this matter and you can see if you are able to find a way to deal with the problem.First, is the reality of whether or not you want to keep working there. Dr. Gorden often tells people to “vote with their feet” if a boss is so bad you can’t tolerate it. If you want to keep working there, you will have to find a way to either change things at least some, or you’ll have to find a way to handle it mentally and emotionally.If your boss has a manager above him and you communicate with that person, strengthen that contact. Be sincerely friendly and show that you are an excellent employee. That way you will have a layer of protection that might be helpful.Then, look at your work record so far. Are you getting good performance evaluations if you receive those? Could it be you are doing fine and your manager thinks he is being witty with his remarks that sound as though you are having problems?If you genuinely are having trouble with work, ask your manager for ways you can improve it. I know you would rather not do that! But, it may be that if he thinks you value his opinion (and you should if he has any control over your employment) he will be more helpful.

If he says something about your work, try confronting him a bit. “Mr. Lee, it really worries me to think you might mean that. Are you joking or serious?”Even about the blonde remark you could say, “Do you really think that about us? Do you really think that we aren’t intelligent because we’re blonde women? You sound like you’re serious. Are you serious or joking?”

Sometimes comments like that put people on the alert that you will not ignore their remarks.If he rolls his eyes, say something to get that out in the open. “You rolled your eyes like you’re angry with me or disgusted. Are you?” At least then you may get conversation instead of gestures. My experience has been that sometimes that will stop people who think no one has noticed their mannerisms. And, it’s not being rude to ask.You say your boss “always” responds negatively to you. I imagine it seems that way. But, you might find it useful to notice the times he responds more positively. See if you can find a common theme to when he is less or more positive.

Of course, you may find he is simply a rude man, as you have noticed! If he stays as your boss he will probably always be somewhat difficult to deal with. So, if you stay as well, you will need to find a way to deal with him.Keep your focus on work and make sure you are gaining knowledge and skills all the time. Be such a dependable, effective employee that your manager will realize he doesn’t want to lose you. Be a good member of the team as well, so you have their support. And give appropriate support to every good employee there.Your boss has been allowed to get by with being rude for a long time, probably. So, he doesn’t think it is viewed as wrong. Maybe your complaint to HR will have a good effect. You don’t want to be like a spy, but you should be making notes of the specific negative things he does and when he does them. That way if HR takes further action you will have something factual rather than just your opinion. Have a list of witnesses who saw or heard the man’s actions as well.

The bottom line is that you want to have a workplace where you can work effectively without feeling badly. So, if you can establish that your job is secure and that you are considered a good employee, maybe you will feel better about work overall. That way it might help you shrug off the rudeness of this one manager. However, I do think you are right to push it a bit, and I don’t think you should just tolerate it if there is anything at all you can do.It sounds as though you have taken some first steps, and as though you are a strong person who will not be intimidated. Just make sure you are establishing yourself as someone who is dependable and valuable, and be the employee even your rude boss wants to keep around. Best wishes with this. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens.

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.