Supervisor Is Insulting and Demeaning

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a boss that mocks:

My immediate supervisor’s style is to making mocking remarks constantly. She seems unable to make a simple comment without trying to be sarcastic. Many of the remarks are directly insulting and demeaning, but she tosses them off, and moves away quickly. It seems petty to respond, but it is annoying. How should I get her to stop this?

Signed, Irritated and Frustrated

Dear Irritated and Frustrated:

It’s not petty to respond to insulting or demeaning remarks–unless the response is insulting and demeaning too. Consider some of these thoughts and adapt them to your situation.1. First, be clear about what she is saying and why she is saying it. Ask coworkers if they interpret her remarks in the same way you do, as being purposely hurtful. I say that because sometimes people make comments that they mean as showing camaradarie or inclusion, but that get just the opposite results. And, if you don’t care for her and her style to begin with, everything she says can seem insulting, even when it is not meant that way or taken that way by others.It may be that her remarks are indeed meant to cut you down or make you feel badly, but maybe they are not.

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