What To Do About Manager Who Cursed At Me?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about boss: She cursed me until I was physically ill. She called the next morning asking how are you sweetie, I waited a week and put my thoughts down in an email to her about the situation and she flat out denied it ever happened.

My manager resides out of state so all of our communication is over the phone, email or we do have video link. We manage the inventory for 2 distribution centers and she says that we have to be 100% perfect. She will accept no less. Also, she does not have a good working relationship with the on-site ops manager or any of the supervisors that report to him. She tells me I cannot answer any questions that the on-site manager has and when I mentioned that he was asking questions about a large inventory transfer project she completely blew up.

She cursed me until I was physically ill. She called the next morning asking how are you sweetie, I waited a week and put my thoughts down in an email to her about the situation and she flat out denied it ever happened. The she asked why I thought she was cursing at me? I went to our HR manager he said she has a track record of doing this but there is not much that I can do because there were no witness. I dread going to work now at a job that I love.I thought that I could handle the fact that she treats most everyone like they are five years old, but the cursing and intimidation is very hard to swallow. Now what do I do?

Signed, Feeling Intimidated

DearĀ Feeling Intimidated:

You have several options, ranging from doing nothing right now, to making a formal and very strong complaint. How you respond will depend upon your specific situation and what you know about the organization as well as your reputation and work history in it. You do not say if your manager has ever cursed at you before. If this is the first time and she has been decent acting before, you may want to give her one more chance.If she has done this to you or to others that you know about for sure, you may want to officially complain and insist that she be directed to never speak to you that way again, and to improve her communication style overall.

You might also say that you do not like feeling you can’t communicate with other managers. If you are a good worker you won’t get in trouble with the higher level managers for complaining, and your own manager apparently isn’t treating you well anyway, so her response may not matter to you at this point.On the other hand, you may not want to risk angering your manager by complaining. In that case you will need to speak up more forcefully, but appropriately, the next time it happens. You are not face to face, apparently, so that should not be as difficult as if you were face to face. If you are going to complain officially, and ask for assistance in stopping her current communication style, you must be prepared to be very specific and persistent, and you will need to put your complaints in writing. She likely won’t be fired over it, unless there are other complaints, so you will also need to be prepared for her being upset with you about it.You say that you told your manager about questions the on-site manager had.

Apparently you told her that you answered the on-site manager’s questions, even though she had directed you not to do so. As a result she became angry and cursed at you. You don’t say what she said, and the term “cursing” means different things to different people. So, if you make a complaint about this, write the specific dialogue down, as close to accurately as possible. Write what you said, then what she said, then what you said back, etc.You say she called the next morning and asked how you were, but it sounds as though you waited a week to tell her you didn’t like her comments. When you write a formal complaint about this, explain why you waited to say anything to her, if that is what you did. Then, give the details of that conversation as well, not an overview. Again, make it like a script: She said, then you said, then she said…as accurately as possible.

When you are prepared to write it all down, write a complaint to the boss of your manager, with a copy to HR. Start by saying that you dread coming to work and that this is not a one-time thing. Give the dialogues. Then, state that you want assistance from the organization to ensure that this does not happen again. Also let them know that you are willing to be interviewed about it, but that you want to be contacted and ensured that your complaint is being investigated.If others were present when you were on the phone, list their names to have them questioned about your upset state afterward. If others have had it happen to them, also list their names. If you talked to others immediately afterward, list their names, just to establish that you were upset at a specific time, after the conversation.Say what your HR person told you about this happening before. Also say that you were told you had to have witnesses, but that you do not think that should be necessary in something like this. (That was a foolish thing for the HR person to say, anyway!)If you don’t want to approach it in this formal complaint method, consider talking to the on-site manager and asking if he or she has advice. If that person is having problems with your manager, he or she may be willing to protect you while they join in a complaint about what has happened. How you feel about all of this may not be as concerning to higher level managers as the fact that your manager is covering for problems, or keeping you from talking to other managers.

On the other hand, if you are making errors and your manager simply doesn’t want you to let other managers know about it, you may find you want to let it all go, and instead be more forceful about the way you are treated.If you choose to wait, the next time your manager uses what you consider to be a curse word, say, politely, “Joanne, that is the kind of language I was talking about last time, that I don’t like. It upsets me and I can’t work well being talked to like that.” If she continues, you can say, “I told you, I don’t like being talked to in that way. If you keep doing it I’m going to have to make a complaint about you, and I don’t want to do that. So, don’t push me to it.” The bottom line is that you have several options for your actions, ranging from waiting to see if things get better, to complaining right now, to working with the other managers. What you do will depend upon your work stability (based on your work history and your overall reputation and support) and your relationship with your manager. If it is good generally, you may want to wait. If you feel it is so poor you don’t care anyway, you may want to take the strongest action possible. Best wishes as you develop a plan of action of this situation. 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.