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How to Handle a Boss Who Yells & Is Rude?

by Ralph Heibutzki

Certain bosses seem to thrive on creating drama, whether it's verbally tearing down employees, or screaming and yelling at them. The dilemma, if you're caught in this cycle, is devising an appropriate response that won't jeopardize your job. However, you can learn to cope with your situation, which mostly focus on finding methods of calming a potential confrontation. Ultimately, your employer's readiness to take these techniques on board will determine if you stick around or shop for another job.

Defuse the Situation

Defusing the situation must be your first priority when the boss behaves abusively, says Linda Barkdoll, a human resources program coordinator interviewed for NBC News. Don't shout back, which may cast you as insubordinate. If possible, ask what's prompting your employer's actions, and speak to him quietly, which can exert a calming effect. Appeal to your boss's rational side by pointing out how his actions affect the quality of your work, but don't focus on his personality.

Don't Take the Abuse Personally

When difficult bosses act out, it's natural for embattled employees to try and defend themselves. However, taking the abuse personally may leave you vulnerable to further irrational attacks. Instead, ask what's bothering your boss, and offer your best guess about what he's feeling, advises Dr. Nando Pelusi in a column for "Psychology Today." This approach shows that you're willing to hear the other person's concerns without assigning blame, which might lessen the emotional fallout of the situation.

Offer an Action Plan

After the situation calms down, turn the tables by proposing an action plan to improve an aspect of your workplace. Stephen R. Covey, author of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," recommends focusing on practical methods to make the boss's job a little easier. For extra incentive, tie your proposal's future to the results it achieves. As Covey tells NBC News, the employer will respect your initiative and may feel less inclined to yell so often.

Record Your Accomplishments

Always make a point of carefully recording all your accomplishments, which serves three purposes. First, when the next confrontation flares up, you can offer hard data to discreetly refute your boss's generalizations, the TechRepublic website states. Also, an employer is less likely to rate your performance poorly if you can show proof to the contrary. Documenting your brightest moments also strengthens your hand if your current situation grows untenable and you start looking for another job.

Other Considerations

At times, your supervisor's management practices and qualities may come up in conversation. Always choose your words carefully, whether it's to a fellow co-worker or your boss's immediate supervisor. If you're pressed, the best option is praising your boss for a practice that puts him in a positive light, the TechRepublic website states. Otherwise, focus on the behavior, not the person, which carries fewer repercussions than a negative comment that's more widely circulated.

About the Author

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