Ask Liz: How to Handle a Boss's Angry Outburst?

Liz Ryan
 


Visitors: 390

Dear Liz,

A few weeks ago, my boss dismissed another employee in our department. The conversation happened in my boss's office (call him John) and it was loud, abusive, and generally awful to have to listen to through the very thin office walls. The worst part is that my co-workers and I agree that John fired our co-worker (who truly did need to be fired) in such a threatening, angry way not to intimidate that employee - who was being fired anyway - but to intimidate and ‘show off’ to the rest of us! John could have easily met with the employee in HR, or in a conference room somewhere, rather than in the middle of our department. Any advice for us survivors, who would like to express our discomfort with the angry display?

Thanks, Jennifer

Dear Jennifer,

Okay, that's just pathetic. ‘Let me scream and shout at this guy, who's out the door anyway, in order to impress/scare the remaining staff members. ’ It is unfair to all of you (not to mention the poor scapegoat) to suffer through this kind of aural abuse. I do have a suggestion:

Talk to your workmates about this issue, and plan to bring up the topic at the next general staff meeting. (I hope and assume that your whole team gets together with John from time to time. ) At that meeting, one of you can start off the topic with a bland question or update on the fired co-worker's responsibilities, transition issues, etc. Then one of you - whomever is particularly brave or just feeling her oats that day - can add, “You know, I'm not sure about anyone else, but I was very uncomfortable being so near and so much in earshot of the discussion when [the fired guy] left the company. I'm sure you wouldn't know this, John, but the walls are paper-thin. "

So as not to leave this brave soul hanging in the wind, one or two of the rest of you must chime in with similar sentiments. The key is that you're making a personal observation- “I was uncomfortable" - not slamming John, exactly. But with luck, he will get the point. He probably won't say so, because it's so embarrassing. But I'll bet that's the last time you'll have to be witness to the Great Ape chest-beating display. Puh-leeze!

Cheers,

Liz

Got a workplace question on your mind? Write to Liz at lizryan@worldwit.org.

Liz Ryan is a former Fortune 500 HR executive, workplace expert and the founder of WorldWIT, the world's largest online network for professional women (http://www.worldwit.org ). Liz writes and speaks internationally on workplace issues, and lives in Boulder, Colorado.

(470)

Article Source:


 
Rate this Article:  0.0/5(0 Ratings)

Related Articles:

How To Handle Angry Consumers

by: Alexander Gordon (December 28, 2006) 
(Business)

How do you handle your boss who is acting as a bully?

by: Joseline Edward (May 04, 2011) 
(Business/Career Advice)

Anger Management: You Get Angry, I Get Angry, All God's Children Get Angry

by: Jeff Herring (December 07, 2005) 
(Self Improvement/Anger Management)

Good Boss vs Bad Boss - Why Leaders Need to Stop Bad Habits

by: Maynard Brusman (May 06, 2008) 
(Self Improvement/Leadership)

Hugo Boss - The Boss of Denim Fits

by: Faisal Farrukh (November 16, 2010) 
(Business)

Disappointment: Do You Handle It or Does It Handle You?

by: Harriet Hodgson (January 30, 2007) 
(Self Improvement)

Anger: Handle It Or It Will Handle You

by: Mustafaa Muhammad (May 13, 2007) 
(Self Improvement)

Be Angry and Sin Not!

by: Tina Marino (September 17, 2008) 
(Self Improvement/Anger Management)

When is it Right to be Angry?

by: A H Barbee (July 18, 2005) 
(Self Improvement/Spirituality)

Angry at God

by: Jason M Powers (August 25, 2008) 
(News/Religion)