A 2012 study from Gallup found that only about one in five (or 18%) of those with people management responsibility actually have a high level of talent for effectively managing others. Stated another way, 82% of those selected for management roles don’t have the competence to effectively execute their role. Given these disturbing facts it’s no wonder new manager’s get frustrated and fall into abusive patterns. The fact is that we promote people because they are good at what they do and not because they have any kind of talent for doing it through others.
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To make matters worse, research from the International Journal of Stress Management, found that employees of abusive bosses are likely to suffer higher levels of stress that can ultimately lead to serious health problems. The challenge is how to best deal with the “yelling boss” without getting in trouble. A few tips to consider:
Don’t Take it Personally: Often these yelling boss doesn’t intend their rants to be taken personally. They are likely reacting out of frustration and may not even be aware of how damaging their behavior to morale. Even in those cases where the yelling boss does get personal, the best thing to do is pull yourself back and focus on the facts. Use evidence as your guide and try to keep emotion out of it. Consider what you did well and what you can do better. Life is too short to allow the immaturity of others to determine how you feel!
Never Take the Bait: Never match the tone and tenor of a yelling boss as this will only result in an unhealthy escalation. Once you take the bait you lose you effectively give your power away by acknowledging the rationale of their tone. The best thing you can do is stay calm and just let them burn themselves out! A one-sided shouting match never makes the perpetrator look good.
Seek Out Guidance: If the yelling boss can’t actually answer the question of “what do you want me to do?” they aren’t managing, they are just venting frustration. In this case, wait until the dust settles and then seek them out to get some direction on what they actually want you to do in moving forward. Before you approach him or her, be sure to have some ideas on what you can do to make-up for whatever real or imagined problem that caused the situation.
At the end of the day people leave bosses not jobs. When bosses yell on a frequent basis, they create an uncomfortable environment that leads to higher levels of stress and ultimately less productivity. Make no mistake, it’s never easy to be in charge, yet it’s always easy to yell. If you find yourself the victim of a yelling boss, do your best to not take it personally, be sure to avoid getting drawn in, and find a way to ask for positive direction in moving forward.