What to Do With an Mean Boss
Question: “How do I get my boss to treat others with respect in a meeting?”
Simple answer: “It depends.”
You see, we always have three choices when confronted by a dilemma. We can:
1) Change the situation. In this case we could talk to the boss about how disrespect undermines a meeting’s effectiveness. Of course, this depends upon the boss. If the boss is a mean, vindictive person who fired the last person who made a suggestion, attempting to change this boss could be a bad idea.
2) Change ourselfs. Here, we find ways to cope. For example, you could avoid meetings held by your boss or you could ignore the painful behavior. In this case, such an approach may seem cowardly, but people do this because survival may be more important than valor.
3) Leave. If the first two options are impossible, then the only remaining option is to find another job. Admittedly, the cost of leaving may be large. And so once again this choice depends upon what you can do, want to do, and will tolerate.
Complex answer: Every negative behavior reveals a flaw. That is, a boss who treats others with disrespect may be doing so for a variety of reasons, such as:
1) Awareness. Your boss may not know that respectful communication is possible. In this case your boss would benefit from personal coaching or a positive role model (both provided by his or her boss).
2) Skill. Your boss may not know how to communicate respectfully. This can be resolved by attending a workshop that shows how communicate effectively.
3) Choice. Here, the boss chooses to treat others with disrespect. This reveals a personal or ethical weakness that requires counseling to resolve. And such work can be effective only when the boss recognizes its importance and decides to undertake corrective action.