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Is it ever proper or "OK" to be blunt with your boss?

By TomSal ·
This post comes to you while I'm in a venting mode, the head boss here is very ego-centric, very tight and just has no concept of how to treat his employees as human beings. This will sound petty to you guys but trust me as much you can trust someone you don't know -- this is one tiny example upon hundreds throughout the years. I'm doing my work quietly minding my own business and the department employees begin asking me general conversation questions, so I answer them. In mid-answer the "boss" walks in hears me talking (mind you I am working AND talking at the same time) and he says (I'm paraphrasing) "You know if you wouldn't talk to them, they could get some work done."

He always butts in like this to folks, no respect of what they are even talking about no clue to what is going on. Earlier he saw another tech fixing his son's own computer (that is the boss's son) and not knowing what was going on...he said "wow we pay IS folks and they can't fix anything".

The tech was in the middle of showing the boss's son how something works, the computer wasn't broke.

So my question there a professional rule or some ethic or maturity level that would be violated if upon someone leaving a job to take the time to give the boss a piece of their mind?

I mean I'm not stupid -- obviously everyone thinks of this, but I mean is there any "right" way that doesn't make the employee look worse for just saying what needs to be said?

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by jdmercha In reply to Is it ever proper or "OK" ...

But I couldn't possibly make any reccomendations for you. It depends too much on the disposition of yourself and your boss. What are you willing to put up with to keep your job? My wife works for what you might consider an abusive boss. But she let him know from day one that she wasn't going to put up with it. He's not abusive to her anymore, but he is still abusive to others in the office. That angle might not work for you at all.

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Oh my friends...

by pconsidine In reply to Sure

I used to think that I had worked for some real choice bosses
until I started working at the ad agency I'm at now.

Here's a great example ?

We've been working on a $5 million project for a client and I've
been managing the RFP process. After we got all our first round
responses, the boss told me to send them up to the client. He
was going to go up the following day and wanted them to be
waiting for him.

The next day, he stops by the office and asks where the
responses are. I told him that I had sent them up to the client
like he told me to. He turns red in the face and starts hollering
about how we never present first-stage materials without one of
us being present. He wasn't sparing the F words, either. In fact,
at one point, he got so overwrought, he couldn't speak. He just
gasped and panted for the next 5 minutes before he could
resume his tantrum.

And that's one of the tamer stories. Don't even ask about the
time he almost fired someone because he thought we were
going to run out of copier paper (even though we had two boxes
in the closet and an order coming the next day).

Just another day in paradise.

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What to tell them...

by mfblankenstein In reply to Oh my friends...

I just finished working with a guy that had an anger management problem and treated people very badly. He was very frustrated with me because I responded in ways he had difficulty with:

1st time: Sir, I don't appreciate your attitude or language. If I have caused this please let me know how to fix it and I apologize. I also brought this to our common manager's attention (who of course defended him).

2nd time: Sir, if this happens again we have two recourses- One, I go to HR with my documentation of "your problem and how it is affecting business"; Two, we can discuss it privately at a time of my choosing, probably late at night in a stairwell or the parking lot.

3rd time: there wasn't one.

If I had to have report directly to this guy I would have quit. Life is too short to surround yourself with people that bring you down.

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Don't sit and take it.

by Majestic100 In reply to What to tell them...

My boss was on holiday and I was asked to stand in for him at the monthly seniors managers team meeting. No formal handover of issues was given. I was subsequently asked to bring information proper to a peer manager with me. Prior to the formal team meeting, I was asked into the his office to give him this information. Two events then happened...firstly he started quizzing me on the information and I had to politely tell him I couldn't help him as it was my not domain/job area/responsibity. I'd just delivered what was asked for. I don't think he was pleased. Secondly, he then turned his attention to certain staffing issues, pertinent to other teams, that he had brought in other managers to sought out. I was aware of the issues; and of their the mangers failings in trying to resolve. Now this is where it turned nasty. I never got the chance to respond to a question before the next was thrown at me. No doubt is was still P****d off that I couldn't help on previous issues. His tone and attitude had changed for the worst.

In the end, as I was sitting opposite him, I turned away, folded my arms and looked out of the window...slowly boiling with anger at being treated as though I was something on the bottem of his shoe.

As you would expect, he took exception to this telling me I was being rude etc. etc. Well, I lost it, I turned to him and gave him a piece of my mind and didn't refrain from using any expletives. I told him he should look at himself to see rudeness at work. I further told him I didn't care who he was, what rank he held or what responsibilities he had, nobody, but nobody treats me in the manner he was. He was taken aback be my outburst (honestly, I'm normally mild mannered) and fell on the back foot. In the end, as the start time for the team meeting was approaching he said he wanted to continue "discussion" afterwards. As I travelled a long way I said. fine, but if he was not prepared to listen to what I had to say, forget it, I'm off. We didn't meet, only because the meeting overran and he had another appointment. We never did continue the "discussion" but what I can say is from that day to the day he left the company (2 years), everytime we spoke on the phone or met he treated me with respect....and thats all I wanted in the firstplace. So, In my case, I didn't consider the consequences of my action, just I wasn't going to sit and take the c**p.

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This is the best response in this case

by LadyBracknell In reply to What to tell them...

This is the best response for a number of reasons:

1) Clearly and impersonally stating what your issue is: the abusive language, etc.

2) Clearly laying out the consequences - all logical

3) Not falling into the usual pattern of blame, taking it personally, and reacting defensively.


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by jeffassessor In reply to Sure

Sadly, there is nothing you can say or due to affect a damaged boss. The ONLY way to treat an abusive personality is to separate yourself from it. In short, QUIT and find another position that does not involve, and there is just no other way to properly convey this, AN ASSHOLE. Consider striking out on your own. This is not to taken lightly, but then YOU will be in charge and have the opportunity to treat your employees with due respect! And more importantly, give to yourself the respect YOU DESERVE!

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Make them think about their actions...

by minstrel In reply to Sure

You need to document your boss' tirades, if for no other reason than to protect yourself in the case of being fired. I have found that the presence of a tape recorder on my desk (such as a micro cassette), placed in plain sight, which I make obvious motions to turn on during such tirades, followed by sincere emails explaining the details of the situation should at the very least make even the most insensitive person think about the consequences of their actions. I am not suggesting legal proceedings, but that of getting your ducks in a row, so that should you need to defend your position, you have ample evidence to do so. I also save said emails and responses on a floppy disk to prevent "accidental" erasure. I would encourage your co-workers to do the same. At the very least, this should make the boss think about his/her actions. Use caution, however, to make your documentation as devoid as possible of your own angst, and let it contain only the facts. Then follow that with a review of said facts to ensure that what the boss is saying does not have merit... it is always easier to see things more clearly after the fact, and after emotions have had time to settle down a bit. good luck!!

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good advice

by nathanderweise In reply to Make them think about the ...

In regards to 'minstrel' advice, I confirm that not only is this advice good to heed, it actually works. A former company I worked for hired a new boss which liked me too much, it was obvious, I didn't like / accept the behaviour and documented everything and indicated openly that this is unacceptable, the colleagues also understood my predicament. One day, he up and fired me, so I took all the documentation, went to HR and explained that I was unjustly fired because I didn't accept his unwarranted behaviour. 2 weeks later after processing my documentation, HR fired him, cleared my name and offered my position back.

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Be careful

by emm757 In reply to Make them think about the ...

I too was in a very abusive employee/employer situation in that the company I USED to work for, not only allowed leads and supervisor's to be jerks to their employees, but actually hired those person's who were used to pushing people around. The company thought that the more the leads and supervisors cracked the whip the more work they would get out of us. Usually workers only lasted about 1 year in that place.
The last real supervisor the company had, actually allowed us to use our brains, always asked please and said thank you, never raised his voice, and would listen to us. He managed to get more work done with fewer people, on his shift, than all of the other 3 shifts combined. Because of this, jealousy prevailed and he was eventually laid off.
The company is now bankrupt!! Take a lesson in this all of you leads and supervisors that think it's ok to abuse your people--no company is immune from going broke. Treat your employees like dirt at your own peril. The job you save may well be your own.

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The wise thing is not always the popular thing.

by smithdeltabiz In reply to Make them think about the ...

Your boss is a human being that has fears, flaws, and insecurities just like every other human being. This does not make him out to be the devil incarnate. He needs guidance from time to time from his employees. He must first be privately made aware of the problem in a polite but firm and humble but serious manner. Do not openly rebuke him in front of the other employees. You will be no better than he is to you. This will only increase the complexity of the problem and cause others to question his leadership and perhaps get you and/or him fired.

Communicate to him that you are all on the same team and that you want to see the company succeed.

You should do what your heart tells you and give him some time to change (a period that you feel to be reasonable). Remember that people don't change over night.

If he refuses to talk to you in private, then you have a valid reason to say what you were going to say in public but document the abuse and make sure that you have witnesses (2 or more) to confirm the fact that you made several attempts to alert him of the problem while respecting his authority at the same time. Make mention that you have informed him that you want to resolve the matter in private so that he does not have to suffer any embrassment or shame.

Each time that you must address his behavour, increase the firmness in which you handle him but never ever ever ever lose your cool!!!

To make a long story short stick with your values but try to solve the manner with Godly love for his well being. Your concern for him (brotherly love) may be enough to win him over.

If he does not respond to this, report him but make sure that you have followed the chain of command and company procedure. You should have witnesses to back your story.

If all else fails, Leave! Life is too short. Your mental, spiritual and physcal health are more important than losing your dignity and self-worth to a person that is being a destructive force in his own life and to others. You can only have the strength to do what I have mentioned if you have enough self-dignity, self-respect, and self-worth to accept the consequences of your actions, good or bad.

Feel content that you did all you could and that you must do in the end what is right for you.


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