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  • #2176671

    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 is…is 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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    • #3329861


      by jdmercha ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      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.

      • #3332188

        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.

        • #3332099

          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.

        • #3351370

          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.

        • #3335832

          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.


      • #3332164


        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!

      • #3332156

        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!!

        • #3332044

          good advice

          by nathanderweise ·

          In reply to Make them think about their actions…

          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.

        • #3351296

          Be careful

          by emm757 ·

          In reply to Make them think about their actions…

          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.

        • #3349768

          The wise thing is not always the popular thing.

          by smithdeltabiz ·

          In reply to Make them think about their actions…

          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.


      • #3332084

        Above All, Stick to Your Values

        by puresynergyflo ·

        In reply to Sure

        First, don’t take it personally. Your goal is to find a resolution rather than win an argument. Start looking for another job because there’s no better time to find the one you really want than when you’ve already got one. Your confidence will show in interviews. But above all, show all the qualities you would expect your boss to have. Be respectful, show tact, and start with a private non-accusatory conversation. Ask what kind of environment he wishes to have and then explain how close or how far you perceive the reality is from it. Provide suggestions. Show hope for his leadership and for the willingness of the employees to have a productive and limited stress environment. Ask what you can do to contribute to his goals. If this leads nowhere, don’t be upset, just know that your focus has to be on finding a better place. Change is always the hard to accept, for your boss as well as for you. But always treat others as you would have them treat you. A simple principle that works everytime in keeping your standards high, even if it’s not the outcome you were hoping for. Good luck.

        • #3332057

          Just the facts Maam…

          by wearsmanyhats ·

          In reply to Above All, Stick to Your Values

          I deal with this simply by stating the facts or bringing the conversation back to the facts or responding with the facts or pointing out the facts. Did I mention the need for facts? This is sometimes very hard to do in a heated situation and requires the development of a zen-like ability to cool the situation. Think Grasshopper! Is this not your son’s inability to use a computer? (to use an example.) Besides making the person think twice the next time they try and dump on you it has the added effect of allowing you to prove that indeed you know what you are talking about and deserve the salary/wage that they are paying you. You don’t even have to aknowledge the bad behaviour of your boss, simply ignore it as if it’s not even there and solve the problem, and then preferably walk away like the kung fu master you are and leave them standing there like the idiot they are. I think you’ll find that they now have a reluctance to repeat such events in the future. Also, documentation in the form of emails, witnessing co-workers, voicemail recordings, and even audio recordings are all acceptable “facts” in the kung fu master’s toolkit although it’s nice if you don’t have to take it to that level. 🙂

      • #3332072

        Yes, but not with a chip on your shoulder

        by hkball ·

        In reply to Sure

        … I’m a management consultant, hung out my own shingle back in 1968 … I have found that the tough bosses are the easiest to work with once you get by that first barrier …

        … the thing is, no matter what his reaction is, don’t get mad … just say “well, yes but …” or something like that, keep going … sooner or later, maybe not in that conversation he’ll appreciate your forthrightness, he needs it and he knows it … things will get better from then on … one way bosses really like straight talk, deep down ..


        • #3332008

          Reply To: Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

          by pickleman ·

          In reply to Yes, but not with a chip on your shoulder

          That’s just ridiculous beyond belief.

          You’re basically advocating idiotic behaviour and asking people to just grin and bear it…in the hopes that someday, MAYBE the idiot will “appreciate your forthrightness”.

          By not speaking up and directly challenging the goon’s behaviour, you’re encouraging him to keep on being an ass.

          The only way to make things better is to do as many others have already pointed out — document all his rants/ravings, keep evidence, inform HR, and make it VERY clear to the moron in question that you’re not going to take his crap, especially when it’s completely unjustified.

        • #3351234

          You miss the point

          by ikara.au9 ·

          In reply to Reply To: Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

          Obviously gather evidence of facts in all the ways possible doen’t hurt, you never know you may need them. If do not react badly to a boss in this situation, it is hard for him/her to be able to gather bad facts about you. Just calmly and firmly hold your ground, if he/she is not totally stupid, changing behaviour towards you for the best benifit to him/her is what will happen.
          Most if not all bosses will respond in kind. Bullys just want to brow beat you into submission, if it doesn’t work they need to change there behaviour, if the change is for the worse then the facts you collected will be useful. Responding to bad behaviour in kind will normally backfire on you. You will appear to be just as bad as he/she is

        • #3351109

          Point not missed at all

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to You miss the point

          Showing someone respect for disrespecting you will not get you respected, ever.
          These people interpret fear of consequences as respect, so show none ever. I respect everyone who shows me some respect, don’t get none , don’t give none.

      • #3332019

        You can, but….

        by jackuvalltrades ·

        In reply to Sure

        Most people like this (my own boss for instance) think of themselves as demi-gods and have convinced those higher than them that in fact they are. If you want to say something directly to him/her, have your resume updated and posted.
        My only suggestion other than leaving is to never have a conversation with the boss without a witness, record all conversations on paper and if a pattern of abuse is apparent, take it to HR.

        Just remember, no matter what you do, your career at this shop is going to be over most likely.

        • #3351406

          Right you are…

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to You can, but….

          A lot of managers will do anything, including sacrificing you, to keep their high paying positions. HR will be of no help. If you don’t record a conversation, your a liar, if you do, your a troublemaker. You can’t win unless you play by their rules (or have powerful friends).

        • #3351362

          Bosses think of themselves as demi-gods…

          by latenightlarry ·

          In reply to You can, but….

          My boss is also of the (self-proclaimed) demi-god status. Trouble is, I work for a large federal agency, and he has the next three or four levels up conviced he walks on water. He’s only been with the agency a couple of years, but was a corporate executive in the real world prior to that.

          He is absolutely paranoid about anybody in the office communicating with managers and support staff in the district office, and insists that all email be routed THROUGH him, not just copied. If he approves of the message, he will forward it on, possibly with changes, and the response from higher up must also pass through him. He and I had a blowup about that very topic Tuesday morning, and he went so far as to disable ALL my computer access, not just Outlook, before he talked to me. After he finished his tantrum, I went back to my desk, finished up a couple of little things, and went home on stress leave for the rest of the week. I am now in the process of writing my resume, and will be shopping it around. If I find something, I will retire from the agency with as little notice as possible.

        • #3352107

          There are times when being blunt works!

          by rayjeff ·

          In reply to Bosses think of themselves as demi-gods…

          At the current job I’m occupying, I’ve had issue upon issue upon problem since being here and there’s the almighty “chain of command”. So, I have gone to my supervisor and her immediate supervisor, which is our division chairperson. And for me, the only way for them to know and understand how I’ve been feeling is to be blunt with them.

          When I talked to them, I did it in a non-aggressive way. You can be blunt and not come out looking like the bad guy. But I guess that comes down to the relationship you have with your superiors and how open-minded they are to listening to their subordinates.

      • #3351411

        Crucial Conversation

        by hulsered ·

        In reply to Sure

        Read the book Crucial Conversations. It won’t solve all the problems, but it can help identify and diffuse a myriad of similar problems. Best of all are some wonderful other side benefits.

        Another help might be to leave the book ‘Leadership and Self-Deception’ on his desk – anonymously. This one is loaded.

        You need to address the issue WITHOUT attacking the person, or character.

        Good luck.

        • #3351388

          Another great reference is…

          by dougl4 ·

          In reply to Crucial Conversation

          Read “Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time” by Susan Scott. Our entire firm (17) read it and began using the techniques.

          Think of the conversations as “earnest” or “important” rather than confrontational.

          Even before, but especially since the book, I have been able to have frank/important conversations with my employers, for which I am forever grateful.

          Give it a read; it will only take a couple hours of investment.

        • #3351306

          Crucial Confrontations

          by hardisty ·

          In reply to Crucial Conversation

          I second the suggestion to read Crucial Conversations. It is hands down the best guidance on the subject, except perhaps a follow up book coming out by the same authors called Crucial Confrontations. I’ve used their approach and it works.

      • #3349969

        Be upfront!

        by chrissouthy ·

        In reply to Sure

        HaHa, this has created a venting board for people! Anyway, I had a control freak boss. He was fine accept he had control issues. We very rarely worked weekend at this office. I had famliy in town and my boss was aware of it. He calls me Saturday anyway and wants me to go in. I told him that I had family in town and would not be able to. He said that he didn’t appreciate it and hung up on me! The work to be done was equivalent to data entry! Point is, he just wanted me there. I went straight to the office and his eyes widened as I entered his office. I asked him if he had an issue with me. I was loyal and always did what was asked of me. I was not rude about it at all. I just told him that if he has an issue then I want to resolve it because I don’t work like that. Everything should be out in the open and honest. Life is more simple that way. I don’t need the drama.
        I didn’t work that day and he gave me several days notice if he wanted me to work on any future Saturdays. It worked out good.

      • #3349810


        by arlie1kenobi1 ·

        In reply to Sure

        Before you get real bunt with your boss you want to consider a few issues.
        1. Am I willing to find a new job?
        2. How good is my relationship with boss?
        3. Do I have enough sense to give criticism without belittling in any way?
        4. Am I willing to accept the results if they are not what I hope for?
        Having answered these questions, and still wanting to proceed; talk to your boss privately expressing very sincerly your desire to see him reach his full potential. (if you are not sincere, you’re not ready to talk to him)
        Realize that his attitudes are an effort to balance his ego, so if you attack his ego, you will suffer.
        If your comments are an attack on his character, you will not be sucessful!
        Arlie Black

      • #3243399

        Reply To: Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

        by the admiral ·

        In reply to Sure

        I think that if you give your boss a dressing down, you have to put:

        “I don’t mean to be a prick when I say this but…”

        before you do it. It may save your keister.

    • #3329859

      Exit Interviews….

      by jamesrl ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      I have had some exit interviews where I was quite candid – with HR. And my direct boss, and some other management people I worked with were eager for me to be blunt and honest, as they suffered under the same conditions I found to be intolerable. In fact my boss left some time after I did.

      And perhaps the 2 hours I spent with HR did make me feel better. But I am certain that it didn’t make any difference to those I left behind.

      Think about why you need to do this – I think you can probably find a method which doesn’t reflect badly on you, which a tantrum might.


      • #3329810

        I was lucky

        by awfernald ·

        In reply to Exit Interviews….

        My boss was sitting in on my exit interview 🙂

        He didn’t like hearing it, but for once, I think he actually understood how he generally treated people.

      • #3332314

        But, sometimes you need to call them on it.

        by dubdays ·

        In reply to Exit Interviews….

        I understand that some people will just move to a new job or just sit and tolerate it. I’m not against tolerance…to a point. If a boss were to do this once or twice, whatever…ignore it. The third time, I’d let him know that he’s being rude in a polite but firm sort of way. Don’t raise your voice, but ask something to the effect of “do you have any idea what we were even talking about?” or “I work all day, but all you ever see are the negatives. How often to you speak with your co-workers while you are doing your job?”. These aren’t meant to be rude, but I feel as though people have the right to know why they are being railroaded for no aparent reason. The key is to be tactful…don’t make it into something you could lose your job over. If it is a possiblity that you can lose your job for making such comments, go to his/her superior (if your corporate culture allows that) or, at the very lease, speak with an HR person about what to do. After all, a boss being such a jerk borders on psychological abuse, and HR would (should) be all over that if they want to avoid big problems.

        • #3332257

          Agree with most except for HR

          by dbertsche ·

          In reply to But, sometimes you need to call them on it.

          I agree with most of what you’ve said except for the part about going to HR. I’ve worked for 30 plus years and have generally found HR to be pretty much worthless for things like this. Either they don’t do anything about it or if they pass the information along it’s done in such a way as to be meaningless.

        • #3332208

          I am in total agreement about HR being useless

          by stillcatchingup ·

          In reply to Agree with most except for HR

          Trying to be the good employee and following the chain of command, our entire department has gotten together with HR on several occassions. We first started while our new boss was still on probation mind you, and all HR did was tell him that his employees weren’t happy with him and why. No direction for change, no training, and definitely no follow up with any of us as to whether there was any improvement.

          Since then, I have given up on HR and now I just confront the boss every time he treats me in a rude or demeaning manner. At least he has finally backed off me.

        • #3332150

          HR isn’t useless

          by rebel_angel_ ·

          In reply to I am in total agreement about HR being useless

          … but you have to know how to use them.

          Keep in mind that part of the job of HR is to complement the strategic objectives of the company. They are not there to represent employees so much as to look out for the interests of the company and ensure compliance to the letter (not necessarily the spirit) of the law in employment issues.

          Many companies are unaware of the potential benefits HR can bring to them, by improving employee morale and heading off problems before they become issues for the company. A well-managed HR department can deliver good ROI if allowed to do its job. HR professionals are always on the lookout for opportunities to prove their worth and keep (or gain) their place in the boardroom.

          So in order to utilize HR in eliminating a problem in the workplace, you have to keep their objectives in mind. Help them by giving them an argument that they can take verbatim to their immediate superiors (and the problem individual’s). Show how the individual’s behaviour negatively affects the company’s bottom line.

          Highlight potential liability issues and put it all in writing – make sure to flesh it out and get objective input on your draft before submitting, be careful not to overtly threaten. Then sit back and watch the heads roll and be prepared to have the bully start kissing your butt.

          To some extent, HR operates outside of the chain of command, and can get the ear of people in a position to make a real difference – IF you give them the tools. By putting your argument in bottom-line terms and making it clear that the person’s behaviour creates the potential for litigation and liability, you enable them to force the company to act.

          Even if HR isn’t really doing their job, which seems to be the case in StillCatchingUp’s example, an approach that implies not acting is likely to bite them in the ass can work wonders.

          It’s a game, so PLAY.

        • #3332095

          Things must be different in Canada

          by dbertsche ·

          In reply to HR isn’t useless

          The second sentence of the second paragraph where you state HR is not there to represent the employees but to look out for the interests of the company seems to me to identify their basic problem. As I said I’ve been working for more then 30 years and there was once a time where HR’s function was to look out for employees. Alas those days are gone which is why they are pretty much useless in situations like this. It’s too easy for them to go along with what the bosses say because that’s “safe” for them.

          I’ve actually seen it swing totally the other way where HR supports the bosses pretty much all the time.

          I guess I’ve never seen a “well managed HR department” as you put it. I’ve also never seen HR and ROI used in the same sentence.

          I have personally seen people do everything you suggested and with very compelling cases and come out on the short end of the stick.

          Maybe there’s some HR departments like what you’re suggesting but I’ve never seen or heard of them.

        • #3351387

          Reply To: Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to Things must be different in Canada

          The other thing is that the people in HR answer to the boss too, so it’s not very bloody likely they’ll go against him. Doubly bad for me because IT is “under” HR in the chain of command.

        • #3349799

          HR … useless?

          by mark ·

          In reply to HR isn’t useless

          Okay, I am going to be honest here and say that my initial thoughts on what rebel_angel had to say were not very complimentary! Sorry rebel_angel!

          Having re-read the reply I would partly agree that if HR were allowed to function effectively presenting information in a factual manner would be the best way forward.

          All too often HR is squeezed into being a managment “beating stick” which leaves many employees feeling that HR is simply useless.

          I have had a boss that was on the offensive side and I asked to speak with him in quiet, away from the office and gave him my feedback openly and honestly. I think the key was that I ‘owned’ my comments i.e. most of them started with ‘I’.

          My boss was shocked and explained that he had not realised that he was being like that. As it turned out I chose to leave a few months later having benefited from a better working relationship with my boss.

          Hope that helps.

        • #3235262

          Reply To: Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

          by elliottlynne ·

          In reply to HR isn’t useless

          HR is good if used correctly as Rebel Angel said
          but above all document, document, document everything .

        • #3351356

          HR being useless…

          by latenightlarry ·

          In reply to I am in total agreement about HR being useless

          What HR? The agency I work for has centralized all HR functions at the district level, and is moving towards having just one HR function office for the entire country. No one in the field offices does exit interviews, and for most employees, the district office is just too far away.

          Besides, if we did have any HR function at the local office, the boss would probably be the one you’d have to talk to because there are no administrative type supervisors.

        • #3332001

          Reply To: Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

          by pickleman ·

          In reply to Agree with most except for HR

          Just because YOUR particular HR department is useless, doesn’t mean that ALL other companies’ HR departments are useless.

        • #3351383

          Whoa, a little defensive aren’t you?

          by dbertsche ·

          In reply to Reply To: Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

          My two posts both used the words “generally” and “for the most part”. I never said all HR departments but my experience has been the majority which is why I worded my posts the way I did. If you happen to be in a company with an HR department that operates differently, then consider yourself lucky.

          Note that I have encountered many people over the years that have the same opinion so it’s not just me.

        • #3332204

          It’s OK, but exercise wisdom

          by agmiller05 ·

          In reply to But, sometimes you need to call them on it.

          Having had my share of ego-centric bosses there are some things that I have learned.
          – Some people truly are ignorant
          – It’s not your job to train everyone
          – You can model a different and better way
          – Let your work speak for itself
          If you gain nothing except personal satisfaction, was it worth it? You decide.

        • #3332180

          I also agree.

          by jwarmath ·

          In reply to But, sometimes you need to call them on it.

          On the third time you certainly should call them on it. You would need to speak to them in private, but with a witness, preferrably over your boss. And, you should be as tactful and as respectful as possible. You can’t “lose your cool” and expect to win. No one has the right to belittle or abuse any employee no matter what. Yes, you should be prepared to lose your job either through that boss firing you or your willingness to take it to that point in standing up for yourself as a human. Someone may make more money than you but no one is more valuable as a person.

        • #3332141

          Answer his rudeness with your own feeling

          by antispock ·

          In reply to But, sometimes you need to call them on it.

          When your boss is rude to you let him know how it makes you feel. He will not be able to respond negatively because feelings are not something you can argue against.

          For example when your boss was telling the technitian that IT can’t fix anything. If the staff was to say “When you berate me in front of others it makes me feel angry. If you meant it as a joke I didn’t take it the right way and would appreciate it if you stop.”

          You have to be specific with the behavior your boss does that effects your feelings.

      • #3332234

        Exit interviews sometimes work… SOMETIMES

        by hitek-hillbilly ·

        In reply to Exit Interviews….

        My last exit interview was a great place for venting, because my boss’s boss’s boss really WANTED things to work, but he was fairly new around the company, and he didn’t know everybody yet. So, he really wanted to hear my opinions.

        Three weeks after I left, my boss was gone, too. It was very gratifying. But, I always felt that I could maybe have accomplished the same thing without leaving, if I had known how receptive my two-steps-up boss was.

        I’ve always seemed to have a problem with just this sort of thing. I interview for a position… I speak with the potential manager or boss… I ask how they are about employees being honest and straightforward… “Oh, I am always honest and frank with my people, and I want the same from them!”… etc.

        Then, they start to tread on toes, lie, manipulate, circumvent the rules, etc. I say something and WHAM – get my gonads caught in a vise.

        I have decided that I can’t be honest with my bosses any more. If I get treated like a doormat now, I’ll just try to smile at first and tolerate it. But after a while, I start looking around for something new and when I find it, I’ll turn in my papers.

      • #3332000


        by mtbrady73 ·

        In reply to Exit Interviews….

        I would say reserve your remarks for exit interviews.

        Okay so personal experiance taught me a lesson. I decided to bring up to the partner of a company some “managment” issues with the way we were running one of the locations I was responsible for…and summarily was let go about a week later. They felt I didn’t fit with the company plan as it was said.

        So if your ready to move on … sure go right ahead!

        Now in a bigger company (as I now am at) you can report things to your Ethics Officer and/or remain anonomous (sp) by using your EAP (Employee Assistance Program). I have seen this work. So use the EAP if you have it, that’s what it’s there for.

        Okay I’m rambbling now….time to mutter to myself some.

        Just my two cents…

    • #3329858

      A statistic was quoted on the news last night…

      by salamander ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      …that one in twenty-five people is a sociopath. Though that number seems a tad high to me, I suppose it could be true, using a very loose definition.

      That said, nothing you can say will inspire a person who lacks a sense of empathy to develop one. The best I’ve found that can be done in such situations is to teach the person to fake the “correct” behavior…but that was only when requested, and there has to be an incentive. Once upon a time, I had a boss like that, and I was basically intended to be the buffer between him and the rest of the staff. He just had no sense of when he was saying something hurtful, and he didn’t really care, either. Still doesn’t, from what I’ve heard.

      You can’t change somebody like that. Accept the person as he/she is, and ignore him/her, or move on. My advice would be to do the latter. When I left, I didn’t need to say a word. The reason was assumed.

      • #3332299

        TAI?- Try Accept Ignore

        by inno4te ·

        In reply to A statistic was quoted on the news last night…

        Here you put in all your tactfulness, goodness and will to understand, be flexible, productive and God & Man Pleasing! Play their game, give them the trip they want to go on and make them feel important about it. Chances are if you fail or just run off at the first instance, you may loose out on a learning that will benefit you forever. Don’t just switch jobs for the sake of it..manage it, like the manager you’re meant to be. If it still doesn’t succeed,

        Here you’ve finally discovered that, all you did in try doesn’t mean a thing (apparently)to him/her.Ok, if you can’t still bear it, accept their state and sturboness, but consider yourself the better, on a mission to teach by silently leaving a how to manage by doing to others what you’d want them do to you. very applicable when you’re a line manager too.Don’t try to change them anymore, just live it the way you’d want them.and if they still ignore and continue in their ruthless paths,

        Just ignore them. Work with them as colleagues, treat them as human, yet avoid any tense situation while still giving the best of yourself. Remember your job is a mission and a difficult boss may be just one of the challenges to make life exciting!

        • #3332288

          I agree…

          by asleghel ·

          In reply to TAI?- Try Accept Ignore

          …and you can’t change anyone’s behaviour but try to keep your head on next time you get a boss like him. You don’t have to argue with but just to approach the attitude they need to accept as equal. He can be framed in the category of the bootlickers. They’re acting like you said because of feeling insecure. But if they perceive somebody’s firmly attitude (and not too obediently) will treat them with all the respect they’re capable of.

        • #3332255

          paradigm shifting

          by wilsondj7 ·

          In reply to I agree…

          Change the person’s environment; he is used to getting a certain response to his behaviour. You may be able to catch him off guard with a shift. When he butts into a conversation, include him and ask his opinion. Ask his advice on other issues you’re working on. If he knows what he’s talking about, he may be happy for the invitation to help. If you have embarrassed him by the attempt, he may not come around as much. My $.02

        • #3332137

          oo I like this one!

          by rebel_angel_ ·

          In reply to paradigm shifting

          it’s worth a try and a heck of a lot less work than going to HR.

    • #3329848

      Emotional Intelligence

      by mirrormirror ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Emotional Intelligence and Working With Emotional Intelligence are 2 books that you might find interesting. They talk about the brain and why we do the things we do.

      Every person can change the way they treat others, since it is a choice that is made. To act like people cannot be changed and must be accepted is a defeatist attiude. Just because a person has not developed the ability to treat people properly does not make it acceptable that they continue to be rude. Just look at your own children, what level of civility do you try to teach them? Why should you accept any less from those around you?

      Unfortunately, many times there is little to nothing that can be done about an abusive boss if everyone simply accepts his behaviour. I realize that you are venting, but how long before this constantly negative person eats at your veiw of yourself? When are you going to turn around at one of the comments and fire back? It is something to think about. I decided a long time ago that I would choose to never be harrassed or put down at work again. I will walk out and have done so. Good luck.

      • #3332306

        It is a pity the best guy walks out.

        by gunnar klevedal ·

        In reply to Emotional Intelligence

        In many situations it might be the most wise person who leaves. Before you decide to pick a fight, you should make a list with all advantages of your current job, and another with all disadvantages. Read them out loud to yourself.
        In worst case, what do you loose…., what can you gain? Is it really worth the trouble anyway?
        It is hard to change others, the only one you can really change is yourself. If you change jobs, you might find open minds, Teamwork without jealosy, people who try to understand fellas without trying to interpret everything from their own stanpoints. If you want to try making friends with the boss, just try it!

        • #3332206

          The good people will be good somewhere else too

          by rknrlkid ·

          In reply to It is a pity the best guy walks out.

          I learned that in the military, where there are lots of abusive managers/leaders. When push comes to shove, someone who is good in one environment will be good in another, too. Which means the first will lose valuable talent because of someone who lacks people skills.

          I was told of this conversation once:

          Commander: Sergeant X, reenlist. We need to keep good people like you.

          Sergeant X: Sir, you need good people like me, but you don’t do anything to keep them. (Commenting on the years of mismanagement and schedule abuse by his superiors.)

    • #3329846

      Everyone will most likely hate my saying this but….

      by ippirate ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      If your motivation is for your own self-gratification, then I would say that you are doing nothing more than placing yourself on his level. If you can do it with the focus and objective of his betterment and nothing other than to build him up, then give it the go. I would imagine everyone else already perceives this person a jerk, no need to add your name to the possibilities.

      HDICs are known for their lack of interpersonal skills. It’s because of the lack of cerebal tissue. Unfortunately, the mandibular structures of the tick provides a powerful avenue for it to perpetuate its life, even to the general detriment of the host.

      • #3332187

        The only way out…

        by mmetrick ·

        In reply to Everyone will most likely hate my saying this but….

        The only way to deal with an abusive boss, it to command respect from the beginning. It’s the battered wife syndrome. At first its seems like no big deal. But little by little, abuse creeps in and before you know it, it’s a trap. Stop them from the very first time, no matter how trivial it may seem. Talk to him/her in private, do not embarass them, and 9 times out of ten, you’ll gain their respect. These people are bullys, and bullys are cowards.

        HOWEVER: many are just too arrogant to care, so keep your options open. There’s an old expression,

        “Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes our time and annoys the pig”

        I have been working for myself for 7 years, now, I just could not take the abuse. I make less money now, but am extremely happy.


    • #3329845

      It is called RESPECT

      by jdclyde ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      and your boss has none for you or your coworkers.

      Sounds like he is lifting himself up by trashing everyone else around him.

      If not, another game poor managers like to play is to demoralize the work force. If the feel they are worthless and are lucky to have that job they are less likely to ask for raises and time off.

      What a jerk.

      Sure you could talk to this guy, but I doubt if it would help you out. Even if he stopped being such an open jerk, he sounds like the type to hold a grudge and there goes raises and advancement out the window.

      Anonomous letter to upper management that he is creating a hostile work enviornment may help. Send to his boss, his bosses boss, and HR. State fear of retrabution as the reason for not coming forward.

      • #3329834

        This guy is the top boss

        by tomsal ·

        In reply to It is called RESPECT

        There is no one above him. That’s part of the whole problem and why so many here feel uncomfortable.

        Thanks for insight though, I really do appreciate it.

        • #3329693

          Gross & agree with jdclyde

          by dafe2 ·

          In reply to This guy is the top boss

          Definetly agree with the previous post and:

          I’d start shopping if I were you……if your example is even REMOTELY close to what goes on, leave.

          I’ve read a lot of your stuff TOMSAL & I’m (actually) surprised you didn’t just tell him where to go. You (seem) to be a very talented articulate person. My take anyway.

          In any case, if you can swing it, slam that door when you leave ……………..make sure the doorknob hits him in the nuts. (Don’t think he any though)

          Allthough I have no idea what goes on in your office, the example you give is gross, childish and reads like your being led by some kindergarden cop………not a good longterm employer for you & sure as hell a pathetic example of a leader.

        • #3342082

          Thanks and yes I know…

          by tomsal ·

          In reply to Gross & agree with jdclyde

          …I don’t have any good (enough) excuse for not leaving sooner before this last year. However during this last year I’ve been dealing with health issues of my own, high stress (about 80% of which is outside of work – as of the last few months) so I guess I didn’t want to add more stress to myself. However, I agree with you — I think I deserve better (I think all the other folks here deserve better too).

          Thanks for your feedback, I appreciate it.


        • #3341917

          Your welcome

          by dafe2 ·

          In reply to Thanks and yes I know…

          I hope your sress level comes down & your health returns soon tomsal!

        • #3332108

          Stand up to him

          by jeremys ·

          In reply to Thanks and yes I know…

          Sometimes you just need to stand up to your boss. You need to show him/her your not afraid of them and that you are an equal. I?m lucky, my current boss is pretty easy going. However, at my previous job, I had a mean, bitter boss that treated everyone like crap. It wasn?t until I calmly stood up to her (without having a temper tantrum) that she finally respected me. I told her that if she thought she could do what I was doing faster and better to show me, and she could not. I didn?t look away when she got mad, and I never looked at the ground when she spoke to me.
          People like her prey on the weak? show you?re boss that you are strong.

        • #3332123


          by rebel_angel_ ·

          In reply to This guy is the top boss

          Forget everything I said about HR then.


          When interviewers ask why, just say something like “I didn’t feel I was a fit with their corporate culture and wanted to work somewhere more like X” where X loosely approximates the self-image the interviewer’s company promotes and includes your career objectives in said environment – or quote a need for advancement or a more stable environment or more exciting/routine/whatever work, just suit the answer to the employer and avoid mentioning any personality conflict.

          If the boss is really such a jerk, when he tanks it’ll be spectacular, so be out of range when it happens. If you get a good gig and they’re hiring, take the best of your co-workers with you.


        • #3349958

          There is only one place above him…

          by zetacon4 ·

          In reply to This guy is the top boss

          Read up on your State Board of Labor Relations and state laws. Contact your state labor representative and have a good talk with him/her.
          No boss in any company will ignore the possibility of having to explain their actions to the state board!!! I worked for Sears, Roebuck and Co. for more than eight years, and had a very abusive boss. I managed his outbursts by applying this very pressure. I told my company manager that if he failed to manage my boss’s anger and outbursts, I had but one recourse and that was to file a suit with the State Board of Labor. I never had any more trouble from him. Even after he was gone from the company and returned to visit, he spoke nicely with me and respected me.
          I mention this option, because no one had yet mentioned it. Lots of great advice has been posted here also!

    • #3329838

      Re: Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      by craig herberg ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Your spouse and/or friends, but not those from your workplace, are those to whom you should vent about your boss. If you decide to seek employment elsewhere, do not discuss problems with your current boss in the interview, or you will be viewed as the person with the problem. In my opinion, your exist interview is best used to talk about your new opportunities. If your boss is as bad as you say he is, low morale and high turnover should clue his management.

      Good luck.

      Craig Herberg

      • #3329822

        What about venting TO the boss?

        by oz_media ·

        In reply to Re: Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

        I never talk abot peoepl behind their back, if they are available to bitch at anyway.

        Talking to your family and friends about problems at work, especially relationship issues is actually the worst thing you can do, nest to complaining to coworkers.

        All it does is build the fire, you get a bee in your bonnet and take it with you to work. Nobody knows why, the boss can’t do anythiog to sort it out and eventually you are let go.

        You’d be amazed at how receptive abrasive people are when they are addressed directly. THEY would do it, so they expect it from others.

        Obviously it would depend also on you current raltionship as to how much TACT is used, but it is ALWAYS best to address issues like this directly to the person(s) involved. Otherwise a cancer builds in the office that will inevitably sink the ship.

        • #3332268


          by rimas ·

          In reply to What about venting TO the boss?

          have you tried to talk to him simply, direct and tactical? Dont expect much, just no offence…

        • #3332231

          Just for the sake of answering you…

          by tomsal ·

          In reply to Right

          My mind is made up in my course of action, but I wanted to answer you and OZ.

          I must realize the fact that the folks here don’t know the situation accept for what I tell you so I can understand how the obvious action of “well why not talk to the boss directly about this” would arise.

          This isn’t the mentality of this guy, it wasn’t only tried by me but by many people throughout the years. This isn’t a new boss or just a manager he is the founder/owner (and in his mind “GOD”) of the company. I’ve worked for him for nearly a decade now, things were “ok” for a while and since I’m not a quitter and he used to keep his hands off more so to speak, progressively he got more and more controlling, took on more of a “I’m the king, serve me” mentality, and I’m never wrong, ect. ect.

          You can’t reason with him, and any employee of his who comes back against anything he says he views with a mindset of “how dare you question ME (the mighty rule of all I survey)”..

          So there you have it.

          Trust me, I’m a person who gives folks a couple shots but afterwards I have zero problem being direct. But this person is one of those types that nothing matters, unless you are waving tons of money at him.

    • #3329831

      Thanks everyone for your help on this

      by tomsal ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Hey its a couple hours since I wrote this thread. I’ve calmed down a lot and read all your posts in advice. Very good stuff, I do appreciate it. I think I need to face facts its time to move on from this place, I’m at the point I’m taking things to personal now and I don’t want that.

      Thanks again everyone.

      • #3329821

        I’d at least address the issue

        by oz_media ·

        In reply to Thanks everyone for your help on this

        If you are considering moving on, give your boss the benfit of the doubt, have a quiet talk with him or her. If it is met abrasively, turn up the volume and mirror the person.

        Worst case scenario, you decide to move on.

        • #3329779

          Update Resume first

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to I’d at least address the issue

          And have an exit strategy.

          I would cut back on all spending for a month or so first to have something to fall back on. Two months worth of bills should be set aside first. (not that you shouldn’t have this ammount for “just in case” anyways)

          See what is available in your area or any other areas you would concider commuting or moving to.

          Then try to work things out, without making it a personal attack on the boss. Sure it is all him, but you don’t get anywhere by telling him he is a jerk.

          We have had many classes through work of dealing with this type of people.

          Start it out “when you do this, it makes me feel (fill in the blank)” Turn it around and get him to look at it from your point without looking like you are beating up on him. It is about you and a problem you are having. If you keep it like that, he will be less defensive with you. It sucks, but sometimes it is the only way to work WITH people.

          Also, make sure it isn’t in front of a group of people as again he will be more likely to get defensive. Once he gets his back up, it is done.

          If this doesn’t work, then I would follow the Oz route of letting him see what it is like to be talked to that way. Don’t quit until you have something else lined up if at all possible. Document everything and let him try to fire you. You will then get the unemployment check to help through to the new job, plus their leads (if they are any good).

          Good Luck.

        • #3332149

          Considering the circumstances – I wouldn’t

          by zaferus ·

          In reply to I’d at least address the issue

          I’ve worked both with and for people who have attitudes similar to what you describe. In my experience people without empathy or any caring to those around them are only going to zero in on you if you approach them with your concerns.

          It sounds like you’re not ready to jump ship – even though that’s what I’d personally do in your shoes. So here are my recommendations:

          Depending on your company, if you feel the need to discuss this with your boss I’d draw up a clear list of things you want to discuss, ask HR if they could arrange the meeting to discuss your concerns and don’t say anything until the three of you are in the same room.

          Normally it’s best to settle differences directly with the person you have the problem with – but from experience this just doesn’t work with this personality type.

          Now that HR is involved, if your boss targets you directly he could be cutting his own throat. If he starts making snide remarks or directly targets you launch a harassment complaint to HR immediately after it happens. Don’t let a single thing slide as this would only empower him in his mind.

          I know a lot of people don’t like to go down this road (I know I don’t), but this will save you from being wrongfully terminated or letting him bash you freely as a company reference. A black mark on your resume that’s not your fault is frustrating and will haunt you for a long time.

        • #3332054


          by the chad ·

          In reply to I’d at least address the issue

          There is nothing to be gained by “fixing” the boss. In fact, you cannot “fix” him, “clue” him, or even “lighten” him up. The only thing you will do it possibly screw yourself when you are branded as a troublemaker.

          The best thing to do in such situations is to leave. Say _NOTHING_ during the exit interview, BECAUSE EVERYTHING YOU SAY CAN BE USED AGAINST YOU (for example, if you need to later file charges). Or such things can make their way into references (I know it is illegal, but I’ve seen it happen “off the record” too many times for such things to be coincidence).

          You can’t fix your boss. They will not use what you say in the exit interview to improve anything (they don’t care; if they did, they would have asked your opinion while you were still an employee). You can either suck it up or find a place were you are appreciated.

          Your choice.

      • #3329761

        Same boat

        by jellimonsta ·

        In reply to Thanks everyone for your help on this

        I was in the same boat a month ago. I started a new job last week, and while my boss was not abrasive in my previous position, he made my working conditions a lot more difficult.
        I had been candid with him as well as HR before I decided to move on, but I was also candid in my exit interview.
        The boss was a great guy, but not a very good manager. One of my coworkers there handed in his resignation 1 week after I did, and another 3 weeks before also, so they went from a team of 5 to a team of 2 in a couple of months.
        I believe the manager is looking around, but even if he does not, I imagine he will be filling a box in the not too distant future anyway.
        Not that that will help the company.

        • #3329744

          Exit interviews

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to Same boat

          What’s with exit interviews? Some new fandagled way of HR trying to look needed?

          My exit interviews, “YOU GUYS ALL SUCK, F.O. I AM NEVER COMING BACK TO THIS HOLE, BYE!! Anyone who I like is welcome to come for a beer though!”

          That’s why you ALWAYS get a written reference long before leaving a company. 🙂

          People are too scared to ask for a leter of reference, at acompany I worked with that actually DID do those written annual reviews, after each review I requested a letter of reference, you never know if THAT Boss will be around when/if you leave and a new boss may not know your abilities.

        • #3329738

          Written references

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to Exit interviews

          I don’t trust them, and neither do most companies I work for.

          In most interview situations, I prefer to speak to the person who is a reference so I can ask a few questions. They are always more honest on the phone than in a letter.

          I track my references. When I was job hunting, I’d give them a heads up that they would get a call, and I would forward the job description so they knew how to answer. I’d ask them to call me after they were called.

          I’ve heard of “fake” written references, and I know that written references are often written under duress. They will put someone in the best light. I want to ask some questions of the references.


        • #3329714

          Of course

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to Written references

          I have recently quoted on a few jobs where they INSIST all references musy be in writing.

          Also, when you offer phone numbers, people et indundated with calls about you and will eventually get tired of it.

          I also prefer to have two or three lists of references that I hand out upon request only and then I circulate who’s reference I use so as to again stop them being inundated with calls about me.

          BY all means, ANY written reference I offer is also available for a phone call, but I don’t offer references up front, only if requested.

          My experience speaks for itself, if you wan’t confirmation you can obtain it. If you STILL aren’t sure, I don’t want to work with you anyway, that business I will do without.

          But I ALWAYS get a letter of reference LONG before I leave a company, you’ll hardly ever get one afterwards.

        • #3329720

          The joys…

          by jellimonsta ·

          In reply to Exit interviews

          Of a touchy feely world my friend 🙂

        • #3329711

          It’s all phony anyway

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to The joys…

          People don’t really give two sh*ts how you feel, they just want you to rat someone or something out.

          It is a PC formality, one that is insincere and useless ot me. If YOU don’t know what’s wrong with your own compnay, that’s your problem,I’m gone. Buh Bye!

          If you want my opinions on people or policies, ask me when I damnwell work for you, not after I have quit or begged for a layoff. If you value my opnion so, then I will run your company for a while, actually I won’t you already burned that bridge, again buh bye.

          Yes I am a very touchy feely person, when I choose to be. When it comes to business, lay your cards on the table and give me the stright goods, believe me, I WILL return the favour.

          I have NO respect for people who aren’t up front, I have no time for them either. I will tell you what I don’t like, it’s no mystery. Thus nothing is obtained by an exit interview, it just lets the company know if I am planing on legal action or will drag their name through the gutter. It’s for their own benfit not mine, that;s just a facade to make it acceptable for them to ‘debreif’ you.

        • #3342063

          Thats harsh

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to It’s all phony anyway

          I actually do care about how my staff feel. And so have many of my bosses.

          At one employer I knew exactly why they had an exit interview – they had an employee retention program and they were determined to see which slot I fit in – was I leaving because of money, benefits, working hours, career advancement etc. Once they got that it was mercifully short.

          At another place, they really did want to know what I felt. I felt for the person doing the interview because I knew she felt the same way, and I knew she would be powerless to change things.

          Some staff are so guarded when you ask them these questions while they are still employed. I remember when I took on a new team, I met with each of them for 15 minutes and talked about what they liked and disliked about their job, the department etc. Most were pretty good at giving something – but one person refused to open even a crack. I knew there were issues in the department, and I knew she knew felt some too. I knew that she would never give me a straight answer or tell me how she really felt. It didn’t hurt her career progression cause she was a very hard worker and good tech. But it made a big impression, and not a good one.


        • #3342043

          That’s my point though James

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to Thats harsh

          A company that CARES about how its employees feel would be one that is on top of the staff enough to know WHAQT issues they have, and if they show they are genuinely cocerned, people usually opn up and lay their cards on the table. It’s a two-way respect.

          He doesn’t WANT to leave but has issues, you don’t WANT to lose the person so you will be interested in making a better workplace for them. This is how you AVOID exit interviews by addressing employee needs, and it is found in companies that DO care and is respected.

          Letting an employee stifle in anger/frustration for 6 months until finally quitting, THEN asking what sort of issues had prompted the decision is just backwards management.

          Exit interviews, are generally a way of ‘clearing up any hard feelings’ or finding out what the employee is taking to his lawyer upon leaving.

          Not exactly heads up or concerned management.

          As for the quiet employee in your team, the others may be voicing her concerns for her, as you did say they were pretty open with most issues. Perhaps SHE just figured she’d let the others speak for her, and they did.

        • #3351427

          Re:That’s Harsh

          by gauravbahal ·

          In reply to Thats harsh

          I like your attitude Linn, though there are few of your kind these days.
          In an ideal world there would be no ”exit interviews” since employers would take good care of the employees and they wont have to leave.
          True, there is feedback taken from employees from time to time, but how much of it gets implemented and what is the attitude of the people implementing the processes / policies is what counts most.
          Most people don’t voice their concerns for fear of being shunned and made a scapegoat. Take the eg., of TomSal, if he gives it to the boss…there is a good possibility that he would be the only person standing and others would just back out. He would be in deep trouble then. Every body tends to save their skin..and they usually have a good reason for it. Can the HR in Tomsal’s company go for the top boss? Can they really?
          Guess everything is situational….mostly the answers to such questions is ”welllll…it depends” 🙂

        • #3332182

          Hear, hear!!

          by paulcfry ·

          In reply to It’s all phony anyway

          Wow, great speech, dude, you should be on a reality show.

          As for real reality, there’s a lot of more substantive advice and opinion elsewhere in this thread.

        • #3351284

          Scary part

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to Hear, hear!!

          Thar IS reality for me. Just TRY and ask me what was wrong AFTER I quit. Most people wouldn’t need to, I wouldn’t walk out on a company before making sure I offered an ‘exit speech’ whether they asked or not.

        • #3350583

          How the interview is used is what counts

          by sharyljg ·

          In reply to It’s all phony anyway

          I had a truly abusive boss. She was the type that convinced her employees that they were incompetent and in the “financial climate” lucky to have jobs at all.

          She accidentally hired a self-confident young woman who quit before her 30 days were up. During the exit interview, she said the department was a mess with low morale and poor manager/employee relationships and she did not care to participate.

          Needless to say, her leaving was the fault of all the poor attitudes of the employees. No attention was given to the manager.

          The beatings will continue . . .

      • #3332139

        Go out in a blaze of glory!

        by buschman_007 ·

        In reply to Thanks everyone for your help on this

        I don’t know your boss so I can’t say for sure how to handle him. But he sounds like your typical ego-centric guy who is probably gonna be very UNreceptive to critizism. I would only criticize at the same time you are handing in your twoo week notice. Guys like that rarely change their stripes.


      • #3332052

        I wouldn’t mind hitting him where it hurts

        by papeirce ·

        In reply to Thanks everyone for your help on this

        I’d like to know who this guy is…if the word gets out and no one want’s to do business with this jerk or his company, it will hurt him where he’ll feel it most – in his wallet. To hell with him. I just feel bad for all those working for that company. I’ve seen so many “Dot-coms” go under because of such behavior in the upper echelon…people don’t want to do business with flaming jerks!

        Very respectfully yours

    • #3329825

      I can understand your position exactly

      by oz_media ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Yes I have worked for THAT guy.

      I also had it to the point where if he (the company president) walked in and interrupted me I could just say “F-O, and let us get some damn work done! If you had even the slightest clue what we were discussing, you wouldn’t have had to hire us!”

      Or when I was feeling rather passive “Sit down and shut up you might learn something”
      or “Please close the door on your way out”

      Gotta remember, even with many years of sales under my belt, I was still a mechanic before I got into IT and I manage heavy metal bands, I guess employers expect it from me (sterotype), so I don’t let them down.

      • #3329820

        I’ve also worked for him

        by jamesrl ·

        In reply to I can understand your position exactly

        My first computer job 20 years ago, the President was a real piece of work.

        He thought nothing of insulting people in open areas. He belittled people on a regular basis.

        I remember having a salesperson bare his soul over lunch – they had been on a sales trip together for a huge contract, and things were going pretty well until the president implied that the potential customer would be stupid to not chose them. Needless to say the sale was not made.

        He was so memorable that an informal association was created by ex employees, and the name of the association had his initials in the acronym. These folks met once a month for a few years to hoist a few.

        His major problem was that he was highly entrepreneurial, and when the company got beyond the size where he could be involved with every decision, he couldnt handle it. I worked for another software company a couple of years later, with a name everyone knows, and experienced the same thing(he insulted Apple employees for example, when we were trying to become an Apple software vendor).

        At some point, you have to look at whats best for you. And working for a bad boss, is not healthy, mentally or physically. Do what you have to do.


      • #3329768

        Expectation do matter

        by jdclyde ·

        In reply to I can understand your position exactly

        My bud is in a bad position because he was always a dedicated worker. He would work over ANYTIME it was needed or they just said to. Other employees that make the same wage will tell them where to stick it and leave when it is time to leave.

        He is to the point where it is almost impossible for him to even use a vacation day because they will tell him it is denied.

        It was a major ruckus when his daughter was born a few months back and they expected him to go to the next clients place instead of getting his butt to the hospital in time for the delivery. He grew a backbone out of necessity and went to the hospital.

        He is a GREAT tech with more education/certs/exp than anyone I know and could write his own ticket, but he puts up with it.

        The lazy techs still get no slack for leaving early, but I think it is just because he LETS them treat him badly.

        Don’t let them treat you badly. (accept for when you deserve it)

      • #3329747

        Expectation do matter

        by jdclyde ·

        In reply to I can understand your position exactly

        My bud is in a bad position because he was always a dedicated worker. He would work over ANYTIME it was needed or they just said to. Other employees that make the same wage will tell them where to stick it and leave when it is time to leave.

        He is to the point where it is almost impossible for him to even use a vacation day because they will tell him it is denied.

        It was a major ruckus when his daughter was born a few months back and they expected him to go to the next clients place instead of getting his butt to the hospital in time for the delivery. He grew a backbone out of necessity and went to the hospital.

        He is a GREAT tech with more education/certs/exp than anyone I know and could write his own ticket, but he puts up with it.

        The lazy techs still get no slack for leaving early, but I think it is just because he LETS them treat him badly.

        Don’t let them treat you badly. (accept for when you deserve it)

      • #3332311

        My 2 cents

        by anthonyonthetrail ·

        In reply to I can understand your position exactly

        Well, I haven’t posted here before but I have read a lot of the very interesting posts here. I have been in the computer business for almost 20 years now and might have a bit of advice: both for myself to keep in mind, and maybe for others. If you find yourself in a position where you are overworked, overloaded, disrespected, and generally at the point of exploding when the next (daily!?) patch/upgrade/install/rollout/how do I use my cell phone issue comes along do what I did. Quit.

        Each day of your life is a gift. I know, I know, we all need money for a new gas-guzzler, the latest shoot ’em up game, or whatever, but honestly, if you don’t have health and happiness, your job will be a prison.

        I just lived through (barely) a year working for an overseas company doing IT work, and my position is one-deep and DIY. I support 75 computers, 8 servers, 12 different applications (these are specific to engineering, and in addition to the raft of MSFT/Adobe/whatever that is normal), 20 printers, and whatever else gets heaped on top. No budget, no training, no management help, users who have been using computers for 20 years and don’t know how to put paper in the printer when it asks for it, and the rest. I managed to get all the systems functional after red-faced screaming matches (the users were doing the screaming, I might add) warning me that “The systems haven’t worked in 10 years, and they can’t be fixed” which is what the last person told them. My computers are 2 generations old, and my servers have 233 mhz processors in them to give you an idea of the stone age stuff were’re talking about here. I worked 12 hours days for about 6 months just to get things organized to where I thought my responsibilities were being covered. I have had to dig through trash piles to recover any/all reusable parts to keep my crumbling infrastructure alive without as much as a Thank You from my company. We’re not talking about a mindless 1,000 person organization, rather 12 Americans and 150 local nationals.

        Anywho, get your resume all sorted out, start looking for other employment. Me? I think I’m going to do something really meaningful like bake bread or brew beer, or maybe even find some earth to till and get back in touch with something real that will bring joy to both the producer and the person who consumes the product, instead of the constant hate and negative energy that spews forth from both users and machines…

        Thanks for letting me rant and one last thing: although America might be dealing with some new problems, I can assure you it IS one of the greatest places to live on this planet.

        • #3351285

          I’m sure it is

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to My 2 cents

          “although America might be dealing with some new problems, I can assure you it IS one of the greatest places to live on this planet.”

          SOME problems, nicely minimized. 😀

          I am sure it IS a great place to live, if you are American. I don’t know too many Canadians who could/would live there though, because when you are Canadian, Canada is the greatest place to live.

          In fact an annual global tavel poll has has two Canadian cities listed in the top 10 ‘most desireable places to live’ ON EARTH for about 5 years running now.

          America will get a city in there one day I’m sure. 🙂

        • #3351249

          Any advice for a career changer?

          by jakaiju ·

          In reply to My 2 cents

          I have been working for many years and I am in a career transition and am on my way (planning anyway) to get into network security. I am a relative newbee to IT with an A+ certification and a soon-to-have Net+ cert.

          I’ve read many of the replies here about this discussion with amusment and with compassion. I have been in the same “boss” situations as many here and I can say that standing up to a bully does help fend them off, but being tactful will make or break your social standing at work.

          It’s funny to note that very similar people who have been given “control” of others happen to lie in the generally accepted class of a–hole. What is it that makes upper management believe that someone who has a Type A personality is automatically fit to manage/supervise others in the lower echelons? Don’t they know a true leader leads with compassion and understanding with positive motivation along with discipline to be effective? It seems the only thing that separates the mean bosses of today with the ones of about a century or two ago is the absence of the task master’s drum and the whip. For example, right out of college, I got a job in the environmental consulting business. The owner of the small environmental engineering company gave me an interview I’ll never forget. This guy was one of those hard-as-nails majors in the US Army Reserves that had a permanent scowl on his face. To finish up my grueling interview, he simply said to me in all seriousness, “welcome to the company and don’t f— up!” Needless to say he was a bit of a berating jerk – that is until his company went belly up eight months later due to mismanagement and that he and the comptroller cooked the books (haaa!).

          Bottom line, all that the demeaning, egocentric bosses care about is the money your helping/not helping to make the company. If you’re helping them to look good, then and only then, you’re a valuable asset – if not, you’re just another grunt who is only there to collect a pay check (sorry for this, but I’ve actually heard this before from management). Leaving would not be such a bad idea, but make sure you have a GOOD job to replace the crappy one before you make the move.

          What I want to know is, can I expect to encounter relatively more self-centered, jerk bosses in an IT department at most companies or are are these replies just the disgruntled protion of IT techs? Should I become an electrician, which is my alternate plan anyway?

        • #3351225

          Correct, my Canadaphilic friend

          by anthonyonthetrail ·

          In reply to Any advice for a career changer?

          Well, let me stand corrected. I didn’t mean to imply that American was “THE” place to live. I only meant to voice my hearty approval for many of the things that make it so alluring for myself and millions of people all over the world. I guess I should reveal that I’m living in a third-world country at present, and let me tell you, it’s a tough go. I’m actually from Alaska, so I’m fairly familiar with my Canadian neighbors and learned how to brew beer in a microbrewery from a friendly Canadian who hails from St. Catherine (Saint Kitt? he used to call it) and although we have a bit different ideas on politics, censorship, social benefits and some other niggling things, the main foundation of our understandings of what was right/wrong, good/bad were based on common understandings. I can’t say the same for the folks who I share my new home with… Lots of things are different here. So, if I had to chose another place to live, be sure it would be either Canada, New Zealand, or Australia. I hope that patches things up between us a bit!

          On to IT: I guess I have to admit that every shop I’ve worked at had some kind of incompetent Peter-principle boss at the helm. I guess it’s just a fact of nature. A good tech does not (necessarily) a good manager make, and if you just hire someone based on their management ability, they might not know anything about what it is that makes the tech world tick. My advice, and since it’s free take it for what it’s worth: try to work your way into some kind of management position then pledge to yourself, earnestly, that you will treat others as you would (have) like(d) to be treated. The Golden Rule goes a long ways in life and each person we interact with deserves nothing else. The hard part is applying that rule when you don’t get the same in return. IT is a neverending ratrace treadmill with each “upgrade” wearing the techies down to a nub more and more. Pretty soon all the meat’s gone and we’re talking about bone rubbing on the grindstone.

          Good luck in all your pursuits and don’t wait until you’re 60 to decide that you’d rather be living life on your terms…Bon chance!

          I have yet to come to peace with the fact that there are many dorks in the world and I try to give each person (dork or not) the benefit of doubt. That hasn’t worked out so well in all cases, but one has to have something to work towards/live by.

    • #3329687

      Maybe a little late ….

      by dwdino ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      but, I have found that late night talks with my employer near the river with my 9MM Glock really turns things around.

      Seriously, if the employer is worth anything at all you should be able to directly confer your frustration. This must be done in a respectfull but forcefull manner.

      I recently had to do something similiar when management fealt that IT personnel were an endless resource. More hours, less vacation, more productivity, immediate response. All IT personnel were issued superman costumes at the door and required to wear them 24×7. I went directly to the top and stated that while I am working my 40 hrs., I will do everything within my powere to accomplish all that is asked of me, and my track record proves it. Next I informed them that this move was a bad idea as people are not a endless resource. Third, I said, if this will be expected behavior, I will no longer be employed here as my family and personnel needs far outweigh this job.

      Funny I just recently had a review, got a raise, and have been praised for my work. And the adjustments to IT staff, kinda fell through the cracks… 😉

    • #3329675

      No right way, or best way; but, definitely not uncalled for or unheard of.

      by deepsand ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Assuming that your soon to be former superior is of no further value to you, there is no reason not to “vent.”

      It may help those you leave behind; and, will at the least help you put the issue behind you.

      My only suggestion would be that you remain as civil as possible, and stick to matters of fact.
      Do not allow him to even momentarily regain control of you by way of causing you to lose your composure. Demonstrate your superiority in this regard by remaining as dispassionate as possible.

      • #3332132

        Deepsand described the right way to leave

        by mikercol ·

        In reply to No right way, or best way; but, definitely not uncalled for or unheard of.

        If you’ve tried to work it out and cannot, ranting on the way out won’t accomplish much.

        Keeping your composure is NOT easy for many people, I’m an example. These people are expert at pushing buttons, they survive by keeping people off balance.

        Correcting your boss is not part of the job.

        If you are not sure that you will be able to keep your composure don’t try. i’ve tried and when i pulled it off it was great, when i’ve failed it was worse than doing nothing.

        I’ve since figured out that it was all about wanting to see some regret from the bully. It will never happen, so i’ve decided it’s not worth trying. If someone asks why i’m leaving something short – I’ve found a MUCH better job.

    • #3329642

      it really depends

      by jaqui ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      on the boss and the relationship with said employee.

      I have often been extremely rude and blunt with bosses.
      never been fired for it.

      actually, one time a boss making negative comments about me, when I pointed out the rest of the story to owner, and told the boss to stick it when I had saved him lots of oney in that process, got him fired.
      yup, cost department manager his job.
      then turned down his job when offered to me.

      • #3329626

        Surprisingly, this can happen. Being the owner I’ve had to ‘straighten’ …

        by sleepin’dawg ·

        In reply to it really depends

        out a supervisor or two. The trick is ensuring all the communication avenues are open and that there will be no rebound or backlash as long as all parties stay honest and above board. It’s tricky but not impossible. I had a guy once tell me to eff off and while it PO’d me after a bit of investigation it turned out he was right and I was wrong. It was humbling and cost me an appology but it made sure that the lines of communication are open and people can vent whitout fear of punitive retaliation.
        It’s good to have open communications but as I tell my people; please make sure you’re right because there is a limit to how many times I’ll let you call me an a$$hole in public; unless of course you’re right but since I’m the boss that hardly ever happens. ]:)


        • #3329619

          it wasn’t so much that

          by jaqui ·

          In reply to Surprisingly, this can happen. Being the owner I’ve had to ‘straighten’ …

          the department manager was bragging on saving my bacon.
          and complaining on getting called in.

          I never called him, I saved company OWNER money,
          the official stats for department were better than target because of me.

          give it a rest until there is a reason to get on my case.

          ( whole incedent started as he was calling me onto the carpet over the day before. )
          the owner say every part of the discussion, and that the numbers supported my statements.
          fired department head.

          me stayed below management level, by choice.
          let oothers take the fall when things go badly.
          but don’t try to make me fall when I have been saving your butt from getting fired anyway. ~l~

        • #3332158

          A boss who can admit he could be wrong

          by rebelredux ·

          In reply to Surprisingly, this can happen. Being the owner I’ve had to ‘straighten’ …

          Hey, sleepin’dawg —

          Imagine! Honest, above board, humility, willing to apologize, keeping lines of communication open.

          Where can I send my resume. I want to work for you.

    • #3341935

      I’m sure no one wants to hear this but…

      by mrafrohead ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Just tell him like it is, without any obsceneties…

      Keep the language clear and concise, and just spill the beans.

      If you are being honest and true, then you really aren’t doing anything wrong. Just don’t exagerate or lie, and don’t cuss.

      I can tell you that I’ve told many a boss what I think and they have all taken it about the same way. They get FURIOUS!!! BUT – that’s life. Sometimes the truth hurts.

      Like when you’re told you live in La La land… ;p

      Newho – if you do get the nads to say something, good luck. If you are doing it on your way out the door, maybe throw in one punch under the belt just because you can, but if you are planning on sticking around, be professional… ;p


      • #3331816

        if he’s in la-la land

        by jaqui ·

        In reply to I’m sure no one wants to hear this but…

        I tell him to:
        ” pull your head out of your a$$”

        look at reality.

      • #3331778

        Some battles aren’t worth winning

        by jdclyde ·

        In reply to I’m sure no one wants to hear this but…

        Sure you may have a chance of him behaving himself around you as far at the belittlement (sp?) but he can then find other ways to “get you”.

        Just cut your loses and get the F$#K out of dodge.

        Good luck with the stress/health. Canoeing saves my life.

    • #3331947

      It’s called “diplomacy”

      by null/void/ ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      I’ve been perfectly blunt with my boss(es) regarding matters pertaining to work, office concerns, and at times even personal stuff. However, not all bosses are the same. Some require a certain level of diplomacy so that you’re actually telling them to go-to-hell with them actually anticipating the trip.

    • #3351439

      Take pictures

      by fbartolom ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      The issue is that usually very energetic people, like those that use to keep under pressure other poor souls, often fall into contradictions that usually get unnoticed due to the pressure itself. Then what you need to do is to keep cool and take notices of his orders to put them in front of him when they get contradicted by him at a later time.

    • #3351433

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

      by wiltshirejohn@uk ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Somebody mentioned diplomacy…
      Diplomacy can be defined as the art of saying “nice doggie, nice doggie..” until you can find a large rock.
      Line up your new job, and then WHACK!

    • #3351431

      Subtle approach

      by sue’s comment ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Just as you might leave a deodorant on someone’s desk (maybe) leave a good management book on his, perhaps with a note asking his opinion of it if you are brave enough.

      Usually bullies are lonely and making the first move might be all it takes.

      Also as appraisal time I find the following question useful. “What could you have done to have helped me achieve my aims this year?” the usual reponse is for the manager to first write down the question to ask his boss and then ask for your thoughts. Opens the conversation up.

    • #3332316

      Here’s a song that reminds me of you!

      by jaker5mi5 ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Perhaps you could play the song by the rock band…Twisted Sister…it’s called “We’re Not Gonna Take It”. I think you’re gonna love it!

      You see, the issue here is one of Management, and, for those who have or are studying an MBA, a common issue. It touches on the issues of personality, leadership, power, autocracy, motivation, etc. There could be a thousand reasons why this boss would be like that, and the real issue here is can you do anything about it?

      Do you have sufficient standing to rock his psyche with what you say? Can the organisation do without you as an employee? If you have powerhouse skills in Networks and LANs, can your boss do without you? The higher your standing is the more likely you’ll be able to muster up psychological guts to say something in return and walk away feeling satisfied with having a go back at him without losing your job. On the other hand would saying anything at all help the matter or would it worsen your relationship with him? If friction develops between you two, the relationship could become untenable and make you want to leave.

      And if you were to leave, would the next boss be nicer or nastier?

      Buy some ear plugs!



    • #3332315

      nonviolent communication

      by gazoo ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      I can highly recommend
      Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life
      by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D.

    • #3332313

      Ulitmately he relies on you

      by techrepub ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      One important thing to remember is that ultimately his position (and sucess) depends on you and those at your level for their “sucess”.

      However, if you were to ALL chose to leave then he / she is totally stuffed. Any truely good manager knows that without trusting competent people working with then (Not for them) they will never truely suceed.

      Unfortunately most people are too scared of not finding another job, which is a great pity as it reduces their own confidence level in themselves and allow the boss to continue in his abnoxious way.

      If enough people threaten to leave together, it quite surprising what the outcome can be. I was involved in such a move many years ago. When an entire R&D department got up and walked out …. the effect was dynamite and not long after the company went “pear shaped”.

      People have much more power than they believe, but have got lazy and are affraid to upset their own comfort zone.

      People have forgotten that human beings ARE natural risk takers and not following this way takes away our humanity and self confidence.

      Throughout history people have been led by social phsycopaths who have no “concience” and will do anything to get what they want.

      The likes of Hitler, Stalin, Musolini et al come to mind.

      If you don’t like your situation ….. vote with you feet and walk away to something better.

    • #3332312

      Of course – if you don’t you’re just another in the herd

      by kepstein ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      I’ve recently gone through a situation where we picked a new operational manager. He’s not brilliant by any strecth of the imiagination – infact he beleives he’s some sort of management genius. The one thing I will say for him is this, He is open to critisism. Let me qualify this a little. If I openly attack him in front of peers, I’m going to to get grilled, and most probably a disciplinary letter. But if I go to his office, close the door, and keep the matter between him and myself, then he’s never objected to me having it out with him. At the end of the day, I keep my job because once we’re done having our arguement, we can leave the room, we’re OK. This way we can say what we please and it’s done privately. I haven’t challenged his authority in anyway in front of anyone else, and that’s what upsets most managers.

      If you cannot approach you boss, and have an arguement there’s something very wrong. That means you just agree with everything and are happy, which is the “herd syndrome” that so many people feel safe with.

      I frequently let my boss have it. Sometime I completely lose my temper with him, but because I didn’t challenge him infront of anyone he’s OK with this.

    • #3332310

      Sorry, BUT . . .

      by chaz15 ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      I have stood up to line managers, but senior people including top level bosses are a complete
      no -no in this area.

      Employment legislation allows them to dismiss you, possibly instantly, for airing your views about them.

      Simply, don’t do this.

      Get another job if you have to . . .

    • #3332309

      Analyse the situation

      by martin_ternouth ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      I think there are three possibilities.

      1. He may think he is being humorous and bantering. (Yes,
      really!) The high risk strategy is to banter back; a lower risk is to
      just respond soberly with an immediate description of what you
      are doing and why you are doing it

      2. He is genuinely on top of his job,loves it, does it superbly –
      and sees any support/admin function as irritating grit in the
      machinery of seamless success. You will never cure him of this
      resentment and your best strategy is occasionally (occasionally!)
      to respond very firmly and with dignity. Deep down he knows
      you are necessary and he will over time occasionally
      (occasionally) grant you some grudging respect. If he is good at
      his job he will carry the company forward and upward and as an
      employee you have the consolation that you are benefiting from
      his skills.

      3. He is promoted beyond his ability and in particular is terrified
      of his lack of knowledge of what holds the business together. If
      there is a chance that he may be able to grow into his job, then
      it might be worthwhile attempting to explain to him what you
      do, but if he is doomed to failure then your best strategy is head
      down and keep clear of the fall-out when he screws up.

    • #3332303

      Sure it’s proper; right after you’ve found a new job at more pay.

      by sleepin’dawg ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Though do try to remember the non disclosure agreement you signed when you signed on. Don’t have that come back and bite you.


    • #3332302

      They say, it how you say it……

      by yanipen ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Or something like that. You know, a joke? It depends on how you say it. Hey, I am not saying you tell a joke or something.

      I have my share of these kind of things. All the time. You see, I have found a way of saying to the boss that he is wrong, without really saying it. Just believe firmly on what decisions on different situations that you may make. And fight for it. Without saying directly that the boss is wrong, if you can not avoid it, then say it so. But take note, be sure that you are on the correct side of things.

      A while back, there was a discussion here about, uhm, I think it was the boss’ friend about consulting and things like that. Hey, it is a while back. Let me explain, the situation goes like this….

      There is this a friend of the owner/boss. Who is a consultant. And I am responsible for the whole IT of the company. There is this big project. What I did, was put everything in the sheet all the needed aspects of this project. I did it both on the technical side, and the management side. Even came up with time-saving solutions, and of course, budget-savings. Hehe, (forgive me for the laugh because I can still remember it clearly) the boss’ friend found out. And he too, took a dip in this project. No, he did not took a dip, he tooked the whole lot. It was then negotiated. Add to that your description of your boss is awfully similar to mine. Well, I lost that time. All the man-hours and effort spent on planning had no meaning afterwards.

      Hehehe, until they got the bill. Then, this enters the “I told you so” thing, but hey, I did not said it, at least, verbally. Hehehe. Now, they are looking on the plans that I did, although its already late. And Oh, the boss really got the idea.

      I am not really good at words, but my actions and accomplishments speaks for me. Maybe that is how I have done it.

      About the boss’ mouth? Its just an ego thing. Those with this ego thing gets startled with anything and everything good that comes by.

      I hope this helps.

    • #3332300

      Reply To: Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      by drymocke ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      I have always spoke my mind, politely, and sometimes to my detriment. It helps if you have other options when confronting bosses on their rude and boorish behavior. I just did this last Friday. The CFO went and contravened a decision that was my responsibility and was made by the SOX Steering Committee… not only is this a violation of Sarbanes – Oxley (management override of controls) but it was what he had assigned me to take care of…so I called him on the carpet over it… told him I didn’t work that way and if that was his style that I wasn’t the person he wanted for the job… Monday morning before I left for Rochester (I travel there 4 days a week) they called to let me know they would no longer be needing my services. BUT, I have another offer in my pocket so the job loss wan’t an issue. Then there was the time the CIO told me that there would never be a business reason for internet email(circa 1995)…but that’s another story.

    • #3332290

      Respect is sometimes a one way street!

      by malamb ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Respect is sometimes a one way street!

      Ideally it would be nice if we all respected each other, but we do not. I am a senior Manager for a Major Company and I make a point of not only of earning the respect of my staff but also my colleagues. Some senior management do not!

      I have seen others in similar positions of authority who act in a similar fashion. What I have done, and seen others do, is to get to know the person better. Sometimes is just takes a beer after work, or get out of the work environment to make them feel at easy.

      Remember that Senior Management usually have a lot of pressures on them that you do not. It is nice when a staff member asks simply, ?what is wrong?? You would be surprised to find that usually they are not abusive on purpose simply that they have not noticed it and by you asking what is the matter, they will think about it..

      Years ago, my wife used to work for me as me EA and she used to set me straight at least once a month! What I discovered what that I was not mad at her I was venting on her. I also realized that I was doing similar to my staff but not on the same scale and that it was not right! I am a better person for it and I changed my ways.

      Finally it may be that they feel insecure about their position or job! Try to find out what you can do to help them and make their job easier. As you get more familiar with their issues and concerns, you will be able to determine the best course of action.

      Do not get flustered, that mean they won! Simply keep calm even if your blood boils (do not sweat the small stuff) and ask him ?Are you done?? when he is ranting. If he is acting abusive ask ?Did I do something wrong?? or ?Is their something bothering you?? then say something like ?You just seem so agitated today I am just concerned for you.? You would be floored by the response! Sometimes it goes wrong but it is the mindset that one must adopt and make sure, it is not personal!

      He would have not hired you if he did not think you could do the job! And if he did not hire you, someone else did, and they thought you could do the job! If it is that you cannot, find out how you can improve!

      Hope this helps.

      Remember not all managers are created equal! But people are.

      • #3351251

        Re: One way street

        by jwarmath ·

        In reply to Respect is sometimes a one way street!

        I understand where you are coming from but I disagree with you. It seems that you are saying that an employee should still try to kowtow to someone who is belittling them for whatever reason. If a person can achieve a management position then they should at least possess the quality of knowing how to treat people in the workplace. I know there are some people who obtain that position who don’t have any abilities for that position. It sounds like his boss is that type of person. Every person has the right to expect to be respected and treated with decency; as long as that is how they treat other people. We do not live in Old England where there were lords and serfs. It is the responsibility of the manager to treat the employees with respect and to expect respect from the employees because of that.

    • #3332289

      That’s how you get to the top

      by wrlang ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      The person you describe is the type of pea-brain that always makes it into top management. They cut to the chase and get things done, and that’s all the board really wants from a manager. Employee happiness is only considered when there is a large turnover and word of mouth has made the company unable to get good replacement candidates.

      At least that’s my take after 30 years and 6 companies.

      Being the top boss makes you immune to everyones complaints and he knows it. If you have a board of directors, he ultimately answers to them, so an in-person interview can be setup with the board to discuss his attitude. The purpose of this interview should be to explain how the boss’ attitude is keeping them from making money. If you don’t like an in person interview, the next best thing is a list of reasons the boss needs a talking to with examples, and signed by as many employees as you can get.

      If the boss doesn’t answer to the board, you can try and make friends with his relatives and let them know people are not happy because of him, but be very careful. Chances are the boss’ son would be just like the boss. Convince everyone not to show up for company functions or that no one should put up holiday trimmings at their desks and simply say its because of the boss, or that this is not a nice place.

      You don’t really have to give him a piece of your mind.
      Ask the boss if he believes in God? What? Why do you ask? It just doesn’t seem like you do because you say such horrible things to people..

      Ask the boss why he hates everyone so much.

      Last resort is the law. This boss may do things that are considered illegal and nothing gives the boss a bigger twitchy fit than to be sued by an individual or class action because he’s a jerk.

      Good luck…

    • #3332276

      When the boss asks…

      by empyrean ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      When the boss asks you to be blunt is the perfect time. Will that ever happen? Yes, if the company is on the verge of disaster, if the boss is growing frustrated because of lack of productivity, etc.

      If you are so inclined, pray for the boss, and everyone affected by the unacceptable behaviour. Ask that God change the boss’s heart, and your own.

      When it does happen to you, when the boss does finally ask, speak softly, use blunt words gently.
      The truth can be a sword or a scalpel – you choose.

    • #3332269

      Yes you can

      by s13k26 ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      You don’t have to be disrespectful, but you can just tell him the facts. He might just appreciate your candor. Example as in one of the above situations,” you could tell him, “we’re discussing our job duties.” OR “I’m trying to explain how something could be done better.” If your boss is not receptive to conversation about job improvements or proficiency from his staff, he may need another job. Who’s his boss.

    • #3332261

      Its OK if you have another job lined up!

      by david ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      I’m not one to hold back what I think. In the last nine months I’ve had 3 jobs.

    • #3332251

      Respectful Approach

      by awfernald ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Step #1: Get another job lined up.
      Step #2: Ask for a private meeting with your boss.
      Step #3: WITHOUT pointing fingers, just tell him that you have been feeling rather uncomfortable in the work environment lately due to some people that were constantly berating others for no reason, talking down to others, etc… and ask him for his advice on what to do about it.

      Good luck.

    • #3332224

      Proper ways difficult under such circumstance

      by gaston nusimovich ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?


      I think that it is hard to find any “proper” way to set things strait under such circumstances.

      Egocentric people are difficult to approach when it comes to talk about somebody else’s problems, and egocentric bosses, besides the previous fact, are so full of themselves.

      But the point is that you should try to find a way to get to talk about this issue with your boss.

      If I were you, I would explore the idea of how the team performance in general, and your boss’s image in particular, is affected by not addressing these issues properly.

      That approach might do the trick in your boss’s mind, since you are expressing it in terms of his own interests.

      You should be careful to express the impact on his image in a very subtle and implicit way: let him figure it out, with you not even mentioning it.

      Egocentric people desperately need to save face in front of others, and subordinates must take good care of that, too.

      Good luck!

    • #3332223


      by chaz15 ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Speak your mind if you like. You’ll almost certainly be dismissed.

      No tribunal will support you!

      It also comes into the serious misconduct and NO NOTICE category

    • #3332195

      Reply To: Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      by the admiral ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Keep it professional, not personal.

      If you don’t keep it on a professional level by stating that you believe that there is morale problems that is caused by improper management, then it will not be dragged down to a winner takes all grudge match.

      Remember, a manager does not need to tell you his reasons, they may be classified, but if you state with the manager that the style of management that the company employs is negatively affecting productivity, then you are questioning the management of the company, not his/her management.

      If it ever starts to turn into a personal problem, then his or her boss is the next in line.

    • #3332193

      Say It Like You See It…..

      by enem1 ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      but keep it professional and use reason and logic to state your issues clearly. A couple of rules you may want to be aware of before you go into the lion’s den:

      o The only way to fight an idea is with a better idea
      o A thing, belief, situation or result is right (or wrong) because you see it in Reason to be right (or wrong), not because a million people say it’s right (or wrong). Right and wrong is not a matter of numbers.

    • #3332189

      Resume up to date?

      by sbachhuber ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Tom, it has taken me many years and a few firings (my own) to learn a valuable lesson, how to play the game. I’m a network manager and I try to foster a true open door policy with my staff. I want them to speak their mind. To tell me how I can be a better manager. However, my boss is a bit like your boss. It’s his way or the highway, so to speak. Over the years I have learned to keep my mouth shut, do my job and accept what my boss says, be it right or wrong. The other lesson that I learned, document everything. When my boss tells me that he requested it one way and I did it anohter I pull up the e-mail of his request and send it back to him. This generaly takes care of the problem. CYA man.

    • #3332175

      One thing I wouldn’t do…

      by dmambo ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      I would not go in to him and say that you are there as a representitive of all the employees, or of a group of employees. In that scenario, he could think that there is a general mutiny going on, which may be true, but would not help the situation. An ego-centric boss is probably paranoid enough without knowing the truth about everything.

      If it’s really as pervasive as you imply, I’d get one or two co-workers to sit in and have a conference with him. Three of you wouldn’t overwhelm him, but would certainly send the message that it’s not just a personal thing.

    • #3332174

      Get another JOB!

      by mhasf ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Unfortunately, this is a no win situation. If you say nothing, then you continue to exist in a “Living Hell”. If you do, you may antagonize the boss and create even a worse situation.

      The issue is that insensitive people are just that: Insensitive. So, they are not interested in what other people are feeling as a result of their actions. This is especially true of the infants in adult bodies that aspire to high ranking positions.

      My opinion is to either get another job, or get into a Zen-like state and let it roll off your back. Their are better bosses out there, but you will always have stress as a result of the poor business model created in the U.S. of Boss-Employee relationship appearing as a Master-Slave relationship.

      Good Luck!

      • #3332126

        Please do not

        by truespeak ·

        In reply to Get another JOB!

        Please do not pass on your insecurity and inferiority onto others. Getting another job….obviously TomSal knows about this…the reason for his post was to know of other alternatives. If cowardice is the only thing you have to offer then please keep it to yourself dont broadcast it publicly.

    • #3332165

      Don’t tolerate bullies…..

      by conquistador ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      After 33 years of work experience, I can tell you that you’re going to see this type of boss wherever you work in the US. Apparently that type of personality is a requirement for promotion into management. I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason that happens is because we all accept being bullied without question. We are all afraid to stand up to bullies. Bullies are always allowed to have their way. The only solution is for all of us to stand up to them and question their stupidity. It will take courage, but that is the only thing that is going to work.

      • #3332138

        I kind of think. . .

        by a.techno.geek ·

        In reply to Don’t tolerate bullies…..

        I kind of think (at least in my area of the U.S.) there is a commercial about school bullies and bullying. In the commercial there is a child being picked on by a bully, the other children come over and surround the child. What is this leading to. If you and couple of other employees could meet him informally (like on you guy’s turf, like the children on the playground). Keeping gripes professional and not personal about the treatment, he/she might get the idea that there might be a problem with their style of management. Inform him/her that what they come upon in cubical isn’t always nonsensical pattering, it is a professional exchange of ideas for the project. Gently remind him/her look and listen before they jump. The younger generation will not tolerate that kind of management, guarantied. And I am a baby boomer yet saying this about the younger generation.

    • #3332142

      Catch him a bit later and explain

      by rcom ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      First of all in these examples it sounds like the guy is just being sarcastic. If so then no big deal.

      In both situations you provided it would be easy to wait for a moment alone and tell him what was actually happening. Start by saying you didn’t want to be disrespectful in front of the other person by disagreeing but like in the situation with his son “the computer wasn’t having problems I (he) was just showing him how to do something”. LEt him know you’re aware that he expects a good job from everyone and that’s exactly what you’re trying to do. Keeping it civil is the key. Even though your pissed there’s no way to get even in the way you’d hope.

    • #3332136


      by kseguin ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      I recently had a meeting with my network admin who tends to degrade and belittle me (his only assistant) whenever he is feeling any kind of pressure. His actions can really cut to the bone sometimes!
      I was clearly upset for a few days when he asked me bluntly if I was mad. I may have gone overboard when I called him the “a” word. But I got my point across. We’re a good team and both realize we need to work on our communication more. He understands I’m willing to be patient in this process, but I will not take his or anyone’s abuse or disrespect. There are always other alternatives.

    • #3332131

      Feedback for boss

      by truespeak ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      I have been reading the posts above and everyone has been saying either 1. sadly there is nothing you can do or 2. leave the job.
      Unfortunately Tomsal already knows this.
      The company i work in has a boss feedback policy…kind of a review at the end of the year when my boss does my performance review. We fill up those feedback form anonymously which have questions on a variety of subject from personal behaviour to leading abilities to decision making skills and submit the form to HR who forward it to his boss.
      In that way my peers and I can voice our opinion. Find out if something of this sort is bserved by your firm.

    • #3332122

      Make the decision yourself, do not let others make it for you.

      by wdoliver ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      I have been in the IT arena for more than 30 years. I?ve seen the situation you described as a team member as well as from the management level. No one can give you the right guidance because every situation is different. No two people are alike and I have never seen two people with the same inter-personal communicative, management, or leadership skills. There is no way to tell how the person is going to react to your comments. Here is some food for thought:

      – There is a lot to say about proper time and place. If you are going to confront someone do it one on one out of ear shot of others. If it is done within ear shot the person is probably going to go on the attack because they will normally perceive their authority being threaten or questioned.
      – Is there any truth in what he is saying? Are the questions being brought to you ones that could not wait until a break or communicated by email? You might be working while they are talking; however, according to your example they certainly were not working on their tasks. Of course, this is an area each of us need to remain sensitive to because it is so easily to be distracted by comments or questions. Are you their supervisor? If not, why aren?t they bringing the questions to their supervisor? Perhaps there are two problems one with the cited manager and the other the employee?s supervisor.
      – Will confronting the person at the proper time and place going to change things? No one can provide you the answer. I can tell you if no one never brings it up, it will definitely never change. I found more times than not when my supervisors or managers are exhibiting poor leadership or management behavior they actually are not aware of it. When confronting them they often try and save ?face? by either going on the attack or concluding the meeting, but there is no doubt the seed has been planted and the person will consider what you said. They may come to the conclusion that you do not know what you are talking about, identify you as a ?non? team player, or they might actually admit to themselves you are right and try to change their behavior.
      – Is there a ?best? approach in bringing the matter up? Definitely not. What works for one manager or situation will not work in another. This is normally true when humans are involved. No two of us are alike or respond the same way. This is why building a team is not an easy task.
      – Before you approach your boss ask yourself if you were in his shoes how would you prefer to be approached? Keep in mind this is not the same as determining what you would do in is place. Try and see the situation from his/ her perspective.
      – There is no guarantee that the boss will not blow up or set wheels in motion to find a cause to fire you. I assure you the stated reason will not be because you confronted him about how he was treating his/ her employees.
      – The decision to ?not make waves? or confront the person is purely a personal one. It is something you need to decide for yourself and not let others decide for you. You need to be willing to accept and plan for the worst results such as losing employment or perhaps held back from promotion. It the worst happens you will be prepared and have a plan to recover. If you are lucky the boss will appreciate you bringing the situation and recommendations to his/ her attention and it will give you a career boost. (In my experience the later rarely happens)
      – I am a managing consultant and it is my job to tell my clients what they need to hear and not what they want to hear so I get to see the wide variety of responses. Unfortunately, I also apply that to my employer. Do I effect change for the better? Sometimes I do and sometimes I don?t. I do know when to put the matter to rest and stop trying to ride the ?dead horse?, and what is the proper time and place to bring a matter up. If you can develop these skills you will be well ahead of the game. Telling people what they need to hear and not what they want to hear will not make you very popular, but I have found that you are well respected.

      Final word of advice: YOU MAKE THE DECISION YOURSELF

    • #3332106

      Lessons Learned

      by ethos21st ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Two items:

      1. Learn from the recent CEO dismissal by Boeing. Employees
      sent compaints to the Board of Directors who confronted the
      CEO; When he admitted violating Boeing’s Code of Conduct, they
      fired him. And, they did not release the written compaints or
      the names of the complainants.

      2. As an HR exec, I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the “lack
      of results” from “going to HR”. Just like any other function, there
      are good (courageous) HR people, and there are those who avoid
      controversy or risk of any kind. Usually, the latter don’t have
      clear guidance from the CEO on what their role is.

      3. One of the nice things about the business world is that
      “everyone has a boss” (even the HR exec). If you can’t approach
      the person’s boss, then look for another challenge (job) — but
      get one before you quit!

    • #3332097

      It sounds to me like your boss is a natural SMARTA$$

      by rush2112 ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      So treat him as such. Laugh at his sharp wit and stop letting it bug you.

      What is important? Working happy or working someone else? You decide. Either way you have solved this trouble.

      • #3332042

        Rush is awesome btw!

        by tomsal ·

        In reply to It sounds to me like your boss is a natural SMARTA$$

        Thanks for your advice on this topic, TR actually posted it as a “feature” AFTER I already made up my mind and did a lot of thinking but its still nice to get the different advice from everyone.

        Rush is my favorite band of all time too, so your name caught my attention.


        later man.

    • #3332096


      by jrisner ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Maybe you should sit down with him and let him know that he is being insensitive to the feelings of others. Be truthful and state exactly what is on your mind. You may want to already have another job possibility lined up just-in-case, it will also give you the upper hand. Don’t back down. Ask him to show you the same kind of respect that he likes to be shown. If this all works it may show him that you are a stand up guy.

    • #3332091

      STOP – and then read the following article

      by phil stubbington ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      In a nutshell, I would strongly recommend you read an excellent article by Rick Brenner at before you do anything else.


    • #3332087

      Let talk about Butt heads

      by tscs ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      I have be a Consultant for about 20 years I’ve made some real good money. I took a job with this company that was one of my clients for about 12 years. In the last 6 months I now really know why I’ve stayed on the outside.
      I agreed to this, on the premissed that I would be keeping an eye on the network and any small problems that might arised,”Small”. After agreeing and getting set one month later the real bomb dropped, they changed the Phone company and the ISP fro SBC to Smaller Company that gave them a “Better Deal” without any warning to me, that started the ball rolling. All IP changed my remote systems all went down. I had to redesign the complete network some 150 units 10 servers, Now the T1 goes up and down like a bouncing ball with out warning, The CEO of this comapany has no clue of what I do, and how complicate it can become, but anyway small incident, he received a email with Beautiful Hispanic wowam getting her brain F out in the tag line this Butt head opened it and started a chain reaction to his mailbox after telling what to do for the 100th time he opened another one and had the nerve to yell about he is the CEO and shoulh not get this on his system but he keeps opening them. So I had to tell him in so many words where to get off, He is still a butt head but it seemed to calm him down a bit when it comes to me.

    • #3332079

      Hell yeah be blunt

      by steve v ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      What you are dealing with is someone that thinks they are mister bad ass in the work enviroment.
      You take that person outside of the office and I bet they are little babies.
      I have dealt with managers like the one you are describing ever since i started working when I was 17. I am 30 years old now and i have learned that if someone is disrespectful to you and does not show the professional courtesy to you or others, then you treat that person the same way.

      Remember that when people think that they are a big big tree, there is a small axe waiting to cut them down.

    • #3332076

      Since you are leaving anyway…..

      by is girl ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      You didn’t ask how to change him or how to survive this kind of abuse, so I gather you have decided to move on and you question really is if you can give him a piece of your mind as you exit.

      The truth is that you can, but it will do little good. In the end, nothing will change for you or the co-workers you leave behind unless droves of people leave becuase of an abusive boss and it comes to the attention of HR.

    • #3332069

      Be Prepared for what Follows

      by ley1963 ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      I worked for an IT Director who liked to dabble in the day to day IT operations. I was a working manager and myself and my staff were constantly having to clean up after this person, who always denied making changes. He wanted to be a network engineer, but he never read a book or took a class. He just hacked away, leaving problems along the way. We complained about this person to the VP of IT and to HR to no avail. He was a slick customer and had upper management in his hip pocket.

      We had a major roll-out that he was managing. I offered to help, but he wanted all the glory and told me to concentrate on my own work. Suffice it to say the project roll-out went badly. He then took me aside to express his disappointment in my “managing” of this project, thinking he could pawn this off on me. I then took this opportunity to get a lot off my chest and told him about my problems with him. I was not going to take the blame for this project he was managing. After that meeting, I agreed to completely manage the project which ended up being very successful and exceeding everyone’s expectations. I got lots of kudos for getting this implementation off the ground and I felt good about how it went in the end.

      One week later, my position was eliminated and I was out of a job. At my exit interview, I kept quiet and said nothing, thinking I had already voiced my concerns, yet, I was the one let go. In the end it worked out, I went into consulting and have got back to that company as a consultant a number of times at a great pay rate. My old boss left after a number of projects did not go as planned. The CIO did eventually tell me he made a mistake in letting me go and he fired the wrong person. Little consolation actually.

      So, the moral is I spoke up, I got fired. I kept quiet at the exit interview and I was invited back since I did not burn a bridge. I was eventually offered my old job back, but I could never work for them permanently again. I will say in the end it worked out. I was very unhappy working for this person and I hated my job. As another posting mentioned, lift is too short. I now have a much better job, more freedom, and a much better appreciation of my wife and my kids.

    • #3332064

      Dealing with an Ego-Centric Boss

      by comp1systems ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Of course there is a way of being “blunt” with your ego-
      centric boss [in an indirect manner]. Fact is, no employee
      should have to work under those conditions. You have to
      be honest with how you feel and simply (and in private)
      bring it to your boss’s attention that you have some issues
      with the way you’re treated. It’s how he will take that
      makes a difference to both you and him. And it’s up to you
      whether or not you want to continue under such duress.

      So the answer to your question is, yes there is a way to
      address the issue and not come out the bad guy. If no one
      brings it to his attention then he’ll never know it’s a
      problem. I say take a stand and take charge. You don’t
      have to stoop down to his level, just let him know how you
      feel. I went through the same thing with my previous boss.
      The outcome was after I took a stand and let her know that
      I was not happy with the way she began treating me in the
      years prior, she agreed to make changes. And we worked
      together to make those changes. But after a while, things
      went back to the same and she began calling me
      “incompetent” which I did not stand for. I brought to her
      attention again, nothing changed, so after 7 years I left to
      save myself an unwanted amount of stress, belittlement,
      and unfair working conditions.

      You have a choice. It’s up to you on how you handle it.

    • #3332053

      Forget about it

      by tferrisjobsearch ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?


      As a professional consultant, I always thought it was my responsibility to give clients the full picture, including bad news. I had to learn the hard way that being 100% honest or using the so called “open door” policy was never good. It’s been my experience that a supervisor does not want to hear advice or even a mild chastizing for rudeness. You might be a professional but you cannot expect your boss to be one.

      Find a friend you can confide in (preferrably outside the company so there’s no risk of him/her going back to your boss or other co-workers) and vent there.

      Good Luck!

    • #3332046

      Weigh your need for a reference carfully, but YES it’s OK.

      by ^feenix^ ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      You said “if…someone LEAVING a job…”

      That’s the key. If job jeopardy isn’t an issue, and you absolutely feel you have to because it’s who YOU are and what YOU need to be you, then go for it.

      If it were me, I wouldn’t display anger, I wouldn’t use curse words, and I wouldn’t raise my voice.

      Actually, if I ever leave the contract job I’m in I’ll elect to say nothing at all. There is no “co-worker” that could benefit in my circumstance. I’m beginning to get a picture as to why the last guy left, in fact. And the employer will get EXACTLY what they deserve, because they won’t be able to hold a qualified person in the position.

      The big question is: How bad do you need a reference from the guy?

    • #3332039

      You HAVE to speak your mind!

      by river_styx_it ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      I’m a firm believer, thanks to a recent recovery program, that you absolutley HAVE to speak what is on your mind.
      A lot of people really have no clue that the way they are behaving is causing you any problems. Probably an equal percentage just don’t care. Either way, speaking your feelings gets them out of your head and keeps you from harboring resentments. Resentments are a killer.
      The key here, for me, is to try and have that discussion with tact and courtesy. If your boss still isn’t receptive, or respectful of your concerns and feelings, try to find an organization that will appreciate you.
      I try to be as open as I can with my feelings towards my boss. On a couple of occassions, he expressed appreciation that I actually spoke up, instead of being the mindless, meek ‘yes’ man that so many others try to be.
      I say if it’s bugging you, or making your environment difficult, or unpleasant, speak up with tact and respect and try to make him understand how you feel without turning it into an attack on his character.
      As far as getting things off your chest when you leave, again, if you will harbor resentments, use the exit interview, or other opportunity to express your feelings without attacking his character. Clean your side of the street and let him worry about his.
      Calling him an arrogant bastard probably isn’t going to do EITHER of you any good.
      Good luck and I hope you find the appreciation and respect that you deserve.

    • #3332036

      In my opinion, you have only ONE choice

      by timmycb ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      It is NEVER appropriate to be “blunt” with a superior, unless you are a hardcore gambler or independently wealthy. Remember – unless it involves race, creed, religion or national origin, you can be terminated for ANY reason. (Unless of course you have some sort of contract which is rare.)

      My experience with HR departments has been completely negative. No employee wants to get into a legal mess like this, especially one who will have to directly represent the company. Unless you work for a LARGE corporation who has a big HR staff, forget about complaining to them. Documentation about simply being rude and abusive, etc., will not hold water against a single one line memo signed by the manager that says that you are being terminated for insubordinate behavior. That memo need not be substantiated any further.

      The only decision you really have to make is whether you want to continue working there or not. Do the positives about the job out weigh the negatives about this person? Remember the stress of looking for work these days can be pretty bad too. There is definitely a lot to consider.

      Of course, there are always dynamic layers involved: does this manager report to someone who is tired of hearing complaints about them? Or is this the president of the company? Do you really think that this person is capable of changing their behavior? It is possible – sure – but not likely.

      To sum up my contribution here, either shut up or move on… 🙂

    • #3332033

      Things to Consider

      by jeffbr ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Depending upon how your message is presented, this is a touchy situation due to the potential fall-out to yourself and others. However, if the situation has really reached the boiling point, you or someone should take a stand.

      Find a person for which the boss has a certain degree of respect (this may be you?). Try to put yourself in his shoes and understand what he is wanting out of his position, what the potential stressors are, why he might be so frustrated. Then, approach him with the perspective that you can help him be successful. Point out some tangible examples of people in your group actually ‘getting some work done’ resulting in direct benefits to the company. It also sounds as if this individual doesn’t really understand what is truly happening in the department, and is somewhat intimidated by those who do. Try to understand what type of results he would like to see, in the form of documentation or presentations or whatever, that would satisfy his need for knowledge, control, superiority, or whatever.

      The purpose of this discussion would be three-fold. Firstly, it would show him that you are a potential leader in the group and someone who could help him become more successful. Secondly, your confronting the issue can show others in the organization that you are willing to tackle important issues that impact your firm’s productivity and subsequent profitability. Thirdly, his reaction should be an important signal to you; if he is generally positive about the discussion, then maybe there is hope. Subsequent discussions could center around his demoralizing comments…maybe he’s so oblivious he doesn’t even realize the impact he is having on morale.

      If he reacts in his typical demeaning manner, then you at least have your answer to the question, “Should I stay or should I go”, my recommendation being the latter.

      Good luck.

    • #3332018

      Advice: Bunt Heads

      by go4gold ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      I have worked for many ‘bosses’… most ‘bosses’ that I came across are ego-centric and abusive. I discovered that it was better to give it back to them as good as they give it… provided that you have your information, data, and etc to back up your position. They tend to back down for a short while. They will even respect you for it.

      I think the point is that… as a human being… you should not allow yourself to be pushed around… don’t be afraid to ‘push back’.

    • #3332012

      Be blunt at your peril…

      by nelson1 ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      I was recently laid off. My supervisor was rigid as a stick and smugly refused to learn Java even though 80% of his team were Java programmers. He said, “I don’t need to know the details, only the big picture.” Yeah, like OOD is the same thing as procedural, right.

      Well, I took it as an afront that he had such an attitude, and I tried as gently as possible to expose him to such things as interfaces and RMI. He exploded. Perhaps I was too blunt?

      Is it blunt to tell an idiot he’s deficient in skills he needs just to communicate intelligently with you? In any case, this idiot was my boss, and perhaps I should have been more servile. Water off a duck’s back. Grin and bear it.

      I relish the thought that my former boss will be out there in a highly competitive environment when he gets the axe. His termination is inevitable because the COBOL he knows has no value to the buyout. Where I am getting a couple of Senior Software Engineer face2face interviews per week, my former boss will be pounding the pavement for years and will be forced into early retirement.

      So, if I had it all to do over again I would have just smiled and let the idiot hang himself. I would have recognized that I was dealing with a person too scared to learn anything new, and recognized his karma. My arrogance was to assume that I could help him survive.

      As far as reading anyone the riot act, remember that law of karma – what goes around comes around. Keep yourself above the temptation to shoot your mouth off and accept your condition with grace and dignity. Keep your eyes open for any illegal activity and get a lawyer to do your attacking for you if you find any. Otherwise, smile and move on to better opportunities. Just think! You won’t need to deal with that moron anymore!

      I would have lost the job anyway. 🙂


    • #3332009

      What Dept!?!

      by xamdam ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      I’ve looked all over the building and I can’t find you. I’m
      the only one in my IS dept, but we MUST be working for
      the same company!

    • #3331995

      Zen it…

      by wdickerson ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Several suggetions to ignore and continue as usual. I have had cases mainly from other techs that degrade my perfomance or put me down altogether. I like the people I work with and the job I perform. For the ignorant one’s, I simply ignore them. “Do the opposite of what your oppressor expects.” They will surprise themselve because you continue undented and they become more frustrated because you did not act accordily. From the boss side I have been fortunate the boosses I have/had let me do my job. And when I have a problem will help me clear it up. Yes the facts are eesential, documentation is worth more than any gold. HR can be a plus or minus. If you really want to get leverage, your local Department of Labor can help in the boss situation. If any of your IS folks are caught degraded the secreatary will acknowledge to D.O.L…It is good to have resume ready. Just in case. Good luck Jim…

    • #3331988

      Yes, it is “OK”. I am a former abusive boss..

      by phsmith ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      I must admit that I was a former, abusive boss. Fortunately my Executive Assistant had the presence to take a stand for himself and the entire office.

      My company, which I have since sold, was responsible for live call center and emergency service dispatch for over 400 security and alarm (burglar and fire) companies representing approximately 20,000 subscribers. The emotional and financial stress factors of my position were truly life-threatening from a health standpoint.

      Well, too bad! As the leader of the organization it was my responsibility to deal with it and not vent on my employees. My operators, who responded to alarms ranging from, “Oh, I forget to turn it off before I let the dog out” to “There’s someone in my house!! I can hear them downstairs!!”, by no means had the easiest or most pleasant jobs on the planet.

      It was not until my assistant approached me, in private, to let me know that I was being an ‘idiot’. He pointed out a number of instances in which my behavior was harmful to the moral and overall productivity of the entire company.

      Yes, I could have fired him and had him escorted from the building by armed guards…but chances or that nobody else would have stood up to the playground bully. And that is exactly the way I was acting.

      I respect and admire him for the courage it took for him to approach me. As a result of his actions I was able to not only obtain useful stress-management counseling for myself but also made it available to my employees. All of my ‘front-line’ responders took advantage of the counseling.

      My advice, TomSal, is that if approaching this boss in person is not an option, perhaps a discreetly placed and well penned anonymous note would be.

      As one of the other responses stated, “There is no need to subject yourself to those that put you down.” If this person is unwilling to change, perhaps it is time to update the resume’ and look for an employer that appreciates your time and talent.

      If I can be of any further asistance please feel free to contact me at the email address shown in this forum.

      -Paul H. Smith, Texas

      • #3331985

        Salute Sir!

        by bfilmfan ·

        In reply to Yes, it is “OK”. I am a former abusive boss..

        Paul it takes a great deal to admit that you were the issue and not the company. And like all good managers, you’ve learned from your mistake and aren’t planning on making it again.

        It is a very rare thing for anyone to admit their error and learn from it!

        • #3351419

          Most definitely!

          by jessie ·

          In reply to Salute Sir!

          To Err is human, to Admit you screwed up, is DIVINE.

    • #3331986

      The old triage maxim

      by dc_guy ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Change the things that can be changed, accept the things that can’t, and be wise enough to tell the difference. This is a perfect situation to apply that adage. Only you know whether your boss is too far gone to be unchangeable. Only you know whether, even if he’s not hopeless, he would take advice from one of his subordinates. Only you know whether he’s gotten away with this behavior for so many years with so many people that he would be honestly shocked if someone told him he was rude, inconsiderate, and unloved.

      Of course in an exit interview the risk is lower, but you still have to think about some day needing a reference from this jerk. Or having him be you customer. Or finding yourselves on the same committee in a professional society. Or worst of all, crawling back to beg for a job.

      If you do decide to be the brave soul who first broaches the subject, remember that there is a huge difference between being assertive and being aggressive. If you must, go ahead and inform him of the effects his remarks have had. But don’t try to psychoanalyze him, understand his motivation, and describe his personality.

    • #3331983

      Offer of a Friendly Call

      by bfilmfan ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      If you’d like, you can give me your boss’s name and phone number. I will be more than glad to call your receptionist, get your company’s PR and HR person on the horn and proudly announce that your boss has been nominated for a national award. When they ask what award, I will proudly announce, “Why the America’s Worst Boss award!”

      I will nicely ask the company if I can get a quote from the boss and the organization on this achievement.

      I always say “I get by with a little help from my friends…”

      Plus, being able to tell the story in here on TR would be hysterical and the best part of this whole stunt is that they don’t know me at all! Long Live George Hayduke!

    • #3331982

      Telling off the Boss

      by robert.kloecker ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      In most cases the satisfaction of the ‘parting shot’ is eventually overcome by the realization one has descended to that Boss’s self-advertised low level. Better to exercise mature self restraint. Let his actions be sufficient definition of his achieved level of professional character. If you see it, others do to, including the folks to whom he reports.

    • #3331978

      Only by pride cometh contention…

      by algjrat ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      I have come to the opinion most difficulties among folks are the result of (at least) one person travelling on an “ego trip”–you have
      recognized this aspect of your boss. Usually, this is to cover up one or more insecurities regarding themselves. A confrontation is
      usually necessary, but if this aspect (the ego) isnt considered, the situation will only become worse.
      Before discussing this situation, remove yourself emotionally from the event(s)—an emotional attachment will only cause added hostility, and prevent you from thinking properly.
      When talking to your boss, address the specific behavior, the effect that behavior has on you, and seek to understand what may be the motivation
      behind that behavior. You might be surprised by what you find.

      Look to build bridges…..not walls

    • #3351413

      Sorry, But…

      by mikefromco ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      The guy’s boorish and a jerk, but I don’t see him violating any laws that HR or anyone else would be concerned about.
      It sounds like he is “the” boss, so I’d tread carefully. If you want to take your chances and talk to him (only you can be the judge of if you can or not), pick a quiet time when you two are alone. Forget witnesses as that may cause him to feel he needs to take action, and you’re liable to be the object of the action.
      Diplomatically say something like “You know, it’s really hard on me when… (you make comments about me in front of other people) or whatever bugs you most. He may respect you for that or he may react but the key is to word it as non-accusatory and non-threatening.

      good luck!

    • #3351369

      THey are not gods

      by jeff dray ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      no matter how much they act like one. tell him, calmly and politely, what you think, don’t get rude, that would be to descend to his level, tell him that he will get the best out of his staff by treating them with respect. offer to help them with their attitude. most of all prepare what you want to say well in advance and don’t do it when you are angry, you might end up being more ‘honest’ that you were prepared to be.

    • #3351354


      by terry.monnery ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      you can only live your life just as your boss can only live his. I suggest you talk to him and make him aware of your observations on his behaviours and allow him to take it or leave it. It’s his choice as much as it is your choice to go on and lead your own life. Don’t get hung upon it, go and lead your own life.
      Good Luck

    • #3351352

      How long is a peice of string

      by matmak ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      The question you are asking is dependant on many factors but mainly on these few key point (i Have read a few key answers and haven’t the time to read through all of them)

      I have worked as a contractor for many organisations with many managers good and bad. before deciding how to respond to this managers attitude there are a few key issues that you in your current role must be aware of before your choice of response is given based on what you have guaged.

      Firstly in todays day and age there are a few things more important than any other and that is how tenable is your position and how your colleagues and managers view your importance to the company, your manager can be the biggest tyrant in your eyes that you have ever seen but if he produces results you will find many a deaf ear in the higher ranks of your organisation.

      Business is all about money and nothing about people, if you believe this to be an outdated view then wake up and smell the coffee.

      Integrity is for the well off and as much as I or you have your pride and principles these ideals do not pay the bills.

      We all have our ideals and views on how to better things within our organisations but without an ear to listen that can honestly help in progressing said ideas or indeed a manager who you can trust to guide and advise you, then you are but a cog in the machinery that will still continue long after your demise.

      You have to play the game and where this comes into play is when things are brought down to a personal level without cause.

      If you are challenged regarding your skill in a post then question why it is only now that these issues are being raised.

      bear in mind that as much as your boss may sound tyrincal he can equally have a far more tyranical boss further up the scale and this is the age old business adage that shit flows downwards.

      A good manager will appreciate the team he has under him and recognise how to nurture both their strenghts and weaknesses to his/her advantage.

      Treat everyone in your organisation first and foremostly as a person regardless of post and secondly with the respect they deserve, never grant someone with respect merely because of the position they hold, time spent in an orgainsation can automatically lead to promotion regardless of skill or the ability to carry out the requirements of said post.

      Be equally critical if a manager chosses to discredit you amoung your peers challenge the fact that if he has anything to say to you regarding your work then as such this should be taken up in a one to one situation and if so equally pass his shortfalls as an example without being derogatory merely stating a fact that he/she cannot dispute and similarily amoung your peers.

      Your own integrity albeit misguided when reflecting on your current situation within an opganisation and how this will affect you personally.

      We would all love to let rip but dependant in the indivudal you are dealing with and the ears he has within your organisation this can be the kiss of death to your future within the company you are with.

      My honest advice is that you and only you can really based on your circumstances gguage a response, this may not help you in your current plight but you will find a lot of responses based on what people would like to do in their current situation in their current roles but that when push comes to shove they would never dream of acting on the advice that they are giving to you, behind closed doors everyone is their own hero but inreality there are many wolves dressed as sheep as opposed to vice versa.

      As a contractor I am sometimes in the enviable position in that if I feel my workplace to be an unfair or a boss to be a total arse I can move on without affecting my career prospects, I’m a contractor moving from job to job based on environment and what the contract has to offer me is what I do

      Hope this has at least put a few things in your mind to consider prior to responding.



    • #3351320

      Dealt with this kind of boss

      by harris.julie2 ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      After getting sick of these types of outburst, I made a note of them over a period of weeks. Then when he was calm I sat down quietly and explained how they were affecting me and some of the other staff. I had my facts and times right, and although it was very difficult to face him on this we now have a more respectful relationship.
      I have learnt not to avoid conflict but to think about what I want to achieve, choose my words carefully and pick the moment.
      Good luck!

    • #3351300

      Tell the Tactful Truth and Roll

      by carol ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      One of the other postings hit the nail on the head – people who lack empathy are sociopaths and you cannot expect them to understand or accept that others have feelings or a right to a non-hostile work environment (unfortunately). So for your own sense of integrity, say what is on your mind, but tactfully, not in an accusatory or insulting way. That means, state the facts, “this is your son’s computer…” and check in to see how having a response is taken from him by asking something like, “Is that ok now with you?” Be ready to be flexible (roll if he just throws another punch) and try to smile at his answer. This way you stay strong and aren’t intimidated yet you are not causing him to lose face and he’s definitely on a power trip an so you wouldn’t want to put a jigger in his pants. It wouldn’t be in your interest to piss him off (but it might be somewhat satisfying). Garner support from co-workers. But if it still causes you so much daily stress that you can’t focus on your job, then start looking for a better boss. Sticking it out and the prolongation of this stress is damamging to you in the long run. There are plenty of great opportunities out there.

    • #3351293

      just a suggestion

      by jasper_espino ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      i also do have some experiences with that kind of boss. If he is a ego-centric kind of person, he would likely not accept anything that you will say to him or advise him regarding his manners. The way i do it is just doing what i have to do at my workplace and just ignoring him. Giving hmi the silent treatment. At some time he will notice the abandonement and would end up asking you politely, whats the problem. ‘SILENT TREATMENT”— sometimes some solutions to a problem is just ignoring the problem….. for me it works….

    • #3351292


      by gene ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      The more you try to correct the problem, the worse it will become. Run away, find another job. If you notice the flaws in your boss, he should not be your boss.

      If you try to correct the problem, you will be laid off for some weird reason in the future. I was laid off 3 days ago for this same scenario. For your sake, find another job.

    • #3351281

      Piece of Cake!

      by averitte ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Just remain calm, don’t get personal and reply with the Tech inside of you. Simple! He is probably intimidating you with his position. Every one has a boss! NEVER FORGET THAT! When you reply with confidence, he’ll think about that and raise his level of respect up for you! You’ll need to be a Tech around him all the time untill he gets to understand you. From his side..he probably has a lot of things on his mind and replies with his subconscience. You know who you are. Just be yourself. Only for some time, you might need to be a Technician.

    • #3351272


      by rkfairchild ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      What do you really hope to gain? Do you really think the person will change? Unless the person is also a close personal friend, I would leave as soon as possible.

    • #3351260

      The boss from he*l

      by zlitocook ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      We have all seen this type, he tells the CIO,CEO what ever that he can reduce head count and hours with the right software. So as the head count goes down (people getting fired or leaving for a better job;)). The company see’s a jump in money for the short term but the people who have to fill in for the missing employees become over worked. And start looking for other employment and the work starts going down hill from the employees left. The work that needs to get done is never done because the people are working on a never ending project.
      Sorry I am At a company that is doing this.

    • #3351223

      5 years loyalty and I got sweet FA

      by armitager ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      I worked for a large motor vehicle dealer in Perth Australia for 5 years. I had a female boss who was in an unhappy marriage. She treated myself and the other guy poorly, she would never take responsibility for mistakes and always passed the buck. One of her favourite phrases as she walked into our office was “as you were”…isn’t this some army command?
      Our head of department had a heart attack and had time off. He was the leveler between us and after 2 weeks of him not being there I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown. She tortured me. I had time off, they sacked me with 1 weeks notice and no redundancy. I took them to court and won.
      crap experience.

    • #3351108


      by tmalandro ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      If handled in the correct way without any anger abd acusations you can tell your boss how you percieve his or her behavior, even if you are not leaving your job. I worked at a job once where there were yearly meetings that the staff has the opportunity to complain. Well the complained about the new directory and then HR handled how to tell him how the staff felt about him so that he would back off.

    • #3350045

      Give a anonymous clue

      by gdoc ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Use one of your anonymous email addresses to forward a link to this discussion.
      Leave a copy of Dilbert on his/her desk (I’ve done this).

    • #3350015

      Words are only one form communication

      by Anonymous ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Sometimes what needs to be said – as you state – does not have to be “said” with direct words.

      “I have been tempered by open ‘door’ experiences…” -and have said just so to my IT department head when they claimed an “opened door” policy but had just clearly and unnecessarily revealed a personal confidence made by someone else in the room. While I will not convey an mistruth, I have resigned generally NOT to tell/volunteer seemingly negative perspectives to folks (higher tier or not) unless I truly believe that they do sincerely care to know and will duly contemplate what was said and the reasons why it was said – even if asked. I said that too. Since then, I believe they have stayed rather clear of any provoking, or outrightfully disrespecting me.

      Once enlivened, vindictiveness, bitterness, resenfulness, and different perspectives one’s truth are not easily washed off or away.

      I dont use the word BOSS in my work environment and do not readily allow myself to be BOSSED. You can wupervise and manage but not Boss. They cannot get the added artistic and over and above quality out of you if you are simply BOSSED. If so you are then a drone and am therefore in the worng field or othersise out lf line seeking to make suggestions or commentaries.

      I take it that how you effectively convey your sentiments to your manager/supervisor/BOSS is a matter of ART more than science. The science is your recognition that you are scientient, self-confident, able and valuable. The ART (managing your manager while staying off the targeting radar) is how you effectively and so subtly allow them to know that their actions/inactions are the cause of not getting the highest end of these traits they NEED. .

    • #3349973

      Your Boss may appreciated it.

      by jcritch ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      One of the best moments of growth in my career was the time a direct report came in, asked if I had a moment, wanted to know if he could be blunt with me, and I allowed him to vent. When it was all said and done, I was able to see some major issues that unbeknownst to me was a major irritant to him and others. From that moment on, I allowed my employees to anonymously evaluate me every year, and instituted ?a what is said here stays? here policy to open channels of communication. Boy sometimes I regretted that, other times a relished the opportunity. This really helped develop a relationship with a few employees I had a hard time reaching. Unfortunately, the damage I caused before the ?bitch? sessions never healed the relationship with others.

      I have since left that company, but have implemented that same standard where I am at now. I will never go back.

    • #3349798

      On exit

      by ethical_loner ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Generally and usually speaking, there is only one place for the type of conversation you are referring to – the exit interview. Rude, obnoxious people don’t ever take kindly to having those traits pointed out and when the rude, obnoxious person holds your fate in their hands – believe me, those you leave behind may thank you for your bluntness but I highly doubt they will start paying your bills – because YOU will be out of a job. And really, shouldn’t you be looking already anyway? That sounds like a terrible place to work.

    • #3351045

      Managing your boss…

      by flyers70 ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      There are two ways of dealing with this dilemma. I’ve used both successfully:

      1.) If it’s a small company you work for, try boss avoidance. Boss avoidance should occur during any situation when you’re not forced to be in the same room with him. You’re having a conversation with someone else and he buts in? Simply excuse yourself and walk away. This guy may be looking to get a rise out of you, but if it’s a small company, he may his own fiefdom such that he can make your life miserable and in most small companies, there is little recourse. If you can’t successfully pull this off, try a transfer to another department or maybe look for a new job.

      2.) If it’s a large company, try sarcasm in return. He may simply begin to back down. Example:

      Boss: “Wow, we pay IS folks and they can’t fix anything”

      You: “Maybe it’s because we have crappy managers…”

      Try to be witty about it without getting overly personal. He may get the point and simply back down. I had a boss who did the kind of things you talk about and I tried this, and he rarely tried to do it again. Remember: he’s still the boss, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a door mat. Alternative: In a large company, remember there are HR folks who hunt moronic bosses for sport; if he attempts revenge as a result of your sarcastic responses, ring up your HR folks and explain the situation. In a big company, most of these complaints are taken seriously and in some cases, impedes managers from ever getting promoted.

      There is always leaving, but if you like your job, why should you leave? Try to fight back, but do it the right way.

    • #3350989

      Act Rationally Not Emotionally

      by rjhajharia ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Often we react to the actions of an ego-centric boss emotionally as we feel hurt. However, acting on impulse makes our actions improper and cause us to err. Moreover, such reactions feed the very ego of the boss, who inwardly smiles on his success of upsetting his sub-ordinates. On the other hand, if one does not react at all, it would provide a shock-effect to the boss. Subsequently, one should gather all the facts and present his/her case rationally. The key is to document and record the actions taken in full knowledge of the boss. Following this approach repeatedly will force the boss to rethink his/her own approach and change for better as he/she would have no other alternative to work effectively.

    • #3350960

      Blunt qwith your Boss?

      by bilbuchanan ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      It’s always OK to be blunt with your Boss – if you are sure you are right and you don’t mind the consequences.

      Before putting your head in the lion’s mouth it is always best to be sure you know what you are doing. Sometimes a bit of quiet diplomacy works wonders.
      There is always the option of looking for another job if a Boss is a perpetual pain (he/she may think the same of you)

    • #3350940


      by tdt67 ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      You go around once. You have to decide if the job is worth the misery of putting up with the attitude. People like that are no more than the bully on the school yard. You knock them the down a few notches, they’ll leave you alone. What’s the worse that will happen? Lose your job? I doubt it.

      My bet is, this guy knows exactly what he’s doing and gets a kick out of it.
      If you or anyone else tolerates it, you are giving him the OK to continue. Look at it this way, you walked in there looking for a job, you can leave looking for a job. You’ll find another job if the worst happens which I seriously doubt. You meet people like that everyday. If you really want to have some fun, start turning the tables on him by making him into fool everytime he starts. Give it right back but in a tactful, professional way.

      It really comes down to YOU, not him. You have to set standards for yourself. You are going to run into these type of people now and again all through life. What are you going do about it?

    • #3350929

      Document what is said

      by blackcurrant ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?


      My previous boss was also a complete idiot. A bully, a braggart and a complete scrounger. He would often demean folks without reason, he would brag to me about how he could ‘take on’ anyone in the office. He would frequently present other’s ideas as his own. I detested him, he made me fume, my stress levels would go through the roof. And to cap it all, any attempt to suggest a different way of treating staff was met with aggressive paranoia.

      I soon discovered that my personal opinion was not unique. One of my greatest pleasures was discovering that nearly everyone who interacted with him was of the same opinion. In such a climate, it did not take the idiot’s boss long to realise that the employee was more of a liability than an asset.

      Document the times when he is objectionable, but also document the times when he is ‘rational’.

      You may need to talk to someone privately about this person and you do not want to present a completely biased view of this persons behaviour to anyone. You must be seen to be reasonable.

      I often have to closely supervise staff, and have learned over the years that a serious approach to anyone – whether they are ranting or praising – is the best approach to any situation. I now have a boss who is occassionally ‘volatile’ but he is also completely dedicated. When he explodes or says something inappropriate I remain outwardly calm. This always results in him simmering down, and, if the anger was directed at me, an apology.

      I do not know what your office ‘climate’ is like, but I would take the time to talk to someone high in the ranks about your boss’s ‘professional’ behaviour.

      No one should have to take any crap from anybody while at work.

    • #3350902


      by fluxit ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      There are many books out on this topic and a lot of discussion. One such book is ‘Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when Stakes Are High’ by ‘Kerry Patterson’.

      I have had to do this and one thing I learned is you have to be cognizant of the other person’s psyche. They have to be postured to recieve or even participate in such a conversation. Maturity is one aspect but also perception, pride, and the sense of self worth are important as well. Most of the time the substandard behavior is an outcome of some feeling of inadequacy or lack of control. You will need to identify such issues if possible.

      A considerable amount of effort has to go into preparing the battlespace. Entering such a conversation has to be framed and staged in such a way as to maintain professional relationships and sanity. It has to be built up to and the grounds need to be tested here and there.

      For example, you gave an example where you were helping the boss’s son. It is apparent that his son is not backing you up. So you’ll need to test those waters by remarking is there something I can help you with right now? You don’t mind if I train your son do you?

      The key is to always put a decision in his lap (He is the decision maker) and not make any remarks about the comment or respond emotionally. Keep a private journal of the event, remarks, and decisions. DO NOT LET ANYONE KNOW YOU ARE KEEPING THIS JOURNAL. That could cost you your job as it will inevitably be viewed as a legal document since it is often used for a law suite. Keep it at home and write in it after work. Your purpose is not to sue but to reflect upon the events and prepare your next steps as you build up to a conversation.

      During the buildup phase you have had him make numerous decisions, brought awareness to his remarks by doing that, and on occassion corrected your actions. The goal is to close the gap between perceptions and realizations and this will reduce conflict.

      When you are ready for the conversation you’ll need to get him into a relaxed atmosphere. Avoid classic power positions. ie having a conversation across a big desk, him in a high back chair and you in a small lower sitting chair. Know your risk and be prepared to accept the worse but if you prepped it should not be that bad.

      Your use of language is critical too. Do not object or state that he is wrong. Simply remark you feel there is other views on that point.

      Overall, people are trained to handle these situations as resolution does not come naturally. You’ll have to work at it.

    • #3331212

      possible root of the problem

      by yeahgday ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      I think these type of problems can be broken down into 3 parts…

      1) it’s an unfortunate fact, that “people get promoted to their level of incompetence.” that is, if you do your job well and get recognised for it you get promoted, if you don’t do your job well, you don’t get promoted. therefore promotions happen until either you can’t go any further in the business, or you are only just getting by. It sound’s like your boss is frustrated at the fact that they have hit their “incompetence ceiling” and you haven’t hit yours yet.

      2) we do not have “magical computer wands” that we can waive in the air and fix everything – unfortunately no mater how many movies are made about “genius-level” hackers that go “tap-tap-tap” on a keyboard and break into multi-national corporations, this sort of stuff is the domain of fantasy.

      3) And thirdly most people rely on an I.Q. alone. One quotient to measure all faculties of thought, just isn’t enough. As an example there is a guy that lives in my unit block that has shaggy hair, wears old dirty clothes, barely ever talks to anyone, but is magic with a soldering iron. This guy has a very low S.Q. (Social Quotient), but a very high T.Q. (technical quotient). and so it may happen that people see our mental faculties that don’t rate highly and use that to prejudice our ability to solve technical problems.

      now, why would I talk about these things instead of advice on why you “should”, or “should not” give your boss a piece of your mind? well, I believe that you have sub-consciously made your mind up either way, before you even posted. So I’m hoping this information will either give you insight when “being blunt with your boss”, or help you to process your environment when you are not.

    • #3331188

      Gain Your Talent……..$$$$

      by jagatheshram ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?


      If you are skilled enough and if you meet the comapny’s demands, by means of what you are asked to do and if you accompolish all them, then dont even care of what your boss?? says..
      Just do your job record everyting and show it to your HR.. Meanwhile if you really dont have peace of mind then shop your resume and await for a bright future. Anyway dedicated and hardworking skilled people always have a bright way.

      All the best.

    • #3331184

      bosses – a familiar pattern shows itself…

      by traverse ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      I read with interest of your plight regarding your boss. As a rule, a lot of ‘bosses’ get to where trhey are by not being nice to anyone, rather usurping their self-confidence. I once had a boss was dead scared of my ability and used to sniff out any situation I had been called to and turn up to put in his two cents worth, and win the users over by asserting himself. In the end, it came down to him micromanaging me to be another version of him – forget what I already knew, it wasnt worth knowing. I did find out that within two years or so of my leaving, citing that reason, he had built up his little band of merry men and they were seen meeting for lunch occasionally after his demise from the bank we all worked at – the adage ‘thick as thieves’ rings true there.

      In essence again, I guess bosses like that, and the one you make reference to, are not very confident people in themselves – maybe they never were and get noticed by higher echelons as they go about proving themselves to all and sundry, and/or they become insecure once they become bosses as they lose the friends they had when they werent bosses.

    • #3347049

      Yes It Is

      by gario ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Gosh, there sure is a lot of Boss bashing going on here.

      Sure, it’s ok to be blunt as long as the conversation is about your department and productivity problems. Being blunt is all about be honest or truthful and knowing what you are going to say is not what the person wants to hear.

      This particular case is about management style. How well do you know your boss? Could it be that he is trying to use this tact as a way of putting the team at ease? Or trying to fit in? Who knows?

      You don’t have to be blunt to talk to your Boss about this, and you have plenty of opportunities to accomplish this, for example yearly reviews. You could even schedule some one on one time with him.

      Let himor her know how this makes you feel and/or hinder you performance.

      • #3352024

        If only it were that simple :)

        by tomsal ·

        In reply to Yes It Is

        Like I said before, hey I have to realize you and everyone don’t know the extent of this person’s terrible personality and “ironfist” management style. You know how some people say “well that person as an abrasive personality”…well lets just say this person in question is diamond coated sand paper.

        And, again this guy isn’t just a manager of a department he is the top dog of the entire company — he is EVERYONE’s boss.

        And in his mind he is a legend…so there you go I think you can get a fix on how approachable this person is.

    • #3335583

      Beats hell out of being “sharp” with him.

      by sleepin’dawg ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Seriously, no pun intended.

      Dawg 😉

    • #3350663

      Open Door Policy

      by perryashford ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Yes, There is always a way to get your point across to your management depending if your manager has an open door policy and if there are other professionalism policies in effect with your human resources department. An open door policy is your manager has the attention of you when you approach them with a problem, either with them (management) or other colleagues. Your HR department may need to be brought into this realm to mediate this relationship. If this person has done this on and it has been documented, addressed through HR and it still persists, there are other avenues you may wish to take. They all involve some serious adjustment but some beneficial rewards.

      For example, your could quit, find another job and leave the miserable person alone, or stay and fight this through professional assistance. It could be the manager requires professional development, cultural sensitivity training or possibly other counseling. You may be able to file a lawsuit for regarding this workplace and the lack of HR to adjust this manager to a more productive attitude.

      • #3350650

        An Open Door to the Street

        by sharyljg ·

        In reply to Open Door Policy

        I have worked for 3 multi-national companies over 30 years. All 3 had open door policies. In each case, the result of open door meetings (not for me, I was too smart) was an open door to the street.

        The companies were a copier manufacturer, a (then) Big 8 accounting firm, and an IT giant. This seems to me to be a disparate enough sampling to make a generalization.

        Another thing they had in common was tracking of “confidential” employee surveys. At the Big 8 firm, a friend of mine had his survey referred to during his review. He was so offended, he contact the HR department in the main office. They may have counseled his boss about the wiseness of letting the employee know the survey was tracked, but she was not disciplined.

        If you can’t deal with the situation one on one, don’t count on help from above.

    • #3350578

      Honesty is best policy

      by jclulow ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Some people just don’t get it…. They get promoted, think they know what they are doing and how to manage people…they blow it royally because they have no clue how to manage…. My wife worked for a real estate agency and there was one abusive / belittling agent. She addressed the issue with the agent to no avail, then went over the persons head to their boss with the complaint. The boss basically said the agent was a top sales performer and they needed that agent. My wife said fine, and walked out…. in this case, the job was not worth the abuse, especially knowing the boss was not interested in the employees welfare, just the $$ this agent was bringing in… The company was obviously not worth working for…..In your case, the issue needs to be addressed as a group… individually, you will get toasted…. Try an honest aproach with the boss as a group and in a meeting ask the boss if there is a concern with the employees performance because none of you seem to be able to perform to the bosses expectations….He/she will probably tear you all apart but then you have what is needed to go above the personbs head, to the owner if necessary. Once senior management / owners see the disruptive nature of the boss in question is affecting performance, the person will be reprimanded, sent to a management training program or fired. Either way, the situation will be resolved…. Just give the boss a chance to redeem him/herself first in discussion with the gorup or you will denfinately make it worse…. BUT GO AS A GROUP INTO THIS…

    • #3352395

      if not, u are in trouble.

      by mixalis ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      if you are not upfront, he will think that he is right in treating people this way….be upfront and gain his respect!!!

    • #3352292

      Doing the right thing!

      by mikejmoore ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      Believe me when I say this I think we all have been there at some point of our career.

      My latest visit to this situation had my job eliminated, or more realistically me.

      I believe the right way to do this is to confront the individual tactfully face to face in private and explain to him what is bothering you and if appropriate others his behavior affects. If done in a tactful way, most people will discuss it and think about it even though they may not agree. It will makes things a little tense depending on the severity of the issue.

      In a nutshell, it all depends on the strength of the company and it it’s operating philsophies.

      If you are leaving anyway, you do not have any reason not to do it.

      If you don’t do it in private and following an approved, ethical process you end up acting the same way he does to other people.

      My 2 cents!

    • #3234388

      How Secure is your job vs How much will you tolerate

      by davidpmartin ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      If I were in your shoes (which fortunately I am not) I would ask the boss for a private meeting in which I would ‘lay down the law’. I have only tolerated this type of abuse one time in my life, and that was when I was getting my a– chewed by a real tyrant, and I was about a year and a half away from collecting my military retirement – so I really did not want to ‘blow that’. Now that I have a retirement paycheck to ‘back me up’ I am a whole lot less tolerant of any of this abuse. I have publically ‘humiliated’ the tyrants that I have had to work for (after THEY started it), and I have never been ‘let go’ because of it. But then again, I have a retirement pension to fall back on. It’s not much, but I will not starve either.

      I guess you have to decide how much of this BS you are going to stomach. I say there is NO excuse for such demeaning behavior.. but that is easy for me to say.. I’ve got money to fall back on. I will tell you this… if I were in your situation, I would dust off the resume… It’s the only way to fix your situation.

      • #3243892

        Abuse – bullying – harrisment

        by jim.allen1 ·

        In reply to How Secure is your job vs How much will you tolerate

        Well most of your have said it all – workplace abuse is totally unacceptable and is only now being accepted for what it is – web site covers the problem in Depth, while Tim Fields web site also hits the spot – all those suffering abuse in the workplace should seriously consider their mental health – damage creeps up on you until your end up with the at present virtually unrecognised PDSD (prolonged duress Stress Disorder) 9 months of Flash backs and lack of sleep coupled with a compromise agreement, apology and pay off can be the result in the UK – beware don’t say it can never happen to me – that’s what I said…. as I tried to keep my head down and ignore the abuse. Now I try to assist other people suffering similar problems.

    • #3255077

      Earth to bosses…….

      by kevaburg ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      The biggest problem I have seen is that bosses don’t live in the real world. They spend most of their time sat behind a desk looking at paperwork or looking over someone elses shoulder to make they are looking at their paperwork the right way.

      To all the bosses reading this, I apologise for the very obvious generalisation but as a boss myself, I have been as guilty as the next boss.

      Most of the time these comments are meant as harmless jokes but the problem is when a boss tells the sort of joke yours seems to, the people it is aimed at don’t find it funny.

      I would like to say just go into this guys office and give him the good news because there is a certain amount of unnecessary arrogance in the way he acted reading your account but I know how I would feel if that were me.

      Maybe the best approach would be simply to ask him him if he were joking and take it from there. It may sound obvious, but if he is serious in the way he is obviously hiding behind his management screen then someone needs to drag him out from behind it.

      This might also sound obvious, but if he isn’t in a hire and fire position, walk into his office and close the door. Then talk in a clear (albeit respectful) language and explain how his behaviour is making everyone else feel.

      If it is happening to you then you can bet your bottom dollar it is happening to someone else.

      Maybe it really is time that bosses spent obligitory time in any one period at the coal face………..

    • #3181130

      Yes… but do it respectfully.

      by go4gold ·

      In reply to Is it ever proper or “OK” to be blunt with your boss?

      I would think that it is alright to be blunt with your boss… but do it in a respectful manner (and tone). I would recommend that, perhaps, you rehearse your speech… and go over it with someone you know and respect.

      Remember… if you do it disrespectfully, it may go against you… and may be taken as insubordination… something to keep in mind.

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