My Boss is Disrespectful

November 13, 2017

My Boss is Disrespectful

In the last post, I outlined ways bosses can be jerks. This post will focus on those who are disrespectful.

What it is

I think this boss doesn’t get that treating his employees as human beings is not just good business (as it is), but a requirement of humanness. Instead he:

  • Is always late for meetings
  • Doesn’t read the work you did for the meeting
  • Sends e-mails and texts all hours of the night (and expects a prompt response)
  • Changes his mind frequently and is unconcerned about the extra work caused
  • Reprimands or corrects employees in public, sometimes loudly or even abusively
  • Never, never says thank you

What it looks like

Your boss, Tony, has called you into his office.

Tony: Didn’t you get my text?
You: Yeah, I just read it.
Tony: I sent it yesterday.   I need you to hop to it.
You: But you sent it after midnight.
Tony: So? I’m still working even if you aren’t.
You: Okay—I’ll get on it.

What to do

You want to yell, Just because you don’t have a personal life, doesn’t mean I don’t. Are you crazy? I get it. But not the most effective approach if being gainfully employed is part of your plan.

Off the top, decide whether Tony’s behavior is disrespectful or just clueless. Is it possible that he isn’t intentionally so but instead disorganized, a night owl, or can’t understand why everyone isn’t a workaholic? I’m not saying this makes the behavior excusable but it may make it understandable. But one instance is, I think, unquestionably disrespectful.

An example of disrespectful behavior

Humiliating employees in public. Here’s how it might play out and how to deal with it. You’re in the coffee room with others when Tony comes storming in.

Tony: (Yelling) What the hell? Didn’t I tell you to send this after the fifteenth? Try to remind him of the right approach.
You: Tony, why don’t we go into your office?  
Tony: We’ll talk wherever I want. Well? Don’t start explaining. Stick to your guns.
You: Tony, I’m going to the conference room. We can talk there (start walking towards it). This takes guts. But it is important.
Tony follows you into the conference room
Tony: Where do you get off walking away? Stay calm. One of you has to.
You: I thought this would be a better place to talk. I’m not sure why before the fifteenth was a problem. Don’t get into a pissing match about who decides where to meet. Move to the problem.
Tony: I told you no sooner than the fifteenth.  
You: But the client asked for it asap.  
Tony: Why didn’t you tell me? Tony is calmer.
You: Sorry, I didn’t realize I should. Do you want a list of shipping dates? Propose a solution if you can.
Tony: Well, no, I don’t want to read a shitload of dates.  
You: Maybe just when we have to change the date? Give him an out.
Tony: Nah, not that either. Ah, just forget it.  

Tony might be angrier than I showed him. Doesn’t always work out so neatly but I think it’s important to stick to your guns. For your own self-respect, you need to do what you can to expect respectful behavior from him. Not easy, I grant you.

Next post: Dealing with an under-performing boss.

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