What to do when your boss is disrespectful

Updated April 17, 2017

Although all bosses have bad days and sometimes don't act the way employees want, some bosses regularly go a step further and show disrespect to those working for them. If you're faced with a disrespectful boss, you've got a few options.

Talk to Boss

You'll have to be careful whenever you bring up your boss' behaviour toward you. Some bosses are angered by the mere idea that they've done something wrong. However, rather than directly criticising your boss, you might explain that how you're treated has made you less productive. You might add that you'd like to establish a healthier working relationship. Some bosses may not even realise they've been disrespectful and will try to remedy the problem. Others may take the opportunity to give you advice on how not to get on the wrong side of them. This isn't an ideal solution, but it may help to know.

Keep Professional

It may be difficult in the face of rudeness and insults from a boss, but certain standards are expected from you in the workplace. You must keep professional at all times; in the case of a disrespectful boss, this may require simply ignoring the problem when possible so that you can do your job. It also means keeping any comebacks to yourself.

Stay Calm

Keeping control of a situation with a disrespectful boss can mean the difference between building a better relationship and losing your job. Keep calm and try not to show much in the way of emotion. If you're upset about a situation, consider avoiding your boss as much as possible for a few days and then arranging a private meeting where you can raise the issue in a calm and professional manner. Avoid confrontation as much as you can, and remember that words said in the heat of an argument are difficult to take back.

Get Support

Don't try to deal with an unpleasant boss alone. It's likely that you'll not be the only one so affected by your boss, so talk to others and see whether they'll stand up with you if it comes to it. Together, you may be able to build a case that you can take to HR or to your boss' superiors. By gathering support, you'll have safety in numbers that may help in persuading your boss not to fire you if confronted, because firing so many workers would be impractical. Remember to document any incidents or conversations involving your boss, so you're organised if you need to present a case.

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About the Author

Simon Fuller has been a freelance writer since 2008. His work has appeared in "Record Collector," "OPEN" and the online publication, brand-e. Fuller has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Reading and a postgraduate diploma from the London School of Journalism.