How to Deal With a Verbally Degrading Boss


A toxic, verbally abusive or degrading boss can easily ruin the satisfaction you find in your career. In many cases, there are few obvious solutions to the problem that don't involve simply finding another job. Luckily, there are many management strategies and techniques you can employ to mitigate confrontations without losing your dignity or your job.

Remain Professional

  • Remain cool, calm and professional. Mimicking your boss's aggressive behavior is likely just to add fuel to the fire; instead, keep your composure and take the high road. Responding emotionally may escalate confrontations, arguments or discussions into a full-blown fight, which looks bad for both of you.

Communicate Clearly

  • Communicate the effects of your boss's behavior clearly to your boss. Though this may seem like a futile effort, it may well be the case that your boss simply doesn't understand or know what problems her behavior is causing. Use clear language to express specifically what your boss does that you find demeaning, and tell her about the emotional responses those behaviors elicit from you and the impact this has on your work.

Protect Yourself

  • In the defense of your job, begin documenting the demeaning behaviors your boss directs toward you or other employees. It may be that seeking action within the company or the legal system may be the only way to address your boss's behavior. In both cases, you need to be armed with information and facts to support your claims.

Take Away Your Boss's Edge

  • If your boss is constantly complaining about you, work to improve your performance and take his leverage away. This may help to reduce confrontations and any negative attention from your boss, and may also serve to improve your resume and your relationship with your coworkers, and make you a more attractive employee for other firms in the event you decide to switch employers.

Have a Contingency Plan

  • Sometimes, the best you can do is still not enough. If your boss's demeaning behavior continues despite your attempts to thwart it, look at cutting off contact with her before the problem can escalate. You may be able to petition your agency for a transfer to another department, but if all else fails, simply begin looking for another job.

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