Here’s another thing that happens quite often on the work floor. A boss who constantly yells at you and/or makes fun of you. What can you do to counter this? Scientists have figured it out and came up with a surprising answer. One of the best ways to counter angry bosses seems to be giving them a taste of their own medicine.
Of course many people will not like this idea of speaking up to a boss. That’s all right. Before doing their research, the experts also didn’t think it would be beneficial for employees to retaliate with evil, but again that’s what was found out. Of course it is still better if there is no hostility at all, but what if your boss remains hostile? Fortunately for you there are other means you can use when the boss is yelling at you, 5 of which I will mention further below.
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But here is this surprising research first.
Why this hostility anyway?
How tempting: fantasizing about the pain you want to inflict on your screaming boss in exchange for the misery he or she causes you. However, it helps to remember that your boss probably is already suffering from all kinds of stress (which of course can be no excuse). Their power is the only way they can hide the painful reality from themselves. They are maybe jealous of what you have whatever they want: knowledge, talent, confidence, happiness.
There’s only one way to make your bad boss feel even worse: make it clear that he or she can’t take those things away from you.
Experts sent a lot of people a questionnaire by email about the subject of yelling bosses. In the questionnaire, the participants were asked about their boss and in particular how often the boss made fun of them or yelled at them. The subjects were also asked how often they repay evil for evil. For example, by giving their boss a sneer or simply ignoring them. Seven months later, the test subjects completed another questionnaire asking, among other things, how satisfied they were with their job, how loyal they were to their employer and the status of their psychological condition.
The study shows that subjects who had to deal with a hostile boss and did not object to it experienced more stress and were less satisfied with their job. The subjects who had a hostile boss and returned hostility did not experience those negative effects. Maybe strange but really true.
But why did those test employees not experience these negative consequences? The second part of the study answers this. This study showed that participants who also treated their hostile boss with hostility felt less victimized to the boss’s whims than subjects who did nothing. Surprisingly, these “angry” workers also believed that their hostile attitude towards their boss was not negatively affecting their careers.
Satisfied with the work
In addition, the first study found that employees who repaid their hostile boss with their own medicine were more satisfied with their jobs and more loyal to the boss than people with a hostile boss who hung back. The researchers think they can also explain this. Employees who give their hostile boss the best of luck could expect admiration and respect from their colleagues and therefore be more satisfied with their job.
So, is the moral of the story, that yelling bosses must be repaid with their own medicine? No, certainly not. The best and healthiest scenario is still one where there is no hostile boss. In addition, there may be other and even better ways to deal with screaming and mocking bosses. You will need to test more strategies, like the following five:
1. Be better
Be a better person than your boss on all fronts. Continue to invest in your professional and personal development. Do your best to get ahead and become a good manager – you will learn from your own boss how not to do it. Be collegial and realize that internal competition is not good for anyone except your frustrated boss.
2. Be popular
Get to know the people in your company, especially those who will take over your work. Let them know that you are willing to listen to them and that you take their concerns to heart. Join industry associations and online communities in your field. Increase your brand awareness and get people to trust you.
3. Be indifferent
Ignore your boss’s silly comments; realize that he or she is actually talking about himself and secretly laugh about it. Only respond if you are asked a direct question. If that is an offensive question, ask your boss how it will help you achieve your goals. Focus on the common interest and do your job to the best of your ability.
4. Be prepared
Keep a record of all inappropriate actions and comments of your boss. Bad bosses often get away with their behavior because no one records it. Send emails to your boss with their own comments and ask if you understood them correctly. If your boss continues to misbehave, from then on send your e-mails with a cc to someone from HR. If your boss asks you to stop writing everything down, explain that that is how you get things clear and you want to make sure that you understood everything correctly. Often times, this is enough to make a bad boss look for another victim.
5. Be happy
Nothing annoys a bad boss more than seeing that others are genuinely happy and joyful. Talk about fun things with your colleagues and create a pleasant working atmosphere. Give compliments, be polite and cooperative. Smile a lot. Enjoy your boss getting more frustrated and you happier. At the same time, ensure that your work is up to standard.
By following above mentioned strategies and being or becoming an exemplary employee, will not always stop your boss, but certainly will attribute to your wellbeing and further development.
One thing is for sure, not everybody will be in a position to follow these guidelines to the letter and turn around an adverse situation. After all, bosses will be bosses with all their characteristics and traits.
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