When my supervisor gets upset at someone or about something, he yells. Sometimes he throws things. His face gets red and he looks like he might strangle someone. It happens at least once a week. Usually more. It’s upsetting even when he is not directing it at me personally. How can we make him stop?
Duct tape and/or tranquilizer darts. Unless you have perfect aim and nerves of steel, go with the tape.
— Evil Skippy
P.S. Your supervisor sounds like a jerk. If you don’t want to get close enough to use duct tape, grab your phone and start recording the next rant while saying, “This will go viral! I’m going to be famous!”
I don’t often accuse ES of stupidity but today is one of those days. Do not under any circumstances pretend to or actually record your boss while he is in mid-rant. From the way you describe him, his behavior is out of control. Never provoke someone who is in that zone – it’s potentially dangerous.
Do document the rants. You are off to a good job in your letter to me because you described his red face – that is a fact and not an opinion. Record more facts and not just your conclusion that he is mad and upset. Write down where the behavior happened, when it happened and what exactly he said and did. Who was around and who was affected? The more detail the better. Then, go to human resources or your supervisor’s boss and in a calm, professional manner report what has taken place. It could go something like this: “I’ve been concerned about a pattern of behavior that is causing tension in our workplace. Because it has been happening on a regular basis for several months, I made a point of jotting down the details from an incident this afternoon. Our supervisor came into our work area and threw a notebook down on the conference table. [And so on].” Did you notice how I emphasized that this is a regular pattern of behavior?
Management should counsel your supervisor immediately and let him know that this behavior will not be tolerated in any employee, particularly a supervisor. Perhaps he needs to go to EAP. Perhaps he just needs to get his inner child under control and let his outer adult be the supervisor. Perhaps he’s burned out and needs to stop being a supervisor. Whatever he needs, if your supervisor keeps allowing his inner child to run around at work, he should be terminated.
Good luck. Readers – how have you dealt with a yeller in the workplace?
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