How to Deal With a Yelling Boss

When most of us are asked to picture our ideal workplace it most likely features a supportive cast of professional colleagues who pitch in, collaborate and communicate with ease.  Don’t get us wrong. That mental image is certainly a great aspiration for the place you’ll end up spending more time than your actual home on a daily basis, but reality has a way of looking just a little bit different.

Chances are that if you’ve spent enough time in the workforce you’ll encounter a slightly more “difficult” environment.  Maybe your support crew of workmates spends more time reading the SimplyHired blog than actually working. Maybe your office is so stingy it’s like a reality TV show when it comes time to replace your office pens.  Worst case scenario? You encounter the dreaded, overly aggressive, incredibly stressful, unprofessional and panic-inducing, screaming boss. If the latter scenario sounds familiar before you call it quits and head to the hills in search of employment Shangri-la check out our handy tips for how to deal with a yelling boss.

The Yelling Game

Before we delve into the do’s and don’ts, it’s worth some discussion of why some people communicate via raised voices, to begin with.  In most instances, your boss choosing to yell probably isn’t personal. Many managers or employees with authority came up during an age when less professional standards were applied to workplace behavior.  This certainly doesn’t make yelling something that should be accepted, but it may help lessen the stress you feel daily wondering just what it is the yeller has against you.

With this in mind, whatever action you choose to take to help address a yelling boss, it’s best not to confront them directly with counter-aggression.  Answering yelling with more yelling will just increase your office stress and can often be misconstrued as bad behavior on your part, especially if the person doing the screaming doesn’t realize they are in the wrong.  Take a crack at walking in your boss’ shoes, then move on to one of our handy methods for management and correction below.

Suggested Approaches for Dealing With a Yelling Boss

Our steps below are meant to be guidelines and tips for dealing with inappropriate communications.  While they may not fit your specific scenario, we’ve tried to order them in the level of progression, escalating in the seriousness of response to help keep the workplace as happy and healthy as possible.

Talk to Your Boss

This may not be right for every scenario, but if you encounter a boss who yells in some circumstances but is completely normal and professional in others, a heart to heart may be in order.  Plan your discussion out ahead of time and be sure to include specific instances of bad behavior and how it impacted you and your work performance. With any luck, this direct approach will have an otherwise reasonable supervisor rethinking his or her behavior and perhaps respecting your position more given your willingness to communicate.

Reach out to Other Managers

If your boss is a yeller it may be a good idea to get the lay of the land on how others behave within your workplace.  Developing good relationships with others in leadership positions will help you assess whether the yelling is an instance of a single bad apple or indicative of an overall workplace culture.  Be careful not to bad mouth your current boss, but if you do manage to develop a solid repertoire, feel free to drop in your current supervisor’s behavior in casual conversation. Getting a talking to by someone senior within the company may be the correction needed to help put an end to loud and angry speeches.

Pay a Visit to HR

As a last resort, you may need to be prepared to file a report directly with Human Resources regarding your boss’ unreasonable behavior.  If you’re considering this route, be cautious that you’ve exhausted your professional means of addressing the situation first. If you feel that your work environment has become toxic, however, and you don’t have the tools needed to address the situation, seek out your HR department for an official report or even informal advice to avoid undue suffering.

If All Else Fails…

There may come a time when your best efforts at correcting a yelling boss may fail.  If the screaming has reached a level where you’re stomach is in knots over the mere idea of coming into the office, it may be time to seek alternative employment.  

Leaving a bad working environment is never the wrong decision.  If you’re worried about the resignation having a negative impact on your future prospects, be prepared to explain the situation to future hiring managers or interviewers in as professional a manner as possible.  Above all else, make sure your exit is graceful. Maintaining the upper hand in professionalism and being able to hold your head high as you walk away from a toxic, yelling boss will protect you both in work and personally in the future.

Article Updated from the Original on March 31, 2018