Tag Archives: Dr. Woody

3 Tips for Coping with a Yelling Boss

On the February 17th episode of the CBS show Undercover Boss, Rick Silva, CEO of Ralley’s/Checkers blew his cover in the middle of the episode to confront an unruly manager for yelling at his employees. The surprising, yet admirable action by Silva serves as a potent reminder of a common problem far too many of us face everyday: the yelling boss.

Nobody ever wants to be on the receiving end of someone who is yelling, particularly when it’s your boss. Being yelled at is just no fun and it usually ends up making the problem worse. Abusive behaviors like yelling can also create anxiety. According to research from the International Journal of Stress Management, employees of abusive bosses are more likely to suffer higher levels of stress and anxiety than their peers.

The mind is a powerful thing. When we are repeatedly barraged with negative assaults it ultimately takes a toll on us both mentally and physically, which can ultimately lead to serious health problems. In other words, when bosses yell, employees get sick, at least some of the time.

So, why do bosses yell? The root of the problem seems to be managers who just aren’t ready to manage. A 2011 Career Builder survey found that 26% of managers surveyed admitted not being ready to take on management responsibility and 58% didn’t receive any kind of management training. The fact is we tend to promote people because they are good at what they do and not because they have any kind of management or leadership talent. Essentially, we take our star players, make them coaches, and expect them to channel their talents through those around them.

To make matters worse, we rarely provide these new managers with any kind of real training and support, thus setting them up for failure. So, it’s only natural that when new bosses aren’t able to inspire action and get results, they become frustrated and fall back on using (and often abusing) positional power. This means harsh directives and raised voices. In other words, they yell.

The challenge is how to best deal with the “yelling boss” without getting in trouble. A few tips to consider when dealing with that insufferable yelling boss:

Never Take it Personally: More often than not the yelling boss doesn’t intend their rants to be taken personally. They are likely reacting out of frustration and may not even be aware of how destructive their behavior is or how negatively it may come across to others. Even in those cases where the yelling boss does get personal, the best thing to do is focus on the facts. Remember, you have the ability to create your own reality and it’s up to you to decide whether someone else’s negative attitude takes you down or not. Life is too short to allow the immaturity of others to determine how you feel!

Don’t Take the Bait: Never match the tenor of the yelling boss as this will only result in an unhealthy escalation of emotion. Whenever you match the tone of the yelling boss, you lose because they have effectively lured you into the trap. When you start shouting back you give up any hope of a level playing field because you are now playing by their rules. The best thing you can do is stay calm, refrain from engaging, and just let them burn themselves out!

Be Mindful of Your Purpose: If the yelling boss can’t actually answer the question of “what do you want me to do?” they aren’t managing, they are just venting frustration. In this case, wait until the dust settles before seeking out any resolution. During this time be sure to take a moment, catch your breath, and reflect on the purpose of the upcoming conversation. A common mistake is to go in and lash out as retribution or scold your boss with facts and figures proving you right. This isn’t a meaningful purpose. Be forward thinking. Before you approach your boss, be sure to have some ideas on what you can do to make-up for whatever real or imagined problem that caused the situation and be ready with positive steps for moving forward.

Make no mistake, it’s never easy to be in charge, yet it’s always easy to yell. If you find yourself the victim of a yelling boss, do your best to not take it personally, be sure to avoid getting drawn in, and find a way to ask for positive direction in moving forward.

-Dr. Woody

photo by: Brandon Heyer

Why Passion Matters in Your Career!

Not all that long ago I had a conversation with the former vice president of recruitment from a major car rental agency about the role of passion in job hunting. As we looked around the packed auditorium I asked him how he could differentiate truly viable candidates from those desperately throwing darts at the board.

His answer was simple: “I look for passion.” He went on to say that he and his team focus on those who demonstrate genuine enthusiasm for creating a positive customer experience. To be successful at his company he really believed that agents have to have that inner desire to work with people to create solutions. Quite simply, passion matters.    

On the flip side, think about the last time you were at the Department of Motor Vehicles (or any other similar administrative government bureaucratic entity for that matter). It usually starts with a long painfully slow line that culminates in a frustrating interaction with an emotionless bureaucrat robotically going through the motions. You can feel the apathy in the air, an apathy that only serves to enhance the negativity of the experience. Would it hurt to have just a little passion for helping someone through the process?

Harnessing Passion

When it comes to behavior there are a multitude of factors that motivate how and when we act.

Just as your personality, culture, upbringing, and education influence your behavior, so too does your passion. Passion can be thought of as a root emotion that compels you to take action, an emotion that is often influences by external forces that influence our perceptions about what is exciting and alluring.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes passion as an emotion that is “deeply stirring or ungovernable.” In other words, passion is something that must be harnessed. Your passion can be as much of a detriment as it is an asset, which is why you must be mindful of its power. The ability to harness your passion for positive gain can provide you with a tremendous advantage. The first step is to explore where your passions really lie by asking yourself:

• What is meaningful to me and what gives me a sense of purpose?

• What generates excitement and enthusiasm in me?

• What types of activities truly engage me in a positive way?

Aligning Passion and Work

Will your passions and your work always be perfectly aligned? Of course not!

Often your greatest passions will lie outside the realm of work. The idea is to find a way to close the gap between your passions and your careers as best you can.

This means figuring out what your passions are and then seeking out those opportunities that best allow you to align your passions with activities that generate income. The harsh reality is the most of us spend most of our waking hours working.

For those who are unemployed or underemployed, most of your time is spent working toward getting back to work. At the end of the day, focusing your energy where your passions are only makes sense. Having a positive emotional connection to your vocation will help create a better experience for both you and those around you.

Passion matters when you learn to use it to your advantage. If you can effectively demonstrate to our potential employers that you have that energizing spark or extra edge, you become infinitely more valuable, and you stand out. Remember, recruiters aren’t looking to hire people who need the job, they are looking for people who want the job. They are looking for those candidates who stand out and have something genuine to offer. Find your passions and learn how to use them to your advantage.
Creative Commons License photo credit: geeky_spaz

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