I'm hoping you can help a friend of mine who is stuck in a tough situation. After a long job search, my friend has found his dream job--it's what he wants to do, in the field he wants to do it in, it pays the salary he wants to make, and he feels like he's making a positive difference in the world. But his manager only has one way of talking: SCREAMING. Peppered with curse words, no less. At first, my friend just thought this person had high standards, or was trying to "break in the new guy." But it has been months and it's not getting any better. Alhough my pal tries to respond to the feedback that is buried somewhere in all the shouting and swearing, none of his efforts to give his boss what he wants have been met with anything but rage. The few times this manager has tried to give my friend a compliment about a job well done, he still somehow ends up angry and yelling! It is so bad that I would not be surprised if this person has some sort of undiagnosed mood disorder and should be on medication. With the economy the way it is, quitting the job is not an option. Is there anything my friend can do to improve his work environment?
Well, first, chronic yelling should be a deal-breaker. It's abusive, it demeans the person being yelled at, and frankly, it diminishes the authority of the yeller because it makes them look out of control. Yelling is the sign of a bad manager--and a jerk. So yes, the economy is bad, but your friend should at least look around and try to find another job. Sure, it might not pan out, but if he doesn't even try, it definitely won't.
However, here are some survival strategies for whatever period of time someone is stuck with a boss who yells:
But really, none of the above will change the fact that that a boss who chronically yells is a jerk and will likely always be a jerk. Your best bet is to start looking at other jobs.
Alison Green is chief of staff for a medium-sized nonprofit where she oversees day-to-day management of the staff as well as hiring, firing, and staff development. She is working with the Management Center to coauthor a book on nonprofit management. Her writings have been published in the Washington Post, the New York Times, Maxim, and dozens of other newspapers. She blogs at Ask a Manager.