When The Boss Throws More Than A Temper Tantrum

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in Your Office Coach

Question: “My boss recently got upset with a co-worker about some problems with customer orders.  To get her attention, the boss reached across the desk and grabbed “Angela” by the jaw. When I spoke with Angela about the manager’s improper behavior, she agreed that he was probably wrong, although she wasn’t too disturbed about it. I decided to have a talk with my boss. I told him that I found his actions inappropriate, and he agreed with me. But when he learned that I had already discussed the situation with Angela, he became very irritated. My talking to her really bothered him.  Should I have handled this situation differently? What should I do now?” — Appalled Worker

Marie's Answer: Your manager’s physical confrontation with Angela was appalling and also illegal, since he could be charged with battery for such uninvited touching. Now what?

•    Your boss should be ashamed of himself for losing control. That may explain why he’s upset that you discussed his outburst with Angela.  

•    Giving honest feedback to a manager takes courage, so congratulations to you for calling him on his offensive and immature behavior. If your comments help to curb his impulsive reactions in the future, then you will have done him a big favor.

•    Grabbing an employee is so out of line that someone really needs to know about it. This guy could easily create legal liability for the company. So if you have a trustworthy human resources manager, consider having a confidential talk with that person. 

•    As for your boss, you don’t need to say anything further to him.  Odds are that he’s more upset with himself than with you. And he now knows that someone is watching his behavior.

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