The Mighty Logo

A Letter to the Angry, Yelling Boss

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Dear Angry Boss,

While I was working at a call center utilized for telemarketing/financial services, I encountered many a floor lead manager who was stressed the fuck out. Seriously. It wasn’t uncommon for the day to include curse words being hurled at call-takers across the call center floor. This would usually happen when workers placed customers on hold to ask the floor leads for assistance. It also wasn’t uncommon for call-takers to walk out and quit their position without notice thanks to the tempers and raised voices of those who hold positions of leadership.

Customer service is stressful enough. It is even worse when the people workers are directed to seek help from cannot be rational or calm when things get tough. It isn’t professional to verbally berate the worker meant to bring up the numbers. That’s just fucking with the metrics. Not only that, but it also hinders the ability for these workers to provide a quality service. Yeah, let’s yell at them and expect the best possible customer service to be given to the people who are the reason the company’s doors are still open.

Most importantly, this is abuse and it should stop. Mental health is no joke. I’ve worked for bosses who’ve laughed in my face when I requested they exert some calm before approaching me or other workers because it piqued anxiety and fear.

Yeah, laughed…

I know what you’re thinking. And, I know. Yes, being a leader is hard. Yes, being a manager or in some other position with a ton of responsibility can be extremely overwhelming and at times, unpredictable. It wears on you and probably causes you to doubt your ability to lead effectively. In some companies, being a leader means you are left flying solo and have no one to turn to, even upper-management or corporate. It can really suck because a job like that will suck the life out of you if you do not have at least a little guidance on how to cope in that sort of work environment.

I’m going to be frank: That’s no one’s problem but your own. When you are put into a position of leadership, you handle it well as best as you can, full stop. Now, if you are in a position of leadership and do or don’t live with a mental health issue, I see you and wholeheartedly commend your bravery for leading the charge. Find help, see if your company offers counseling services or if there are therapist services covered by your insurance plan. If you do not have an insurance plan, search your local area for low to no-cost counseling services.

If you’re yelling at your workers and treating them in a shameful manner “because you can” or because that’s what makes you feel powerful and in charge, you’re breaking the Will Wheaton rule. Stop being a dick.

I’ll even say the same thing in regards to the folks taking those calls. Obviously, they handle it as best as they can with what they have. If they didn’t, there’d be a huge spike in insta-quits broadcast in the media. Companies would slowly wither away if their bottom line did not handle their jobs or their angry bosses with their heads held high. Note: quitting because of the customer base is another story.

Here’s the reality: Workers do not quit jobs, they quit managers.

This is a fact, one that is proven in the forms of high-turnover, as one example. If you need a few more examples, take a look into the place you are currently working. The number of employees will decrease over time if there is any of the following: a lax in re-training, if you hear complaints about management, low morale, if your business is slow to keep up with the most current technology or if you do not offer incentives or advancement opportunities to your workers, if your workers mention feeling undervalued at all, and then some.

Before you go all, “But they get raises!” on me — what a pay increase isn’t, and shouldn’t ever be, is a low-key perk for dealing with the anger issues of employees who hold places of leadership. You might as well tell your employee directly, “Look, we know you get treated like dirt, we just hope this makes up for it.” As someone who has been given perks for accepting abusive behavior, gross.

There is always a better solution to address anger in the workplace. If you need a place to begin, here are a few areas to delve into:

  1. Immediately resist the urge to fly off the handle. Take a moment to think about exactly what the issue is, and find a positive aspect about it. Focus on that until you are able to think clearly on a solution.
  2. Ask for help. By all means, it isn’t beneath you and if you are not able to find help, go to your team and let them know what the situation is in a calm, composed manner.
  3. Take a quick look at how your behavior is affecting those working for you. When you get upset, do you bring it to them first, or do you make a checklist of what could/should be done to resolve any issues before bringing it to your workers?
  4. Check in with yourself and breathe: Is the frustration you are feeling matched to the situation? Will what you say in anger have repercussions or have an effect on others?
  5. Recognize what you feel when you become upset. If you do this, you may be able to better manage those angry emotions when they creep in.
  6. Remain professional at all times. If you find yourself unable to sustain self-control over your emotions at work, it may be time for a vacation, or creating a plan of action with HR in anger management.

Everyone, no matter what level they are at in a job, has to deal with overwhelming emotions like anger at some point. This isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be harder than it already is. If you feel the term “angry boss” applies to you, don’t wait on making a change to your work ethic. That will only exacerbate the situation as time goes on, and things will get worse for you and your workers. Ask for help, it isn’t going to make you look bad or incapable. You are in your position for a reason, so own it with all the confidence and good faith seen in your abilities when it was granted to you.


Everyone You Work With

Getty image via jossdim

Originally published: August 5, 2019
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home