Your Boss is Hostile - What Do You Do?

Is your boss hostile?

Are you working at a job where the boss has no interpersonal skills; micro-manages you and treats you like a child?

Do you work for a fault finding boss who yells, screams and talks to you in an arrogant and demeaning manner, even in the presence of your co-workers?

Are you are tired of walking on eggshells at work because any small thing you do could set off an “explosion”?

If you work for a hostile boss and nothing has been done to resolve the situation, you probably have been paying the price physically and emotionally. By now  the effect of hostility at work has probably spilled over into your home environment and perosnal life. You are probably having many sleepless nights, suffering from some kind of depression, experiencing  blood pressure problems, migraines, weight loss or weight gain and losing friends who think you whine too much because all you talk about is your job and your boss. Your self esteem is probably eroded and you are feeling so frustrated.

 You may have even begun to think and believe that you are the crazy one and that perhaps you really are as incompetent and inadequate as the boss has been trying to make you believe. Since you have to deal with this hostile boss everyday, you are starting to feel helpless.

This whole situation with work and the boss is consuming your life and it’s taking a toll on your health! It needs to stop!

How do you handle working with a hostile boss?

Most people try to handle the situation by complaining to their co-workers, friends and family about how badly their boss is treating them. Others cry their eyes out in the bathroom or in their cubicles or even at home. Others keep journals to record every incident (date and time included) hoping to use it as evidence should the need arise. Many others make a couple of trips to an ineffective human resource department in order to lodge their complaints and if they are lucky, HR arranges a one on one meeting with their boss to try and resolve the situation. Others come to work depressed, stressed out and vowing to quit after giving their  hostile boss a piece of their mind (not recommended). Many turn to their religious or spiritual roots for peace, guidance and so forth. In most cases, all this happens to no avail.

How can you effectively deal with this situation and get back your life?

1. Start looking for another Job.

If your effort to resolve the situation has failed to work out and your health is at risk…the sooner you start exploring other options, the better. While still holding on to your job, find out if you can be transferred to another department internally. At the same time, do everything in your power to mount an aggressive job search externally. Call up temporary agencies, send out resumes, call recruiters…do something and do it quickly.As long as you are doing something to get out of the situation, you will get the strength to cope with the pressure at work. However, if after weighing your options and counting the cost, you feel that you can no longer continue to work at your job…jump ship and look for greener pastures elsewhere.

2. Create a protective mental shield around you.

This is a work survival skill you can use to block negativity at work. I call it “the see no evil, hear no evil skill” This doesn’t mean denying that the situation exists. It is just one way of dealing with an undesirable situation. It is a means to protect your sanity. In this case, you program yourself to see and hear your boss but not really “see or hear them” Your boss could be yelling at you, but you can decide to purposely let it slide as if you did not hear anything. This helps to not only protect your mind but also helps you retain control over the situation. This tactic should only be used as a temporary measure. Abuse of any kind is never okay.

3. Stand up for yourself.

Confront the situation…don’t run away from it. Bullies do exist in the work place and that bully could be your boss. The more you cower, run and hide; the more power you take away from yourself and the more power you hand over to the bully boss. When you don’t speak up against something you consider an “injustice” against you…you feel bullied, abused, violated and powerless. Then you begin to lose your sense of self worth and confidence. When you stand up for yourself, speak out and right the wrong…even when it appears to be ineffective, you take back your power. In some case this is easier said than done especially when your paycheck is on the line…but it can be done. Truth is, sometimes you just have to be tough! Try taking small courageous steps. For instance, the next time your boss yells at you in the presence of your co-workers…muster the courage to say something simple and professional like,” can we talk about this in private?” I am sure that even if the boss does not agree to a private conversation, he or she will probably think twice about yelling at you in public.


Caroline Jalango is a life strategist and motivational coach for women who want to do better for themselves. She is the author of "Settle for Less No More” and "You Deserve to Feel Good" motivational books for women who want to succeed. For more topics like this, visit to gain the momentum to do better for yourself and get the results you want! Go to to download and receive a free ebook to help you do better for yourself.