When your boss has an angry outburst or berates you in front of your co-workers, what is your reaction? Unless they're prepared to be fired on the spot, most employees would rather ignore the incident than fight back against the person in charge. While it's probably never a good idea to scream at your supervisor, new research from Rutgers-Camden suggests that confronting an abusive boss could help your workplace productivity.
Oscar Holmes IV of Rutgers-Camden's School of Business said that employees who perceive their bosses as mean, hostile or derogatory try to avoid the situation as a coping mechanism. It's natural for employees to turn the other cheek when a boss is abusive since they still rely on him or her for raises, promotions and continued employment, but feedback avoidance can take its toll on job performance.
"[Avoidance] makes people more emotionally exhausted and therefore unable to perform their work at their greatest potential," said Holmes, an assistant professor of management. "Trying to plan your day to avoid your boss requires cognitive resources that ultimately end up wasting time and energy that can be used doing work."
Holmes advised employees to request and prepare for a face-to-face meeting to discuss their boss's behavior. But this meeting shouldn't be to criticize and unload on the supervisor: The goal is to form a better working relationship.
"It's important that the employees fight the abusive tactics and not the abusive person," Holmes said. "For example, if the supervisor is a micromanager, the employee can state, 'I find that I work best if I'm given more autonomy over making decisions on which projects to work on.'"
If a boss doesn't change his or her actions after a face-to-face meeting, it's time to move on. Holmes recommended maintaining the necessary cordial contact with your supervisor and seek co-worker support while searching for employment elsewhere.
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.