Can't we all just get along?
September 28, 2011 8:45 PM Subscribe
Difficult Boss Filter: How do I deal with my smack-talkin', super negative boss?
posted by moons in june to Work & Money (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My boss thinks it's okay to talk negatively about her employees behind their backs. A lot of the things she says are just plain cruel. For example, I have a coworker who is in the process of getting off of hard drugs and is taking all the right steps toward recovery. Not only did my boss reveal this confidential information to all of her staff, she consistently makes fun of my coworker behind her back for it. This kind of thing seems to be her favorite, well, almost exclusive, topic of conversation. There isn't a single coworker I haven't heard numerous "terrible" things about. She also talks this way about customers after they leave. The general effect is that her employees distrust each other, and also seem to be more willing to talk negatively about each other and customers. From what I can see, it's her way of bonding with her employees, finding a common enemy and all that.
On a personal note, I've worked many jobs, quite a few with high-school mentalities (kitchens, anyone?), but I haven't experienced anything like my current boss. I like to think I have a pretty thick skin, and the fact that she probably talks about me doesn't bother me as much as it would have a few years ago. It's frustrating, but something I'm prepared to deal with.
So my question is, when she brings this stuff up, what's a good way to make it clear I'm not interested in talking like that about my coworkers? Is it my place to try to suggest that what she's doing is harmful? My usual approach is smile and nod, no comment, try to change the subject. Please keep in mind that this is my boss, and that she's the sole owner of the retail business where I work, AKA The Grand Poobah, The Buck Stops Here, etc. Thanks.