My Boss Has Anger Issues
July 1, 2007 6:38 AM Subscribe
How to proceed with caution in dealing with a smart and talented boss who has anger-management and mental health problems...?
posted by Sabine3283 to work & money (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I work in a small non-profit organization (administrative staff of 17). I love my job and the impact I have in my community through my work. I've been there for 10 years and have garnered a tremendous amount of respect and visibility for the programs I've designed, most of which revolve around serving the needs of children. If I were to leave this organization, I would have to move to a new city to stay in the same field, or I would have to start over with a new (possibly related) kind of job.
I was promoted internally 9 years ago, into an executive/management position, by the Executive Director, who is one of the smartest, most knowledgeable people in this field that I have ever met. She knows her job and our field inside out, but is unfortunately, a terrible manager of people and has serious anger management problems.
I could give a long list of examples, but suffice it to say that when she's experiencing any kind of frustration-- whether it's work-related or in her personal life-- she yells... a lot. She belittes, insults, curses, makes rash policy decisions, yells some more, and never apologizes. She's been known to slam doors and actually throw things as well. Although this is a non-work example, she once became so enraged at another driver for cutting her off that she intentionally rear-ended their car. AND told people about it afterwards, as if she was in the right!
This anger comes and goes-- it's not always like this, and periods of calm can go on for months before the monster invariably resurfaces. Since it's a small office and a very close group, we all know what's going on in the lastest phase, including the fact that she stopped taking her anti-depressants while in a happy new relationship and then crashed after she got dumped. The last few weeks have been so bad that two dedicated executive staff members (for the first time ever) have mentioned they're thinking about quitting. Two younger staff members have left in the past two months.
Here's the "rub." I am (seriously) the only executive staff member that, throughout all of these swings in mood, has NEVER been on the receiving end of one of her tirades. and everyone knows it. I'm well liked, and they don't hate me for it, but they all look at me like I'm the one who's supposed to do something to stop it.
I've looked at other similar issues posted here, and everyone says the same thing... document, document, document. But do I document things happening to other people, not me? Our HR policy requires this kind of behavior to be reported directly to the Executive Director or, if it is the ED, directly to the board. Truthfully, I have absolutely no idea if the board is aware how she treats staff, or if they don't care because-- in the end-- she gets results. Truthfully, I feel that if I make the choice to go to the board about this issue, I will not work there much longer.
I am so aware that she is dealing with mental health issues, and as a result, part of how I deal with her is that I just feel sorry for her. It seems she's spiraling out of control. I almost feel like what she needs is some kind of an "intervention" where she gets a major wake-up call about how her behavior affects other people and actually has a negative impact on productivity and morale.
Sorry this is so long, but I guess I feel the details will give context. At this time, I'd welcome any advice you all can share.