Ask Neycha: Sarcastic Boss

Dear Neycha:

I work for a large corporation as a mid-level manager.  I've been in the same position for two years but have been with the company for five.  Things were mostly fine until recently when some of the directors changed.  With the upper management shake up, I now report to a different director whose work style rubs me the wrong way.  She’s unorganized, rushes all the time and expects me to be able to read her mind.  Obviously I can’t and if something fails to get done in our department, she’s always quick to call me out for it in a very sarcastic tone no matter who’s around.  My peers, who report to different directors, mostly feel that I shouldn’t take it personally and accept that it’s just her way.  But I’m getting fed up with it especially when it messes up my whole day long after work hours.  What should I do? ~Sarcastic Boss On My Nerves, DC

Dear  Sarcastic Boss:

This really is a no-brainer.  Unless I’m missing some extraordinary detail that you’ve failed to mention, you should take your boss aside and kindly explain your concerns.  You need to let her know that being spoken to with sarcasm is ineffective, and that being reprimanded in any tone in front of others is simply unacceptable.

Understand SB that we teach others how to treat us.  By remaining silent you in essence teach your boss that responding to you in a juvenile and biting manner is okay. And your co-workers, although perhaps well meaning, are literally co-signing this ridiculous behavior.  I think not.

If you don't stand up for yourself and establish appropriate boundaries in all of your relationships, you can’t automatically expect others to treat you the way you desire.  You must be your own personal advocate on the job and elsewhere. Advocate that you be treated with respect.  Also advise your boss to find a suitable way to communicate her expectations to you in a timely fashion.  Explain that hoping or assuming you can read her mind is useless and that it greatly compromises your ability to be productive. Remind her that the bottom line productivity of your department is a direct reflection of your communication or lack thereof.  Ask her to do her part in helping you be the personal asset that will make you both happy in the end.

After trying this, leave it alone SB.  Life is too short to waste precious evenings on the funky choices of others.  It’s enough of a project to be mindful of our own.  Spend your energy wisely my dear.

Rock on,

Neycha