Dealing With an Angry Supervisor

Posted September 11, 2007 by

I have a supervisor who is a very unhappy person. She is angry almost all the time and takes her unhappiness out on everyone. Everyone is afraid of her and tries to avoid her. Unfortunately for me, there is no way I can avoid her because I sit right in front of her. It is getting so bad for me that I am beginning to hate my job. Just seeing her come in makes me upset. She always finds something wrong and never gives a pat on back for anything.
I went over her head and talked to her boss, but he just encouraged me to accept her the way she is. Even though she treats everyone the same way, I take it to the heart. I tried to get transferred but didn’t succeed. I also tried looking for another job, but so far haven’t had any luck. Have you ever heard of this type of problem?
– Looking for a way out

Sue Says:
I hear about negative people all the time. The affect they have on others is powerful, yet these people often have no idea how deeply their behavior impacts their coworkers – unless someone tells them.
The fact that this supervisor treats everyone the same way should help you to realize that her actions are strictly about her and have nothing to do with you. Yet for some reason you allow yourself to be affected by her.
If you haven’t tried talking with her directly, consider doing so. You really have nothing to lose. If you approach the subject with the intent to “inform” rather than “accuse”, you have better chance of reaching her.
Speak in terms of “I”, rather than “you”. In other words, saying “I may be sensitive, but when you yell and get mad, I take it personally”, will be more constructive than saying, “You are always so angry that you are making me want to leave and look for work elsewhere.”
I can assure you that wherever you work you are bound to encounter people like this woman. Use this as an opportunity to work on changing yourself and your reaction to negative people rather than running away from them. Let me know what happens and good luck.
— Sue Morem is a professional speaker, best-selling author and syndicated columnist. Her books include How to Gain the Professional Edge, 101 Tips for Graduates, and the just released How to Get a Job and Keep It, Second Edition. You can send questions to her by email at or visit her web site at
Read more of Sue’s articles by clicking here: Ask Sue

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