My Manager Keeps Giving Me Dirty Looks —What Should I Do?


Dear Newsweek, I’m an experienced administrator. Ever since I started working at my current place I have been getting dirty looks from the manager. He looks me up and down as if I’m a piece of something. It makes me feel uncomfortable.

He is always in a bad mood and hardly ever speaks to me, unless he needs something.

Not only this but, he enjoys yelling at me whenever he needs something instead of talking. I have reported him to HR, but nothing has ever been done. It’s unfortunate that people like that are still employed here. This position isn’t hard, but the environment is bad. I have considered leaving.

Sincerely, Leticia, Berwyn, Illinois.

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Manager shouting at woman
A stock image of an executive yelling at his female employee in the office. A Newsweek reader is unhappy with how they are being treated at work.

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Document Every Negative Experience And Report It To HR

HR expert David Rice lives in Atlanta and is the senior editor for the “People Managing People” podcast, aimed at managers and culture creators who want to lead better.

Dear Reader, It’s unfortunate that you have to deal with someone who has this sort of attitude toward people and around their work, to say nothing of it being a manager. My advice to you would be to document any occasions in which this person is nasty toward you. Continue to document them until you reach a point that it’s distracting you from doing your job, and then file another complaint—with your documentation—to HR.

At the end of the day, ensuring a positive employee experience and cultivating an environment where everyone can do their best work falls to two groups—HR and your managers. If one group is failing, it may be a departmental or personnel issue. If both are failing, it’s more than likely a systemic issue related to poor company culture.

Document the cases, give them to HR. If nothing continues to be done, it’s most likely because the manager’s superiors view their style of working and managing as effective. Unfortunately, this problem is all too common in organizations across industries and geographies.

Sometimes, addressing the person directly in a controlled environment in an attempt to settle the matter can help. But if you don’t feel comfortable doing this, it’s unlikely to change anything. If after you exhaust all options, nothing is done and you are expected to simply deal with it, then I think the time has come for you to move on and look for an organization where you’ll be treated with decency and respect and have your work valued by people who don’t shout at you.

You Will Gain More Power By Removing Yourself From The Situation

Jenna Rogers, from Chicago, is the founder of Career Civility, a business that provides workplace communication training and consulting services.

There is nothing worse than walking into a hostile work environment on a daily basis. There are several avenues you could take in this situation. The first option is to ask yourself if it is worth it to try and improve the working relationship. The second option is to put your head down and control what you can control. And the third option is to remove yourself from the situation and start looking elsewhere for different job opportunities.

Each option requires a lot of work. It’s up to you to decide where you want to spend your energy. If you choose to stay and want to remedy the situation, start adding de-escalation tactics when you need to communicate with this individual. For example, next time the manager yells at you, you could try to de-escalate the situation by communicating: “It was not my intent to make you upset.” Then transition to share what you are working on to keep the interaction productive.

And if you decide to remove yourself from the situation altogether, more power to you for deciding to find a job where disrespect and toxicity are not the norm. We spend too much of our time at work to be uncomfortable and unsafe. Do what is best for you!

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