The Sting Of A Harsh Word

525307_killer_wasp (1) Your boss or supervisor is not in a good mood today and you found out unexpectedly by just asking a simple question.  Ouch!  Their sharp response can hurt especially if they snap their answer and are disrespectful.  What do you do?

Do you just go back to your desk feeling hurt, dejected, and angry?  No, you need to find out what is going on, but how?  You certainly do not want to put yourself in a position where you might get bitten again, so what is the best plan of action? Here are five things you can do to make the situation better for you and possibly your boss.

1. Be nice. This sounds simple but if you have just been “stung” by your boss it might not be.  The first important fact to realize is “you have not done anything to deserve this response” so there must be something else that is going on.  So just be nice, do not react to their sting, something is wrong in their world and you need to find if it involves you.

2. Ask them if there is anything that you have done to upset them.  By asking this simple question you not only are making them stop to examine what they have said, but also how they are behaving.

3. Listen to what they have to say.  They may be short with their answer and make flipped remarks, but you need to be able to read between the lines to figure out if you are the cause of their behavior.  This is usually pretty easy to discern, if they do not say something that actually concerns something that you did.

4. Once you realize that there is something else going on that you are not the focal point of, than practice “simple acts of kindness” to them, realizing that this happens to every person that has ever been created and it may be you tomorrow.

5. Smile and make sure that you do not wear their mood on your shoulder.  Bad moods do have the tendency to be able to jump from one person to another, especially in the office setting.  Keep your guard up and don’t let this happen to you or your teammates.

Go on with your day as planned doing the best that you can under the circumstances, knowing that tomorrow you may be the one who is in a bad mood and you would want people who you work with to understand and work with you.

“There is no eye strain from looking at the bright side of things” ~Unknown


6 thoughts on “The Sting Of A Harsh Word

  1. Hello Tina,

    Great post and advice. We need to have an awareness of others and sometimes make adjustments. But we do need to challenge harsh words; just choose your timing wisely.

    Your post reminds me of a time many years ago when my manager was very short with me. At the time he was dealing with something urgent and sensitive that had just kicked off.

    Nonetheless, his behaviour toward me was unacceptable. But that moment wasn’t the right time to take issue so I waited until things calmed down. A day later the matter was discussed and I received an apology. Ultimately this had a positive impact on our relationship.

    As ever,


    • Hi Martin, you are so correct. Choosing the right time to address the issue is as important at how we address it. Many times people say things because they are in the middle of something of a crisis and do not realize how they came across. But addressing will allow for the air to be cleared.

      Have a great Thursday!


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