You screwed up. You lost important files, botched a major deal or generally just dropped the ball. Now you're getting your ass handed to you by your boss, who seems quite comfortable tearing you a new one in front of your colleagues.
This is a delicate dance. What you did may not be bad enough to get you fired, but how you handle it could make all the difference the next time you're up for a promotion. We got the scoop on how to take a verbal beatdown from Marilyn Puder-York, psychologist/executive coach and author of "The Office Survival Guide
."Don't Take It Personally:
Try to understand your manager's style. The smart worker hears the negative comment and tries to understand as best as he can where the boss is coming from, rather than seeing it as an attack. Remove Your Emotions:
Don't become involved in the yelling, get defensive or try to protect yourself. Instead, analyze it. In the future, you'll better be able to avoid these sort of conflicts.
How to talk to your boss afterward and retain your workplace swagger after the jump
: The most effective way to say this is short and direct: "I apologize, I made an error. I have learned from it, and it will not happen again. If there's any way I can help to make up for it, please let me know." If Possible, Wait to Respond:
If you're not at fault and you're just caught in an unfair tirade, it's better not to try and make excuses or defend yourself. Just keep a neutral tone while saying, "Okay, I hear you." After it's over, take a breather and try to sort out what happened. After a few hours or a day, go back and try to talk about it.Ask for Discretion in the Future:
Puder-York suggests going your boss and saying, "I am truly concerned that you were that upset about something I'd done. I hope not to put you in that situation again. By the same token, going forward, when you're frustrated with me, would you do me the favor of not reacting to the problem in front of my colleagues?" Unless your manager has issues, they'll probably agree to this simple request.Don't Be a Victim:
If you've been taken to the woodshed in front of your coworkers, it's important to rebound from it with confidence and not to show weakness. Everything is perception. Even if you are having anxiety attacks privately, present yourself to your peers as if it's okay and you handled it.
And while Asylum thanks Puder-York for all this important advice, we'd like to add one final suggestion ...Restrain from Using Physical Force:
As good as it would feel, it's better not to punch your boss in the face to shut him or her up. Kicking, strangling and purple nurples will also most likely get you canned and probably arrested. We learned this last lesson the hard way.