My manager is an interrupter. In every conversation, every meeting, and every interaction she speaks over the other people in the room. On days when she's in a good mood, this takes the form of her words simply flowing right over the others in the conversation. In circumstances when she's not in a good mood, she uses words and volume to verbally steamroll the other voices -- opposing or not.

In a meeting with my directs last week, in which I was giving instructions to my people, she usurped the conversation by brute force and began giving her own -- conflicting -- instructions. I approached her privately and explained that the conflicting instructions were confusing to the group and said I needed to proceed with the project in the order in which I had planned.

What ensued was a verbal dressing-down, the likes of which I have never experienced. Besides the content of her tirade, which was somewhat off-the-wall for a good manager, but not relevant to this particular post, she raised her volume and spoke over me each time I began to respond to her comments. At one point, I asked her to please let me finish and I was told sharply, "No, I'm speaking here."

What tack should I take with the chronic interrupting? Professionally, I feel my manager is not hearing me at all. I feel powerless and controlled. Personally, her behavior is becoming intensely frustrating and I dread speaking with her. And how do I handle the critical fact that my directs are getting unreliable information from my boss?

HMac's picture

Do you have any peers who appear to be more successful with this manager? I'm grasping for things here, because the only answer may be to find another manager!

I had a manager once who was a "drill instructor" - he was great when I was brand new and knew nothing, but he couldn't adjust his style once I become more competent in my role (not just for me, but this was his approach with everyone). As a result, there was lots of turnover in his shop: some fled immediately, others got fed up. I was one of the latter: I learned everything I could from him, realized I couldn't "change him" and moved on.

What's the turnover like under your manager?

maddy's picture

No one else seems to fare any better with her, but they seem to be able to roll with it better than I do.

You're right, HMacNiven, turnover is a huge red flag in this company. Employees who stay more than six months are considered long-term.

There is a well-known anecdote bandied about the office about the person who had this position before me... he quit after four weeks in the job, he simply got up from his desk one morning and left.

HMac's picture

Then no matter what else you might do, make sure you're networking, that you have your resume in excellent condition, and that you're showing up to work every day with a positive "achievement oriented" mindset - because in the long run, what will matter most for you is a record of achievement.

Also, see if you can learn how people are rolling better with it (but don't fall into the trap of gossiping with others about how bad/difficult the manager is!).

And, look around for other opportunities within your company - if they exist. If everything you say is true (and I don't mean to question it, it's just that I'm not there..), then this manager is known to be difficult, and there won't be a lot of questioning about why you'd like to move.

But remember: act professionally, work for quanitfiable and verifiable achievements, look for ways to make your current lot less stressfull, while doing everything you can to be exposed to other opportunities. Rise to the challenge!

TomW's picture
Training Badge

I'd start looking. She sounds like a terrible person to work for.

US41's picture

You have no options available to you other than to put up with it or leave. I recommend that you polish up your resume, review your interviewing skills, and prepare a transition package.

Do not repeat your insubordinate behavior again with her by attempting to correct her or give feedback. You want to leave on your terms, not hers.

jhack's picture

US41 and Tom are right. You can do better.


AManagerTool's picture


The "dressing down" days are over. Fire her by finding a new job and quitting professionally.

iann22's picture

I would agree with everything in the chain before this post: Move.

To modify a phrase often heard on the MT podcasts "If you're looking for somewhere to make a change, then look in concentric circles around your own desk".

Or continuing thinking "who moved my cheese". :wink:

And Good Luck.