Get advice on how to deal with jerks at work Check out the book 'Jerks At Work' and other titles by Ken Lloyd Ph.D. Return to the homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.

You asked, Ken answers ...

This item is filed under these categories:
Communication Feedback Power Plays and Players Public Reprimands Meetings Condescending Treatment Insults Nastiness

I asked my manager a question during a meeting, and she said I should know the answer to something as simple as that. I didn't think it was a simple question, and I did not like being put down in front of everyone. I still feel embarrassed and angry. If I go to her, I think she'll give me an even harder time, so how do I deal with this?

Some managers operate by the philosophy that there is no such thing as a bad question, while your manager's approach is to make those who ask questions feel bad. There is no excuse for her behavior, as it builds ill will, animosity, and distrust.

If your manager did not believe that your question was appropriate, it is only professional to answer it during the meeting, and then discuss her concerns with you in private afterwards. Even if a question during a meeting is not on target, it can still serve to keep the communication lines open and lead to other important topics.

When questions are stifled during a meeting, a point will ultimately arrive when no questions are asked. Your manager can then assume that everyone is in sync, while communication is actually grinding to a halt.

You will feel better by talking about the incident with some of your fellow employees who were in attendance. In addition, no matter how your manager feels about questions, there's little question that it would be helpful if you and some of your associates were to meet with her as a group to talk about communication and the ways to improve it.

Comment on this item

Your name (optional)
If you leave this blank, we'll list you as "Website visitor"

Your comments
Please keep your comments focused on the topic. Thanks!