What To Do If Your Boss Disrespects You? A Step-By-Step Guide

by Corey Philip
September 23, 2021

Working at a job requires many skill sets. Even for jobs that only require entry-level skills, skill sets must be learned and perfected. Some skills are specific to the job that you are working and some are universal skills that can be applied to any job that you may work.

One skill set that applies to every job is treating others with respect. Although, not every person treats others with respect, which can make it difficult for the one who is being disrespected. It is difficult if a peer is disrespecting you at work, but it can be very difficult to work in an environment where a boss is disrespecting you.

To answer the question, “What to do if your boss is disrespecting you?”, here is what you can do:

If your boss is disrespecting you, one of the best steps you can do is to take an assessment of the situation. If the situation is reportable, speak with their manager, the HR department, or in situations when you are in danger, you should contact the local police. If you are safe in the situation, try asking them to meet and voice your displeasure, as it may be a misunderstanding on their end.

Every situation calls for a different response to be taken if you are being disrespected. It is important to take care of yourself and if you are ever in an unsafe situation, or you do not feel comfortable where you are, take the needed steps to get safe.

Steps to Take if your Boss Disrespects You

Along with that disclaimer, here are some steps that you can take if your boss disrespects you. Every situation is different, so it is important to assess your situation and make a plan that best works for you.

Step 1: Complete a Situational Assessment

Before beginning any type of action, it is helpful to assess your situation to figure out what are the best steps that you can take. This can be done quickly or slowly and this very much depends on the urgency of your situation. Even if you suddenly leave a job because your boss disrespects you in a manner that warrants that decision, assessing the decision in your head as thoroughly as possible can be a major service to you.

 Here are some ways that you assess your situation:
  • Conduct a pros and cons list of working for a boss who disrespects you
  • Talk to a therapist about your boss
  • Talk to friends and family members about your boss
  • Write in a journal about your boss
  • Take some time for yourself, breathe deeply, and think about the situation at hand

Step 2: Develop a Plan

Now that you have taken the time to assess your situation, it is now time to develop a plan to move forward. If you do not develop a plan, then you will continue to be in the same situation that you are in right now. Having a plan in place gives you a structured way to make changes in your life.

The plan that you have should be recorded. Even if it is just a rough draft of sorts, having the plan mapped out will bring the plan to a greater understanding. It may be beneficial to think through the plan in your head, but unless the plan is recorded in some way, it is just an assessment.

For those who prefer to only think about their plan, my suggestion would be to say the plan out loud and use your phone to record your plan. Technology is extremely beneficial and you can either do a voice recording or use voice to text and it will annotate your speech.

Here are some suggestions of ways you can record your plan:

  • Pen and paper
  • Phone notes
  • Computer
  • Voice recording

Having your plan recorded in some manner is going to give you confidence in whatever decision that you make. Without a recorded plan, it is easier to lose confidence in your decision, forget the plan, or forgo the plan upon which you decided.

Step 3: Assess the Plan

Now that you have developed your plan, it is time to go through another set of assessments. Once you have a plan, it can be tempting to move full speed ahead on your plan. Although, you want to avoid any biases or extra emotions to cloud your decision. The last thing you want to do is make a hasty decision without thorough thought.

This step will give you one more chance to think through your planned decision. If you have followed the previous steps, this step may go quickly or take additional time. But, it is an important step in the process. The biggest point in step is for you to assess differently than how you created the plan. The way to assess differently than how you created the plan is to use a different input than you originally used. For example, if you developed a plan by writing out the pros and cons, ask another person to review it. If you were directed on the plan by another person, take the time to review it yourself.

This additional way that you choose to assess your plan will assure that your plan is the least biased and emotionally charged as possible. Knowing that you have a thoughtful plan will give you confidence and will give you the best chance to show your boss that you thought through your decision.

Step 4: Plan Execution

Now is the time that you have been planning for. Here is when you will take what has been a plan all this time and make it actionable. In the case of your boss that is disrespectful to you, here is a list of plans that you can set into motion and why they may be beneficial for you to do so.

  • Talk with your boss - This is one of the most common steps you can take when your boss is disrespecting you. Oftentimes, there is a difference in the way that people communicate and your boss may not be aware that their actions are disrespectful to you. It can be helpful to give your boss the benefit of the doubt. Having this conversation with your boss may be very beneficial because it will allow them to learn about you and what you prefer. If you do not have this conversation with them, then they may never learn how you prefer to be treated.
  • Talk with their boss or HR - This can be beneficial if you see instances that your boss is purposeful in their disrespect towards you. Every person at a job deserves a level of respect, but unfortunately, not everyone is given that respect. Sometimes, talking with your boss is not going to make the situation better, when in fact, it may make the situation worse. Especially if your boss is disrespectful in a way that is harassing, notifying their boss or HR is important because they need to be held accountable for their actions.
  • Speak with an outside authority - If a workplace is particularly toxic or dangerous, you may need to speak with authority or agency that is better equipped to deal with these issues. This authority could even include the local police department for serious issues that can happen. Unfortunately, disrespect can turn into harassment, and no person deserves to harass other people. Harassment needs to be taken seriously because it should never be welcomed in any setting, including in a professional one.
  • Quitting - Occasionally, the best decision that can be made is to move on from the company at which you work. Unfortunately, no amount of trying to change culture will be effective. One person can only do so much to make an impact on a toxic culture and your best bet is to leave.

Ultimately, you need to protect yourself first, and if a boss is disrespecting you enough, then you must make yourself a priority. There are plenty of jobs out there so it is best to think of yourself first. If the job you are at is bad enough to quit, this should be the decision that you make.

What if Your Boss Disrespects You?

Disrespect is not something that you should receive. Every person deserves respect and if a person disrespects you, there should be efforts made to put yourself in a new situation. This can apply to many different types of situations and relationships, including professional.

Unfortunately, some people treat others at work disrespectfully. It is one thing if a subordinate disrespects someone but it is another thing entirely if a boss disrespects a person they are leading. This is an action that should be avoided, especially when a boss is intentionally disrespectful.

If your boss is disrespectful, if you are in a safe position, it may be helpful to talk with your boss about it. They may be unaware that their actions are disrespectful to you and due to that conversation, they may learn to be respectful to you.

About the author

Corey Philip

Corey Philip is a small business owner / investor with a focus on home service businesses.

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