How do I deal with a boss who constantly ‘shoots the messenger’?

Everyone is afraid to bring bad news to the boss because he reacts poorly. If we don’t tell him and he finds out, he gets just as angry. How do you handle a boss like that?

First, I want to make sure that you are reading his reactions correctly. If you are bringing him problems that should be dealt with beneath his level, or if escalating problems that require his attention but you’re not bringing any suggested solutions, then he has a right to express frustration. However, if that’s the case, he should be giving you feedback so you know what’s expected of you. If he just takes bad news badly even if you follow good “managing your boss” conduct, ask him privately how he would like these situations to be handled so that he isn’t shooting the messenger, which only makes people reluctant to escalate important business issues in a timely manner. If he still reacts poorly, well, you likely have a jerk for a boss and you’ve got to make a decision.

I was orally offered the perfect job. I followed up via three e-mails, but have not heard back. I reached out to the person who I’d be working for and he hasn’t responded either. Finally, I contacted the supervisor, and she hasn’t replied. It has been well over a month and I am so upset. Is there any recourse?

Gregory Giangrande is a chief human resources and communications officer in the media industry. Email your career questions to [email protected] Follow Greg on Twitter: @greggiangrande. His “Go to Greg” podcast series is available on iTunes.

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