At times we have to work together, there is a fair amount of brainstorming and coding involved. They have a habit of swearing(real bad words in native language) on the work they do. Although I have been tolerating it for quite a while things are going out of control now. Just the other day when I spoke up with a suggestion (which they disagreed), I was immediately snapped at and called an idiot, I still tried to press on that but things went to a yell. I stayed calm though.

Also this is turing into mockery (I am not fully sure about their intention though), today, we had coded a bug fix and there was some error left, I immediately told them to make the changes at A and B. One of our colleagues was standing nearby and they make a laugh at me saying, go ahead and ask me to change everything, next I can do your personal errands.

They either did that to show off to that colleague that they do all the work or to insult me, I am not very sure as it confused me.

The question really is, how to ask them to stop all this without being rude about it?

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    Similar, but not the same - workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/13632/…
    – David K
    Jul 2, 2015 at 19:05
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    The title does not quite match the content. I've had a manager who swore a lot, but listened to my ideas, considered them carefully, and never belittled me. That seemed far more acceptable to me than calling someone an idiot. Jul 2, 2015 at 19:25
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    To clarify, when you say you told your Boss to make changes to A and B, is it that you coded the fix and needed him to apply it? And when you said it did you really "tell" him to do it, or were you just letting him know that you were done/that the changes needed to be made?
    – zfrisch
    Jul 2, 2015 at 21:33
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    If they don't stop I would just leave the room and drink a coffee. If it continues I would look for another job.
    – user71715
    Dec 2, 2017 at 11:28
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3 Answers 3


If your manager yells at you and you don't like that, quietly say

Please, don't yell at me. We're in a workplace. I don't think it's necessary to yell at each other.

You can do this either at the very first yell, or later when everything has calmed back down again. Similarly, if your manager calls you an idiot, you can ask

Please, don't call me names. We can disagree and you can tell me I'm wrong without calling me a name.

If your manager swears in general (at computers, at themselves, at someone who has just sent an email) and it offends you, you may not be able to do anything about that if it's culturally acceptable in your workplace. If your manager swears directly at you, it is similar to calling you an idiot and can be handled the same way. Perhaps

When you intensify your requests to me with swearwords, like "make the F***ing change already!" it upsets me and actually slows me down. Please try not to swear at me.

Your last example though, that you gave this person a very direct order to fix something, is a little different. If this person is really your manager, you can't order them around and especially not with someone else nearby. A better way to word it would have been to use a less direct structure, something like

That will need changes to be made at A and B. Would you like me to do that or are you taking care of it?

or, if the manager had already indicated they were doing it and you just felt like passing on the information about A and B:

I know that will mean changes at A and B. Right?

If you want your manager to be more polite to you, one of the things you need to do is be more polite to them. Different people define politeness differently: you don't like yelling and swearing, and your manager doesn't like being ordered around, at least not by you. So give what you want to get, in this case politeness, and in addition be polite, calm, and specific when asking for what you want, which is to be spoken to in a different way than your manager is choosing today.

  • Thanks,will tell them directly and from now on frame my words more carefully. The swearing at email made me remember another incident. Our project is also linked with another team, so at times this other team's manager also asks me how things are going on. One day when we three were at the team leads office, this other manager directly tells the lead that I am not giving my 100% to the task and I should work harder. Then when I confronted this to my manager he called this manager B names and told me all sort of bad things about them. But I feel its my manager who falsified them.
    – user1502
    Jul 3, 2015 at 3:35
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    @user1502 Sounds like a more deeply rooted conflict is going on, and you're partly in the middle of it. Jul 3, 2015 at 9:54
  • @user1502 Based on your comment, it also sounds like it might be a company culture thing, but we can't be sure without more examples. If you see this occur among other managers outside of your team, there may be nothing you can do except find a company with a less toxic culture
    – zr00
    Aug 6, 2019 at 13:49

See the situation and remember past experiences, has he always done/said things to make you feel smaller? has he done/said things to you that he hasn't done/said to others? if the answer is YES, probably that means that he does not respect you as a person and for some unknown reason he does not like you and wants the worst for you (trust me, those kind of maniacs do exist). If that is the case, never be un-respectful to him EVEN if he is to you, because he will use it against you and try to turn others that are on your side against you. Instead, try and get more people on your side by using his curses and screamings. E.G. After he is done raging go to a colleague and say something like: "I do not understand why he has to get all crazy like that, doesn't it bother you?" (which it probably does), they people will start siding with you and when you have enough people on your side, go to HR and raise a complaint against him, do not bring up any colleague names or you will end up like a "rat".

If there are people that straight hate you for no reason, there is NOTHING you can do to make them like you. You could save his life and would still hate you, so there is no point on trying to look good for him or try to work harder, etc... just plain out ignore him and remember, the second you sink to his level and start yelling at him too, he wins.


I fully agree with @KateGregory 's answer which covers your question quite thoroughly - I just want to provide another perspective to this toxic workplace situation in case it doesn't get resolved to your liking and you consider leaving:

IANAL, but depending on the country and your local laws (you might want to add a country/location tag for clarification), swearing and calling someone names (especially in front of other people/public) can be seen as 'honorable insult' in front of a court. In AUT for example we have a pragraph for that (§ 115 StGB). Such laws exist in most european countries.

Here's a rough translation of § 115 StGB

(1) Anyone who publicly or in front of several people abused, ridiculed, maltreated or threatened with physical abuse in public or in front of several people is, if he is not threatened with another provision of more severe punishment, imprisonment up to three months or fine up to 180 To punish daily rates.

(2) An act is committed in front of several people if it is committed in the presence of more than two perpetrators and attacked by different people and they can be perceived.

(3) Anyone who gets carried away by indignation at someone else's behavior, insulting, taunting, maltreating or maltreating him in a way that is excusable, is excused if his indignation, especially in regard to his time elapsed, is generally comprehensible.

This should be definitly the last resort - but since your manager is insulting and verbally abusing you ("..I was immediately snapped at and called an idiot") you might have a strong case here in front of a judge..

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