Curb your boss's anger

Curb your boss's anger

Dec 01, 2005

Q. The veterinarian I work for has anger-control problems. He can be verbally abusive to staff members and sometimes clients. What can I do?

Dr. W. Bradford Swift
If this is affecting client and staff retention, you need to find a way to show the veterinarian the true costs of his behavior, says W. Bradford Swift, DVM, business coach and founder of the Life on Purpose Institute in Flat Rock, N.C. Until the doctor recognizes that there's a problem and what that problem costs him and the practice, there's little anyone can do to remedy the situation, Dr. Swift says.

"Your best bet is a team intervention—but make sure the veterinarian doesn't think you're ganging up on him," Dr. Swift says. Here's the catch-22: With anger-control problems, pointing out the problem can lead to an angry outburst, which is what often keeps people from solving the issue.

"Communicate caring and concern when you approach the doctor," Dr. Swift says. "He won't hear your point if he doesn't feel safe and respected during the discussion." If you're successful at getting the doctor to recognize the problem, he can get professional assistance to correct or manage his anger.