A boss that talks down to you can be a real problem. Not only does it impact your personal confidence and mindset, but it can be embarrassing and detrimental to the entire workplace’s performance. However, in a situation like this dealing with the “attitude” can be sticky since the person whose behavior you are criticizing is also your boss. Fortunately, with a little bit of diplomacy you can at a minimum begin to deal with your condescending boss and hopefully eventually alter his or her behavior.
For starters, change any behaviors that might lead someone to speak down to you. This does not mean that you deserve the treatment that you are getting, but you may be acting in a way that encourages your boss to behave this way. Speak in direct, clear sentences and avoid excessive laughter, false modesty and indirect demands for reassurance. Upping your visible confidence quotient will often alter your employer’s behavior without your ever having to address the problem directly.
Next, monitor your boss’ behavior around others. Does he (or she) treat everyone this way? Only one gender? Only one position within the company? Only certain personality types? If you can identify a source of the behavior then it may be possible to adjust your own attitudes so that the behavior stops on its own. Again, this does not mean that it is your fault that your employer is being a jerk. It is simply a way to deal with the “jerkiness” without necessarily having to confront it head-on.
Finally, you may need to simply address the matter directly. Have a private meeting with your employer in order to do this. Do not lose your temper publicly or call them out in front of a lot of people. Simply request a meeting and discuss your problem in a calm, clear manner. Clearly identify the issue – simply saying that they are “talking down” to you is not enough since they may be unaware – and be prepared to cite multiple, specific examples. Be prepared that your boss may be embarrassed and offended. Be ready to accept an apology gracefully and then move on. By preparing appropriately and addressing your concerns professionally, you will be able to deal with your condescending boss one way or another!