What to do when your boss reprimands you in front of others

Estimated reading time: 3 mins

When your boss reprimands you in front of others, it can be a humiliating and embarrassing experience. It can feel like your boss is publicly shaming you for something that might have gone wrong or for a mistake you made. It’s important to handle the situation with grace and self-control and to remember that getting angry or defensive will only make matters worse. Here are some tips on what to do when your boss reprimands you in front of others.

First, take a deep breath and stay calm. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. It’s natural to feel embarrassed and resentful, but allowing yourself to lose your temper will not help the situation at all. Instead, remain composed even if it feels difficult to do so in the moment, as this will demonstrate maturity and professionalism on your part.

Second, listen carefully to what is being said by your boss and any other colleagues who are present during the reprimand. Pay attention not only to what they say but also how they say it – their body language may reveal additional information about why they are frustrated with you or what corrective action needs to be taken going forward. Make sure that you fully understand their expectations before saying anything else in response, as this will ensure that any potential misunderstandings can be addressed quickly and efficiently while avoiding further conflict down the line.

Third, apologize if appropriate – don’t make excuses for any mistakes or errors that may have been made on your part as this will likely come across as insincere or unprofessional. A simple but sincere apology should suffice – admitting fault does not mean taking full blame for whatever went wrong; it simply means acknowledging the mistake without making excuses for it or trying to shift responsibility elsewhere (such as onto someone else).

Fourth, offer solutions if possible instead of just apologizing – this shows initiative on your part and demonstrates that you understand how serious the problem is while still being willing contribute productively towards finding a solution together with everyone involved in resolving it (including yourself). If applicable, suggest specific steps which could be taken in order to improve future performance; however make sure these suggestions are realistic given existing resources/time constraints etc., so they don’t seem too far-fetched or out of reach for everyone involved in implementing them (including yourself).

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Finally, follow up after the reprimand has taken place by sending an email summarizing what was discussed during the meeting including any relevant details pertaining to corrective measures which need to be implemented going forward; this helps ensure that everyone involved has access/remembers all necessary information pertaining both parties’ responsibilities regarding resolving/preventing similar issues from happening again later on down the line (if applicable). Additionally following up provides an opportunity for additional dialogue between both parties about possible solutions if needed; although try not too let personal feelings interfere with professional communication during such conversations so that progress can continue being made without further conflict arising between those involved in resolving whatever issue caused the original reprimand from taking place in first place.


Dansky KH & Hickman LJ (2018) How Employees Can Respond Effectively When Reprimanded by Their Supervisor: A Qualitative Study Exploring Insights from Experienced Leaders

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