work

Have you been shouted at by your CEO?

The combination of being in lockdown due to COVID, going for frequent walks to get some exercise and either giving talks or being interviewed about my career has led me to start remembering particular events and situations that have reoccurred during my career.

The type of situation that came to mind on my walk today was “Being shouted at by the CEO”. The situations were, on each occasion, when I was working hard to be useful to the organisation in question and had done absolutely nothing wrong.

These situations all occurred in board meetings and all some years ago. In one instance I was suggesting that it would be useful to have a breakdown of membership data by gender so that we could look at progression of women through the organisation suggesting that if we had that information it would be easy to target specific interventions to improve progression overall. The subject of the discussion at the time was “How can we improve progression?”

The CEO in this case shouted at me something that was extremely offensive so I’ll not repeat it here. There were about 30 people in the meeting. I can’t remember exactly what happened after his outburst as I was so shocked and traumatised by his outburst.

The second incident occurred at a different organisation when I reported back on some really great feedback I’d ascertained from an external expert which gave lots of ideas on how to improve our web and social media presence. I’ve still got no idea why the CEO went ballistic at me for the ideas I spoke about. He completely erupted in the meeting in response to my feedback. Again I can’t remember what happened straight afterwards because I was so traumatised and in shock. He later apologised quietly to me in a coffee break. I accepted his apology.

The third incident happened at a university exam board. The chair of the meeting, my boss’s boss started shouting at me after I presented my report for the module that I’d taught that year. There had been some issues with the module, I can’t remember what they were, but I’d managed to sort them out. I’d met up with the external examiner before the exam board to explain what I had done and why, and they were happy with it.

So I presented my module report, then said that I’d spoken to the external examiner and that they were happy with what I had done. The chair of the board then shouted at me that the external had agreed because I had “charmed” them, and that I was good at charming people and blah blah rant rant. Again I was so shocked I didn’t know what to say. The external examiner then came to my defence repeating that they were completely happy with what I had done.

3 traumatising instances from my career, I still don’t really know why they happened.

I can’t be alone. Have you had similar experiences? If so how did you deal with them?

What exactly was going on? Bullying? Misogyny? If you gave some insights id love to know.

Also what is the best thing to do in these type of situations ? 🤷🏽‍♀️ if you have advice it would be great to hear it.

Thanks for reading my post, please share if you have found it valuable 🙏🏾🤩