The ideal environment for a small business is one in which individuals work together seamlessly under the directives of a kind boss. The reality, of course, is often different. One of the most disruptive and destructive situations that can occur is the employment of a supervisor who engages in threatening behavior. Examples are abusive managers who shout and make menacing gestures, threaten to terminate employees and, in extreme circumstances, behave in a physically aggressive manner.

Document Incidents

It is important to keep a record of a supervisor's threatening behavior. Write down specific information regarding events of bullying and harassment when an employee reports it to you. Include the exact date and time, the location, what was said and done and the names of witness, if applicable. Be as detailed and accurate as possible as you need this information for the supervisor's employment file and perhaps, for an outside resource such as a professional counselor. CNN Money says you will also need this documentation in the event that legal action is taken.

Witness Testimonies

Gather witness testimonies regarding a manager who is abusive. A small business owner needs accounts not only from the victims of threatening behavior but also from those who have observed it in order to gain an accurate picture of events. Ask employees who allege an incident of aggressive behavior from a supervisor to give you names of those present when the incident occurred. You can then speak confidentially with each witness regarding the allegations.

Initiate Discussion

Talk with the supervisor who is accused of menacing behavior. Speak calmly as you attempt to get to the root issue. Ask the manager if he is experiencing problems on the job or in his life in general that could be causing inappropriate interactions with employees. Brainstorm with the supervisor on how he can stop the threatening behavior. Encourage him to explore help in the form of anger management classes or mental health counseling. Explain that you cannot turn a blind eye to any future events of harassment and tell him what consequences will occur should another incident occur. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports employers are automatically liable for a supervisor harassing employees so you must take action to prevent further instances.


In some cases the only alternative a small business owner has is to terminate a supervisor who behaves in a threatening manner. You must consider the safety of your employees and yourself when a manager threatens bodily harm or behaves in a physically aggressive way. An immediate firing is called for in instances in which bodily harm is threatened or committed. For example, if the supervisor pushes, slaps or otherwise engages in aggressive physical contact with another person he must be immediately dismissed and the event reported to the police.