How to deal with a bully boss

How to deal with a bully boss

It is said that you don’t leave your job, you leave your boss. But at what point does a supervisor or manager’s heavy handedness and repeated verbal abuse cross into the zone of workplace bullying?

Bullying is a crucial issue in the 21st century as more employees come out to speak boldly about unacceptable behaviour from their immediate seniors. More than 60% employees worldwide have been reported to have been physically or emotionally bullied by a supervisor at some point in their career.

Let’s first look at what even constitutes to workplace bullying.

Challenging Boss Vs. Bully Boss

Let’s get this straight. There is no fine line between a challenging or difficult boss and a straight up bully. It is one thing for a demanding boss to push their underperforming employees and a whole another to treat someone unfairly and ridicule them on a regular basis.

Everyday unwarranted non-physical aggression can take a toll on employees’ mental and physical health in turn contributing to non-performance. Being rude and aggressive, accusing of incompetence, not giving due credit and constant ridicule all constitute to bullying.

Possible Reasons for the Abuse

There are several reasons a boss may be bullying you. Poor performers are difficult to deal with and especially become victims of bullying; not to say that they should experience any of form of abuse for it. Yet, research shows that even star performers may experience some form of bullying. This may stem from the boss feeling insecure of the employee’s stellar performance threatening him and his stature.

The boss too may be subject to immense pressures from their own leaders causing them stress and anxiety. This, though, can never be an acceptable reason for bullying his own juniors.

Let’s look at some things that you can do to deal with such a manager or supervisor if you experience bullying.

1. Keeping Your Mojo Intact

Once you’ve taken a step back to evaluate your boss’ irrational behaviour, you will eventually be able to name it. It’s nothing but bullying. This may be a difficult time as you would be filled with self doubt. That is exactly what bullies do no matter the playground or the workplace. They undermine the victim’s self worth.

At this point, you need to get your spirit and self confidence back and understand that you don’t deserve the mistreatment no matter your level of performance. Do not ever compromise with your bosses behaviour as you never know what it could lead to.

2. Discussing With Other Seniors in the Company

You can always approach another manager or leader who is completely unrelated to your project or department to discuss your situation. By them not being involved in your project or work it will help the perspective to stay neutral and have a unbiased understanding of your issue. They will be able to let you know if the same has ever happened with any former employees and how your boss was dealt with previously and even help you approach more appropriate people for a solution.

3. Talking to Your Boss Directly

Although it maybe quite intimidating, talking to a bully boss is a big step for you to correctly analyse your situation. Sometimes people may not even be aware how their behaviour affects other people. If they realise the negative effect that they have had over you, they would probably try to refrain in the future. On the contrary, if your boss keeps shifting the blame on you and adding more insult to injury with a side of ridicule, you will have a confirmed bullying situation.

4. Involving Human Resources

Before you head straight to HR, you will have to arm yourself with some evidence in the form of emails, text messages and call recordings . Your boss being a senior member of the organisation and will favourably get a benefit of the doubt while their words have more value than yours. Having evidence will help to prove your concerns and leave no room for doubt about it. Once reasonably proven that your boss bullies you at the workplace on a regular basis, HR will be on your side. They can then choose to take action on the bullying manager or warn him sternly while moving you to another team where you may feel safe.

Many bosses get away with bullying as the victims generally tend to resign and give them a free pass to bully another employee. It is important to never let a manager run amock on your workplace experience.

Author’s Bio: Mary Williams is a career blogger and has written many articles on various job trends. She primarily specialises in job oppourtunities and has written numerous articles on it.


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