Dealing with a Bullying Boss
Many workers, at some point or another during their careers, work under a boss that comes off as overly aggressive or unreasonable in his or her expectations. In fact, recent studies have indicated that over one-third of employees have experienced a manager exhibiting bullying behavior. An additional 15 percent are reported to have witnessed a manager bullying an employee.
Recognizing that your boss or manager is a bully is the first step in dealing with the problem. A big obstacle preventing the resolution of the bullying dilemma is employees excusing the manager’s behavior on some grounds or blaming themselves for the aggressive backlash that they receive. It is important to understand that no individual is the cause of any bullying behavior as it stems from the psychology of the bully.
Once you’ve accepted that your boss is a bully and that it may be beyond your power to change it is time to rein in your own emotions. Receiving constant pressure from an unreasonable boss can create a lot of strain on your own psyche and may begin to affect your self-esteem. If you begin feeling undervalued due to workplace abuse it is important to find outside projects away from your boss that remind you of your own value and can give you the confidence to broach the issue with your boss.
After dealing with the initial emotional issues inherent with problems such as this it is time to build of your case before facing your boss down. One of the easiest ways to keep track of incidences is to write them down in a journal. You can also ask your coworkers if they’ve experienced problems with your boss and record those incidences as well. Once you’ve built a comprehensive understanding of the situation it is time to present the problem to the boss. But it is critical to keep your cool and introduce the case in measured tones and with a calm demeanor.
Unless you are utterly unable to approach your boss due to a strained relationship, its best to first confront your boss to let him or her know that you have a problem with the way you are being treated. After the encounter, document the details of the meeting in your notes. This may resolve the issue as your boss may have been genuinely unaware of how his or her behavior was being perceived or of the stress those actions were causing among subordinates. If the results of the meeting are less than hoped for it is probably time to present your case to someone higher up the corporate ladder.
Since a lot of bullies completely change their personality around authority figures, it may not be the best choice to go to an immediate supervisor since that person probably has a contrary experience with what you are used to. Human resources may also not be the ideal place to go since the job of HR is often to protect the interests of the company above all else. The best choice may be to approach the highest-ranking official willing to hear you out. This could be a senior manager all the way up to the president of the company, preferably someone who has had limited contact with them and can approach the situation with an open mind.