7 ways to deal with your bullying boss

by Alison Bryant




Bullying in the workplace has serious consequences and is poor for morale

Do you need to know some ways to deal with a bullying boss? It’s bad enough when you have difficult co-workers, but when your boss is the one who’s picking on you it can really make your working life a misery. But these ways to deal with a bullying boss may help …


One of the ways to deal with a bullying boss is to confront them about their behavior. Some may genuinely not realise what upset they are causing (although that is still not excusable). But either way they should be told that you are unhappy with the way they are treating you and that it is not acceptable. You should also clarify what you are not prepared to tolerate.


However angry or upset your boss’s behavior makes you, try to stay calm. It will not help your case if you fly off the handle and hit out verbally at them. It’s not unknown for bullies to want to provoke a reaction, and getting angry may just provide them with an excuse to get rid of you. You need to remain calm whatever the provocation.


Keeping a diary may come in very handy if you make a formal complaint or report the bullying to your boss’s senior. Record every incident as soon as it happens, and how it makes you feel. This will then provide written evidence and show a record of your boss’s behavior over time.


Bullying in the workplace has serious consequences and is poor for morale. So explain to your boss how their behavior makes you feel and its effect on your work. If they care about the workplace they should see that picking on you is not going to help you produce your best work. It will certainly not help their career if you make a formal complaint …


Bullies may have more than one victim, so try to establish who else is being picked on by your boss. If you decide to make a complaint it will carry more weight if the grievance is presented by more than one of you. One person complaining may be seen as difficult to prove, whereas two or more people telling the same story is more plausible.


If you are not a very assertive person it can be very difficult to know how to respond when someone is picking on you. One answer can be to work out some strategies in advance that you can use when your boss starts on you. For example, say ‘If you have a problem please talk to me in private about it,’ or point out that it needs more people to finish a project in time.


If speaking to your boss doesn’t solve the problem, take it further. Depending on your organisation, this may mean speaking to a senior person, Human Resources or your union. This does not necessarily mean escalating to a formal complaint; simply making them aware of the problem may be sufficient. But they should – hopefully – support you.


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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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