When Your Boss is a Bully

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There are still a number of managers out there who are bullies – they treat people in an aggressive and demeaning way – and they are making life miserable for their employees who are victims to their bullying – and what the boss might not realize – it is hurting the bottom line as well.

An acquaintance of mine, Karen, recently had to endure a two-hour berating from her boss -on the telephone – the boss hurled one accusation after another at her – without giving her an opportunity to respond to his tirade. Needless to say this made her very upset. My advice was for her to set up an appointment and go visit her boss face to face. When she did confront her boss and told him that his behaviour was unacceptable he backed right off and the relationship got back to a more professional one. My congratulations go out to her and my encouragement goes out to others in the same situation.

Bullying is really a defensive behaviour – Bullies get their power by controling others and by making the other person fearful and weak. Because they do it in such an aggressive way, they think they look strong to others. And they continue to get away with this behaviour because no one will stand up to them.

What do you recommend to those employees who have a bullying boss?

Do what Karen did – wait for an opportunity after the tirade, ask to see the boss one on one – in an assertive and professional tone – tell the boss that their behaviour towards you is unacceptable and that it cannot happen again. It might feel awkward but generally the result will be a change of behaviour because the boss has been called out for their behaviour. If there are no results then I suggest to go to the individual’s manager and tell them about the situation. You will definitely get a lot of strength from standing up.

What recommendations for the bully boss themselves?

If you are the type of boss who treats people poorly and are demanding and demeaning – realize that by instilling fear in others, you are driving down productivity and profitability. Make a decision to change your approach, accept yourself for who you are and confront the reason why you are being defensive. It will be the best Christmas present ever for the people who tolerate your behaviour.

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