How to Handle When Your Boss is a Bully
Immediately after the incident:
- Document the moment. Write down the time, date and detailed review of the incident. Make a note of any witnesses. Make sure to note the specific problem, who said what and any “aftershocks” from the original incident.
- Depending on the severity of the situation, wait a couple of days and re-examine the incident. Sometimes situations look different in the light of a new day. Perhaps you might find that the situation was not as dire as you first thought. It’s possible you were having a bad day and may have overreacted to the situation. If you had a difficult morning at home, the bad feeling may have continued once you got to work. A bad start to your day may result in your taking offense at situations you would ordinarily laugh off or ignore. Examining the conversation a few days later will help put the incident into the proper perspective.
If you truly feel that your boss was out of line:
Follow protocol! Most companies have harassment and retaliation policies. Make sure that you are following proper protocol and procedures on how to make a complaint or file a grievance.
While most companies have a protocol policy, it does require that you begin the conversation with your immediate supervisor unless there is a compelling reason why you don’t want to.
- If you’re not sure how to start the conversation with your boss, just remember to keep in professional and non-accusatory.
“I noticed that you have seemed unhappy with me recently. I wanted to talk to you about it. Is there something in my work that needs to be improved?”
If your boss tells you that your work performance has slipped, don’t fly off the handle. Make sure that you keep the conversation skill-focused and work-related. Do not launch into a long story blaming your co-workers or start sharing the intimate details of your home life. Work with your boss to put together an action plan for performance. Make sure you get it in writing. You will need this later as proof of improvement.
If you’re not comfortable talking to your boss because he is the bully, go to the next level. You need to be aware, however, the situation may call for an investigation and your immediate boss will learn of any allegations you make. Once you have reported the incidents, make sure that you continue to do your best work.
When your boss is a bully, it’s easy to turn the situation into a drama filled with tears. It may even be tempting to paint yourself as a victim, instead, follow proper procedures to bring the situation to a conclusion.
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You Should Also Read:
Dealing With Verbal Abuse in the Workplace
Harassment in the Workplace
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