What to do if your boss is a bully
May 13, 2019-
The clocks have gone forward and spring has officially sprung. For many people, a change in season means making a fresh start in their careers, particularly if they are struggling to cope with a difficult boss or poor management. But should people leave perfectly good jobs just because they have a manager who isn’t performing?Bullying bosses are very different from those who are simply challenging or hard to work with, and it can be a depressing and isolating experience. It is also quite common: according to a recent survey by CIPD, 91percent of employees believe their organisation doesn’t deal with bullying at work adequately. If you have a boss who treats you unfairly and makes your time at work difficult but don’t want to leave, there are a number of things you can do to try and tackle the problem.
Speak with a mentor or impartial third party
When you joined the company, you may have been assigned a mentor, the idea being that they would settle you into your new work environment and act as someone to talk to outside of your team about any issues. By confiding in them you may find they have experienced something similar and may be able to offer you practical advice.
Often your mentor or trusted colleague can help make the necessary interventions that you find too difficult to tackle yourself. It’s important that the person you confide in is reasonably far removed from the situation, as their impartiality will help ensure the problems are addressed without any perceived bias.
Speak with your boss
While this might feel impossible if emotions are running high, or if you feel intimidated, try to speak directly with your boss. Sometimes people are completely unaware of how their behaviour affects others and may not be trying to cause upset.
Have a frank and sensible conversation, explaining the impact it is having on your health and your work. You may find that fighting back improves your situation. Research published this month by the Ohio State University showed that employees who fought back against their boss experienced less psychological distress than those who did not and more commitment to their employer.
However, if you decide to go down this route, be prepared. Rather than just present a problem, come armed with solutions about how you can both work better together and improve the situation for everyone concerned. Also consider what pressures he or she might be under. Quite often there are reasons why bosses behave in a certain way and showing understanding can help to either diffuse or resolve situations.
Speak to HR
If these options don’t work, you may need to speak with human resources and make a formal complaint. This route can sometimes be necessary if the situation has escalated and you are really suffering, although approaching HR may feel daunting as it formalises the process.
Remember that there may be other people experiencing this problem who are too afraid to speak out.
By taking a stand you are not behaving unprofessionally: you are simply taking steps to tackle an issue that is no doubt affecting others too. Tensions within a team do not make for a productive work environment.
Don’t lose your self-confidence
This might be easier said than done, as bullying will inevitably undermine the victim’s self-confidence. If you are experiencing a bullying boss, you might be questioning your value to the company and feel like you’re not an important member. Take some time to look back over positive feedback from other clients or colleagues, and reflect on projects where you have done really well. This will help you reconnect with the reasons why the job is important to you.
We spend the majority of our time at work, so feeling happy and valued there is hugely important. It is difficult to enjoy your time off if you’re dreading that Monday morning alarm and worrying what the week ahead might bring. While dealing with a challenging manager and being bullied are two different things, both can be addressed by speaking up and trying to constructively manage the situation. If it means you’re able to enjoy coming to work again and feel positive about your job, it’s worth it.
— © 2019 The Guardian
Published: 13-05-2019 10:00