Organizational Leadership Development Florida – EI Leadership
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Is Your Boss a Bully?

If you’ve ever been in a situation where your boss, supervisor or manager was bullying you, you are not alone.

Statistics show that nearly one fifth of employees in the United Stated are a target of workplace bullying, and about 19% of employees witness these acts directly.

How do you know if you’re being bullied, and you have more than a “tough” boss? 

Here are some signs:

  1. They humiliate you in public
  2. They withhold important information or give you misleading information
  3. They call you names
  4. They yell or raise their voice
  5. They blame you when things go wrong
  6. If you cross them, they attempt to get you back
  7. They take your best ideas and pass them off as their own

In this extremely challenging situation, it’s important to tread carefully. Here are some steps on combating the situation:

1. Assess the situation

2. Realize that no matter how much you want to do a good job, they will probably impede you in any way they can. Consider whether their actions are keeping you from doing your job effectively, and how this affect you physically, emotionally and psychologically?

Once you’ve established these considerations, it’s time to make a choice.

You can stay and put up with it or leave to find a better work environment. But sometimes you can’t make that decision until you’ve tried to deal with it.

Here are suggestions:

  1. Have a conversation with your boss. Let them know how this behavior impacts your ability to do your job.
  2. Keep your emotions out of the discussion. If necessary, bring in a third party who is objective. Work to come to an agreement about communication going forward.

If this discussion goes nowhere, it’s time to go above their head and report the situation to human resources. Make sure you have documented reports of when, how and what has been done to support your claims.

At this point, you must wait and see if this situation improves. I would strongly recommend updating your resume and looking for another job.

The behavior may improve. Taking action by looking for a job will strengthen your confidence in your skills and value.

Bullies come in all shapes and sizes and show up at all levels of the corporate hierarchy. Even though it is happening to you, it is not personal. Meaning, you are not causing the bully to act this way. They may insinuate that or try to blame you, and this is part of their tactic to hold power over you. The bully’s problem is all theirs. You did not cause it and you cannot cure it.

Think of this experience as an opportunity to develop the confidence you need in your skills and leadership ability, so you can find an environment and boss that is supportive.

About the Author Cynthia Howard RN, CNC, PhD

Performance Consultant. Unleashing potential in leaders and organizations through innovative performance development.