You’ve just started a great job, but you find yourself dealing with a bully boss. What do you do? You don’t want to lose the job, but you deserve to be treated better. Don’t worry. You’re not powerless. Learn how to deal with this type of boss and get the respect you deserve.
Realize It’s Not You
The first step is to realize it’s not you. Many employees blame themselves. The truth is a bully boss doesn’t target you because you’re a bad employee. They’re just bad bosses. Start by saying to yourself “my boss is a bully.” You’ll feel better and more ready to take on the situation.
Did your boss call you a name in an email? Were they making fun of you in the middle of a team meeting? Gather your proof. Keep every email and memo. Send emails to your co-workers asking if they witnessed the verbal or even physical bullying (such as harassment). The more proof you have, the easier it is to prove your case if you need to go to HR.
Stay Confident No Matter What
It’s hard to bully someone who doesn’t flinch when you yell at them, call them names or harass them. At worst, confidence might annoy your boss, but it’ll make them think twice about bullying you in the future. They love employees that react or crumble. Confidence proves you don’t care about their petty behavior.
Call Them Out
Make sure you have all your proof ready before trying this. Calling out a bully boss can backfire and make them treat you worse or even fire you. Your proof makes sure you have a backup to stop the bullying and keep your job.
The next time your boss decides to bully you, tell them you don’t appreciate their behavior, words or attitude. Explain that it doesn’t motivate you and you deserve to be treated with respect. If they get in your face, tell them you’ll come back and finish the discussion when they act more professional and walk out.
If the bullying is extremely bad or continues to worsen, it’s time to tell HR. Start by saying my boss is a bully. They’ve likely heard it before. They’ll either talk to the boss or guide you both through a conversation to fix the problem. It’ll be uncomfortable talking it out, but having HR on your side helps.
If their bullying continues, report it again. The more reports against the boss, the more likely they’ll either be moved to another department or fired.
Take The High Road
It’s tempting to stoop to their level of name calling and childish behavior. After all, the bullying makes you think of kids on the playground. You want to defend yourself so you resort to the same strategy the bully uses. It won’t work.
Bullies hate it when you take the high road. This makes them feel like the childish bully they’re acting like. Stay calm and professional. Tell them you don’t like their behavior and walk away if it continues. Document and report any problems. Acting just like them could end up causing you to be the one to get fired.
No matter how much you want to lose your temper, you have to be consistent. If you’re confident once and break down and cry the next, your bully boss will win. Be consistent in your approach to the situation.
For instance, if you call them out for embarrassing you in front of the entire team for no reason, but let them get away with calling you names in an email, they’ll assume you’re weak. You’re not a weak person. Call them out and explain that you expect better from them in the future every single time they bully you.
Find A Better Job
Sometimes the best option is to find a better job. You know you’re an incredible employee. If the bullying boss is defended by HR and nothing’s done in your favor, quit. Try to last at the job long enough to find something better. When you do, confront your boss and tell them exactly why you’re leaving and what they’re losing.
Remember you never have to simply deal with being bullied by your boss. Stand up for yourself. Be professional, report issues and if all else fails, find a job where you’ll be respected for your skills.