A boss who is a bully can turn a normally mundane job into a warzone. If you’re dealing with repeated bullying from your boss, it can interfere with your productivity and even your health. While you can’t stop a boss from bullying or abusing you completely without quitting, there are things you can do to quell their rage. Here’s what to do about your bullying boss:
Don’t Give Them A Reason
You may not want to admit it to yourself, but many of us find ourselves slacking off when we have a bully for a boss. It’s easy to justify showing up a few minutes late or not completing an assignment if you already feel like you’re getting the shoddy end of the stick at work. Make sure you’re excelling at your job, and you’re less likely to give your boss a reason to bully you. Further, if you’re doing an excellent job and your bullying boss fires you, you’re more likely to have recourse than if you had been slacking off for weeks.
Don’t Be a Target
Workplace bullying is really not that different from the bullying we all saw on the playground as children. Bullies target those who are easy targets. Typically this means people who are loners, who don’t have friends in the office, or who are isolated in an area away from all the other employees. Avoid making yourself a target by networking with the people in your office. You don’t have to be best friends, but having a few office allies and spending time with them can make it more difficult for your boss to bully you.
Bullies bully to feel a sense of power, and in order to feel powerful, bullies have to get a reaction. Don’t give your boss this reward. Ignore the bullying, and don’t act like you are offended or hurt by it. It can be difficult to let cruel remarks roll right off of your back, but doing so dramatically decreases the likelihood that your boss will continue to bully you!
Bullying is a vicious cycle. The bully bullies people and therefore no one likes him or her. The result is that the bully feels powerless and thus bullies more. Try breaking your end of the cycle by being as nice to your boss as possible. Deflecting bullying with humor can often be highly effective.
Going over your boss’s head can often create more problems, particularly if your boss’s boss likes your boss. If your boss is sexually harassing you, making racist comments, or creating a dangerous, threatening, or hostile workplace, it’s time to take action. Consult Human Resources about the problem. If this does not work, talk directly to your boss as well as his or her superiors. Make sure to document everything in writing.
Living with a bullying boss can be stressful and frustrating, but if you focus on the good parts of your job and try to maintain a sense of perspective, it’s possible to work under a bullying boss without losing your mind!