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My boss is such a bully! He constantly criticizes me and humiliates me in front of my co-workers and customers. I’ve tried everything, from being overly nice to completely avoiding him, but it hasn’t helped. How do I deal with this problem?
We all laughed while watching Horrible Bosses, but there’s nothing funny about a real-life bullying boss. If your boss is verbally abusive and overly critical, your work will certainly suffer. More importantly, this problem can affect your mental, emotional, and physical health. Here are some ways to can handle your own “horrible boss.”
Be the best employee you can be
Your boss always finds an excuse to criticize, but you shouldn’t make it any easier for him. Think carefully about whether your own behavior could be contributing to your boss’s discontentment. Taking a two-hour lunch break might sound like a great way to escape your workplace stress, but you will have to face your boss’s wrath when you get back. Of course, you are going to make a mistake now and then, so when you do, fix it or ask for help as soon as possible. Hiding underneath your desk for weeks hoping that your boss doesn’t find out is only going to make things worse. Highlight your strength and detract from your weakness by taking responsibility.
Stand up for yourself
Confronting your boss about his behavior is a scary idea, but it can also be the most effective way to end mistreatment. Bullying bosses are more powerful in front of an audience, so be sure to speak to your boss in private without the possibility of co-workers interrupting or overhearing. Explain how his management style is affecting you, and give examples of how you would prefer to be treated. If confrontation isn’t your best event, you can stand up for yourself in other ways. Don’t let your boss discourage you from increasing your value to the company. Take on additional responsibilities and volunteer for projects whenever possible. Consider additional training to improve your skills and build confidence. You will probably learn something that your boss doesn’t know!
Find strength in numbers
Reach out to your co-workers. You know you aren’t the only victim of your boss’s bullying tactics. In some cases, people are more likely to stand up for others than they are for themselves. If you and your co-workers protect and defend each other, you might be able to end your boss’s reign of terror. If your attempt to form an alliance with your co-workers is unsuccessful, try joining a professional organization to interact with others in your field. This will not only help you find support outside your office, but will give you the opportunity to discuss the problem with others in your position and find out how they handle it. If all else fails, networking can help you break away from your boss, so make as many connections as possible at this point.
When dealing with a bullying boss, remember that you are not alone. If possible, talk to someone in the Human Resources department about your boss’s behavior. They are trained to handle situations like this and will be able to help. They can also report the problem to your boss’s boss. If this isn’t an option, develop a support group of co-workers, friends, and family. When you build self-confidence and inner strength, you take the power away from your bullying boss.
Need advice about your career, relationships, style, health, or just life in general? Ask Melissa! Send your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org