Putting a Boss on Notice for Workplace Bullying

Take control and put your bullying boss on notice.

Take control and put your bullying boss on notice.

Tired of dealing with a boss who crosses the line from cranky-pants to full-on bully? You don't have to be a victim. Show your bullying boss you're in control of yourself and put him on notice before you hand in yours. Simple communication techniques can help you to stand your ground confidently.

Don't Take it, Take Control

You haven't even had your morning coffee when the first attack hits. Take a deeeeeep breath. Exhale. But don't back down. Stay calm, and confidently acknowledge your boss's issue, but let your body language translate how unaffected you are. Remember, the bully's goal is to make you feel teeny tiny, weak and emotional. So at the first sign of anger (or yikes, a tear) you'll play right into his hands.

And Your Point Is?

To make sure there are no mixed signals, and to hold him accountable for the abuse, ask him to repeat what it is he's asking of you, including specifically what he expects the outcome to look like, and whether he has suggestions to contribute. Keep your anger on the down low and focus only on the facts. At the end of the conversation, recap what you heard him tell you and thank him for his time and the helpful feedback he's provided. Now, you can go back to your office, shut the door and scream.

Kill Him (With Kindness)

There is nothing more irritating to a bully than a failed attempt to push your buttons. So, the next time he hurls random blame over your cubicle, just pretend he didn't say anything hateful at all and ask him something positively nice and personal. Ask how his kids are liking their new school, or even better... invite him to happy hour! Part of empowering yourself is staying positive.

Nice Girls Finish Last

So you've stood your ground, opened the lines of communication and been sickeningly sweet and he's still belittling, harassing and yelling at you. It's time to tell him that his behavior is affecting your productivity, and you should be prepared to give specific examples. Respectfully, tell him you won't put up with it anymore and ask how the two of you can work together going forward. Talking directly with the bully puts him on notice. Hopefully, having this conversation will help defuse his abusive behavior, but it doesn't guarantee that he'll leave you alone. In fact, the abuse could escalate, but don't let that stop you from talking to him. Commit to a calm, consistent approach in dealing with his madness.

 

About the Author

Based in Wilmington, N.C., Melissa Warren has been writing professionally for more than 10 years. Her work has appeared in “Our State” magazine and other regional publications. Warren holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a certificate in professional writing from the University of North Carolina in Wilmington.

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