New Boss Treating Me Rudely

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctor about new boss’ rude treatment:

At my work, there is a new person who is buying shares and going to take over. He and I have had a couple run-ins when it comes to how he speaks to me and treats me. 1. He yells at me in front of customers and co- workers. 50% of the time it is for someone else’s mistake that he blames me for (*even his mistakes*) and he doesn’t assess the situation. he just blames me.

2. He makes rude comments about the way I look. He continually criticizes the way I look, if my eyes are red from putting my contacts in, or my hair is messy because the wind blew it. If I put my hair in a ponytail like the girl I work with, its not “work appropriate” even though the other girl has her hair is a very messy ponytail.

3. He happens to know my ex-boyfriend, and when he found out that he was my ex, he made comments about calling him and asking him personal questions. He did this in front of my coworkers. He threatened to call my ex because he didn’t believe that my ex had said something to me and then told me if I “admit” to lying, that he would drop it.

4. If I go to my manager and ask her for advice on something that he did wrong, he tells me that I am trying to sabotage him, and “throw him under the bus”. He thinks that I have some personal vendetta against him.

5. He constantly tells me I am not good at what I do, when I really am. I always ask my manager if she is happy with my performance, and she says she is. It seems like he is the only one who has an issue with me. I can do the exact same things as my only female coworker, and I would be the one to get into trouble.

6. If I go to any one of the other management team, including the current owners, no one thinks that I have a valid problem. They say that he is stressed out and that I should just stay out of his way at the end of the month.That is impossible, because I work with him very closely. I would quit, but I NEED my job. I know I have rights, but what are they, and how to I protect myself from a bully boss?

Signed, Tired of Taking It

Dear Tired of Taking It:

It certainly does sound like the two of you don’t care for each other! I don’t see anything that indicates you have ever gotten along with him or vice versa, so this sounds like a fundamental dislike that will probably have no easy solution. That is especially true since apparently he has authority over your managers, or at least will have at some point.There are no actual civil rights involved with this that you have described, since there appears to be no gender-based harassment. Thus, it comes down to how you can deal with this within the company and with your boss. You say you need the job, so you will need to decide whether that need outweighs the anger you are feeling and probably always will feel. I doubt this person will be fired. It might not even be possible for managers to fire him. So, you and he will be working together as long as you have a job there.

You will either have to change to the degree he wants you to change, adjust where you can, adapt and stay out of his way, find ways to get along better with him or at least establish a truce, or convince your managers to intervene.Have you considered just talking to him and saying, “I don’t know how our working relationship got so bad, but I know I’m feeling terrible about work right now. Could we talk about it?”Then, you could mention specifics and ask him his viewpoint. Maybe if he realizes his remarks are being hurtful, not just irritating, he will see the need to make a change. You can’t make him change apparently, since he has authority over you and the support of your managers. But, maybe he would see the value of improving his communication style.

You say this person is buying shares and going to take over. If you mean that literally, I’d say you ought to be looking for another job, because he certainly will have the authority then to fire you or make life even more unpleasant, unless you can find a way to develop a better relationship or a truce, now.If you mean he simply is gaining power or if he does not have final power yet, you could perhaps be more assertive about asking for your managers to help you. Rather than only talking about it, write a letter, which seems much more determined. List the names of witnesses to what he has said and give precise, word-for-word dialogues of what he said, what you said and back and forth.State the impact his actions are having on your ability to be as effective as you would like, and on other team members too. You didn’t mention them, but surely they are not happy with his actions either.It could be that they would speak up for you because of your good history there–assuming that is a fact–and could at least reason with the potential new owner about it.In the meantime, you want to make sure you are presenting yourself as a strong team member with an exemplary appearance, demeanor and performance.

Every employee in today’s economy needs to think of each day as a new job interview, in which you are competing with others.As I said, there are no easy solutions to this issue, but clearly you are going to have to be the one to start more positive communications with him, or ask for the support of your managers in a more adamant way. If you don’t want to do those things you will probably have to vote with your feet, as Dr. Gorden says, and look for another job.Best wishes with this challenging situation.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.