Workplace Bully

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about bully boss: He sends email that says, “What the F%^&* is this?” to the person who made a mistake.

The president of my company likes to give smart-ass comments to make people feel bad. He also sends email that says, “What the F%^&* is this?” to the person who made a mistake. But mistakes are made because he was not willing to share the information. How would I deal with this kind of situation? And sometimes my boss will put me on the spot and ask me, “What the hell is this?” on things that he talked about before. How do I deal with these at workplace?

Signed, Don’t Like It

Dear┬áDon’t Like It:

You are not in a work-friendly job and unfortunately sometimes you must bite your tongue and just swallow being bullied. Life isn’t fair and the long sorry history of work has been a struggle to right what is wrong. That’s why it took years for labor to organize and earn the right to bargain for reasonable hours, fair pay and better working conditions. Obviously, you are in a workplace that lacks respect for you and probably your co-workers.

The answer to your question depends on how much you are willing to risk. I assume that so far you haven’t told your boss that you don’t like to be talked down to, nor have you voiced your displeasure to the president of your company for his profane insulting emails.My first advice is a don’t: Don’t complain to your coworkers about your boss or president. Don’t gossip about them. Why? Because that is avoids the problem, and what you say about a boss or president usually gets to their ears and in turn bites you back. In short, one of the most important rules is not to say something about another person that you wouldn’t first say to her/his face. A bully owner probably won’t stop bullying until and unless he can’t get what he’s been getting by bullying.

Sooo here’s the question you must answer before you confront a bully: do I want to risk being bullied more, and possibly will be fired? Probably in your case, you had best toughen up and let the insulting talk slid off your back while you look for another job, one where employees are treated respectfully. And until you find one, learn all you can. That will help pay for being treated disrespectfully.However, here are several approaches you might consider if you can see your situation as a learning experience, one of learning how to deal with a difficult boss and a bully owner. 1. Paraphrase what you hear. By that I mean, you might respond, “Mr. John, I hear you ask, “What the hell is this?” I think you mean to say that you don’t like this, and you have an opinion of how to fix it and prevent it. Right?” This should change your boss’ insulting exclamation to one of problem solving. 2. Check with your boss. Rather than to wonder if your boss will criticize or wait to be told what to do, don’t avoid your boss and hurry to leave at the end of the day. Instead after working on a project for a couple of hours and before you leave at the end of your working day, say, “How’re we doing, Mr. John? Are there things you like or think we could do better?” Your relationship with your superior will improve if you make talk with the boss usual rather than something to be avoided and feared. 3. Think big. Just suppose you owned your company. What might you do to cut wasted supplies, wasted time, wasted energy and wasted money? If you can focus on cutting waste, possibly you will understand why an owner writes mean emails. You don’t have to like them and you might wish your owner were different, but at least you will appreciate why he gets upset and explodes. And you might be surprised at a change in his emails if you with coworkers and your boss can make your workplace one that is cost conscious and customer happy.

Our site has many answered many questions about how to confront and survive difficult coworkers, bad bosses and hostile work environment. Scan them and also click on associate workplace doctor Tina Lewis Rowe’s name on our home page to access her site that has more advice than you will know how to handle. For now, I hope these suggestions cause you to realize that there are some things that you can’t change and yet that doesn’t mean your situation is hopeless. Let us know what you elect to do, and until then think about how my signature sentence might apply to you: Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS.

William Gorden