• Thursday, August 5, 2010

    Is your boss a bully? Read on . . .

    Unless you've been incredibly lucky in your professional life, no doubt you have experienced the bully boss. Perhaps you are the bully boss?

    In my opinion, working for a bully boss is one of the most degrading things we will ever have to endure. Control and power of others in evil hands should never be tolerated in the business world, but sadly, it is. In this era of high unemployment, the bully boss feels even more empowered since good jobs are very difficult to find and in some areas, impossible.

    Are power hungry people so evil that they don't even see what they do to their employees? Do they really care, or is it just a game . . . a power trip?

    My experience in supervisory positions showed me that treating others as you wish to be treated produces happy employees with productive, successful results. Management by intimidation creates a toxic work environment where employees are only there because life circumstances force them to stay.

    Experience has also shown me that women bosses tend to be bully bosses moreso than their male counterparts. Interesting observation . . .

    In the article "When the Boss Is A Bully" from Psychology Today, they touch on some tactics that can be used in dealing with a bully boss.

    Here are tactics from seasoned organizational consultants:

    - Confront the bully: "I'm sorry you feel you have to do that, but I will not put up with that kind of behavior. It has no place here." It can be startlingly effective. "Bullies lack boundaries on their own behavior. Some external controls may force them to back off" says Levinson. "A bully can't bully if you don't let yourself be bullied."

    - Conduct the confrontation in private--behind dosed doors in the bully's office, at lunch outside the office. The bully won't back down in front of an audience.

    - Specify the behavior that's unworkable: "You can't just fire from the hip and demean me in front of my staff or others."

    - Don't play armchair psychologist. Restrict the discussion to specific behaviors, not theories of motivation.

    - Make your boss aware by showing him or her the consequences of his behavior on others. "I've been noticing how Jim seems so demoralized lately. I think one of the contributing factors may be last week's meeting when you ridiculed him for producing an inadequate sales report" Many executives have no information on how their leadership style impacts others, says Alexander. "Peers don't tell them they are in competition. Why feed information that may make your competitor more effective?"

    - Awareness is not enough; help your boss figure out what to do. Specify the behavioral change you want. "Your boss is likely to brush off criticism with, 'That's just my style;" observes Marquand. "Furnish your boss with an example of desirable behavior-from his or her own repertoire of actions. Jump in with 'But I can recall a month ago when you were . . . lavish in your praise of that new assistant,' or whatever."

    - Point out how the boss's behavior is seen by others. "You embarrass me when you publicly humiliate me in a meeting, but you also embarrass yourself. You're demonstrating your weakness." Comparing self-perceptions and the perceptions of others is often a "grabber," finds Alexander. "The fact of difference gets people's attention."

    - Try humor. If you point out to your boss that she's acting like a caricature, that may be enough to make her aware.

    - Recruit an ally or allies. Standing up for yourself can stop a bully by earning his/her respect. But it could also cost your job. The higher your boss is in the organization, says Lewis, the more you need allies. "It pays to check out with other workers whether the behavior you are experiencing is generalized or idiosyncratic," says Levinson. "If it's generalized, it's easier for two or three people to confront a boss than one alone."

    - If the company you work for is large enough to have one, talk to the human resources department. Unfortunately, says Levinson, companies often don't learn about bullying experiences until an exit interview. But the larger the company you work for, the more mechanisms there are in place to deal with bullies. Unfortunately, the corollary is that in a smaller organization you may have little choice except to leave.

    - If you are important to the organization, you may accomplish your goal by going to your boss's boss. But that's always a chancy move; you'll have to live with your boss in the morning.

    Personally, I have enjoyed using humor on a bully boss . . .

    here to read the entire article from Psychology Today . . .

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