While i was growing up, i was so used to the word BULLY. The bigger kids in school snatching your snacks from you. The ones who mocked me about being a left handed person. The ones that pulled my hair. The ones that compelled you to wash their clothes or fetch them water etc. Now as an adult, all these should be behind me right? I know you think so too. Sadly, most bullies don’t grow out of whatever it is that compels them to pick on others, and when they graduate from the school, they move on to the office, the work place etc. And if you are so unfortunate, they become your boss or superior. Dealing with a bully who is your mate, peer etc, someone who your success or progress isn’t directly linked to is much more easier. But when you are dealing with a bully who is not your peer or playmate, but the person you report to every day, the person you look up to for direction, your superior etc, things get complicated. Here are what you need to know about handling these bullies…. RECORD EVERYTHING:
Record every conversation, text, every slight, every email. Your allegations need proof, and this documentation will come in handy should you ever need to go to HR or be the victim of wrongful firing. This is a lot easier these days with smart phones. Save all emails and memos, especially those where you believe your boss to be particularly unfair or unprofessional. And if your boss bullies you verbally, send him an email outlining the conversation. If he called you a name, try saying, “In our discussion this afternoon, you said I was being a crybaby. I would like to stop the behavior you find offensive, so if you could tell me specifically how you would like me to improve, I would greatly appreciate it.” If you feel this is too confrontational, then simply send an email to yourself for your own records. TRY HAVING A NON-CONFRONTATIONAL CONVERSATION:
If your boss’s behavior is affecting your self-esteem and ability to perform, express your discomfort in a private conversation held in a neutral setting. Go out for coffee, use words like “When you say X, it makes me feel [uncomfortable, like I’m being attacked, like you want for me to take this personally]” and then document that conversation. This is may be the hardest suggestion to take, especially if your boss has habitually humiliated you. But if you can keep from accusing him, and frame your argument objectively, you have a greater chance of success. The most important thing to remember here is that your boss’s behavior may not be intentional. If you go into the conversation under the assumption that he is simply unaware of how his comments are affecting you, you will naturally be less combative. CONTACT HUMAN CAPITAL MANAGEMENT:
If your boss blows off your concerns, or if his behavior doesn’t improve, then you need to alert HR. Put your documentation into a nice little (or large) organized package and ask your assigned HR representative for a meeting in person. During the conversation, outline your boss’s behavior as objectively as possible, stating when the inappropriate behavior started. Before the conversation ends, ask about the next steps, then send an email that outlines the meeting. CONTRACT AN EMPLOYMENT ATTORNEY: This should be your last resort but if your boss’s behavior continues even after you contact HR (or if HR fails to do anything to address the harassment), you should contact an attorney to look at your documentation and explain your options. Excelling in your career is difficult enough without bullies standing in your way, but do know that they aren’t insurmountable problems. You can be an effective team member even if your boss doesn’t recognize your efforts; you can neutralize a toxic attitude by changing yours and you can combat chauvinism, sexism, and all-out humiliation by standing up for yourself (and calling for backup when needed). Bullying of any sort by superiors and bosses should not be condoned. When you are bullied, stand up and speak. A lot of people have given up on their dreams because of obstacles and hurdles posed by the so called bosses and superiors. Please allow the young to grow. Stop bullying us. Be Enlightened! Be inspired!! Be Motivated.