Bullying is an activity that shouldn’t happen anywhere, especially beyond the playground. In a perfect world, intimidation wouldn’t be used as a method to establish dominance and cover insecurity, but then again, this world isn’t perfect. People can be bullies, and sometimes that bully is your boss.
The first time it happens, you might be quick to shrug it off. They didn’t ask for anything too unreasonable, so fulfilling their request doesn’t seem ridiculous. Then it extends to the way they speak to your co-workers at meetings and how they single specific people out. Soon, working with this person becomes a complete nightmare. Instead of ignoring the behavior, you have a few options.
Start by talking to someone you trust
An unbiased opinion is always helpful to make sure you aren’t misreading or being oversensitive to your boss’s words. This mentor or impartial third party will listen to your examples of bullying and discuss your options for resolution. Depending on what is being done, the next step might be discussing the issue with your boss directly.
Stand up to your boss
Standing up for yourself can be a dramatic expression, but it can be a calm conversation. Next time your boss says something that qualifies as bullying, tell them why their words and actions upset you and allow room for conversation. They might not realize how what they say is affecting your life and work performance. A study from Ohio State University found that even the simple action of fighting back instead of letting the bullying continue uncontested can cause less distress psychologically.
Talk to HR
The best-case scenario is your boss listens and makes more of an effort. Sadly, that isn’t always the situation. They might be outraged at your allegations and make things worse for you. Or they may not care at all and continue as usual.
If this happens, escalate the matter to HR for resolution. Here you can discuss strategies for an improved work environment with a third-party witness. It also serves as a way to document the behavior in case future issues arise.
What to do if it still doesn’t get better
After doing everything within your control, your next step might be to find something new. Instead of letting your current situation and job search stress you out, partner with Workbox Staffing to find the best manufacturing, light industrial, warehouse operations and office support opportunities.