Question: I am facing a situation that I need a bit of help with. For four years, I have put up with my boss’s undermining me publicly and privately, giving me the worst assignments and shortest deadlines, and his dishonest performance reviews. Feedback from my internal clients and my objective metrics are all quite, quite good. But he is constantly on me for alleged “mistakes,” “poor judgment” and claims of “disappointing” him.
Several of my colleagues have expressed to me that they feel quite bad about the way I am treated. It is my belief that good work should determine your treatment and success at work. That has managed to maintain me for years, but my last evaluation was almost horrible, and what is happening at work has gotten to me, and even affected my children.
So, finally, I filed a written complaint with HR, using one of your templates. I was honest, I gave names, dates and quoted him. And I think I showed that things he said in my last review were false.
My boss and his boss called me into a room today and told me that they were both “hurt” and “upset,” that I shouldn’t have made such “accusations,” My boss’s boss said that he was “uncomfortable” with this situation. Any suggestions?
Name and City Withheld
Answer: Dear Blog Visitor: I want to share these four things with you:
1. First, you have done what is right, in every way. From every perspective – legal, practical, health-wise, career-wise and otherwise. You have done what it’s right and smart to do: you have confronted a problem professionally, which is what employees are supposed to do when it affects the business of your employer, and you have done it the way employers and the law say you should do it. By reporting it, in writing, to Human Resources you have taken the first and most important step. No question about that.
From a legal and practical perspective, your submitting a WRITTEN complaint with your employer is one of the best parts of what you did because (a) it can’t now be denied, especially if you sent it by email, (b) its contents and tone can’t be lied about, misconstrued or mischaracterized, because it is in writing, and (c) a WRITTEN complaint is the BEST WAY TO PREVENT LATER RETALIATION by your bully boss, and GREAT LEVERAGE if he does try that retaliatory stuff. Many bullies think they can get away with retaliation; what you have done is the best way to deal – preemptively – with possible future retaliation.
If you are Suffering from a Bully Boss, we offer Model Anonymous Complaint to Your Employer About a Bully Boss, you can adapt and use. Shows you “What to Say, and How to Say It.™ To get your copy, just [click here.] Delivered to your printer in minutes.
2. Second, bullies are always sensitive – in fact supersensitive – to their own feelings. Bullies are self-centered and narcissistic people. Thus, they actually enjoy hurting others, controlling others, intimidating others, and humiliating others. They do not even realize that others have feelings, or at least feelings worthy of consideration and respect. But when they are confronted with what they have done to affect others, they are always (i) “offended,” (ii) “shocked,” and (iii) “appalled” and (iv) “disappointed,” and do not listen to the message, but instead try to attack the messenger.
Boy-oh-boy, do bullies get “sensitive” and “upset” when others are finally willing to stand up, and confront them in a way that exposes them for what they are: scared little boys and girls, and scared most of all of losing their “power of position” over other people. Yes, they are frightened individuals because, if they lose their positions of power – or are forced to act like the rest of us – they lose their bullying power, and then cannot enjoy threatening, humiliating, intimidating and hurting them.
3. Third, what your bully boss and his boss did to you – calling you into the room and seemingly trying to intimidate you – was not only unnecessary, it was arguably RETALIATORY. I am confident that your bully boss and his boss did not invite you to a “Let’s-share-feelings-session,” as old friends might do for each other. I am equally certain they did not ask you to share your feelings.
Your meeting does not seem to have been motivated by concern for you. And it was not seemingly motivated by an honest desire to deal constructively with your concerns. Rather, I view what they have done to be a kind of retaliation, that you should now report to Human Resources, again, IN WRITING.
Feel you’ve been retaliated against? Use our “Model Memo Objecting to Retaliation on the Job” to stop it and have it reversed. “What to Say, and How to Say It,™ just [click here.] Delivered by Email – Instantly!
4. Fourth, just keep doing what you are doing: addressing the problem in a respectful and professional way. I am certain what you are going through is not easy. Sooner or later, people have to stand up to a bully. Although most people don’t like to be the one doing the “standing up” for fear the bully might “get back” at you, if you continue what you are doing and how you are doing it, you will both feel better about yourself and you will be showing others that, “Yes, it can be done.” Most of all, it is your best and most effective way of finally – once and for all – stopping your bully boss from bullying you.
To STAND UP FOR YOURSELF, we offer Model COMPLAINT OF BULLY BOSS TO CEO AND HR, you can adapt and use. Shows you “What to Say, and How to Say It.” To get your copy, just [click here.] Delivered to your printer in minutes.
Helping people stand up to bullies is one of my favorite aspects of my work. It is quite, quite satisfying.
Dealing with Bully Bosses is not easy. But at times it is something that comes along, and is either dealt with or he or she will continue to “deal” with you his or her own way. I applaud what you have done, I hope you will stand tall and strong and continue to defend yourself, and I hope this answer – and other aspects of my blogsite – will help you do just that.
My Very, Very Best,
P.S.: Our Most Requested Video: BULLY BOSS – SIX STEPS TO BEAT THE BEAST is available for your viewing on your home computer screen for a modest fee. Just sit back, relax, watch and listen. Just [click here.]
Repairing the World,
One Empowered – and Productive – Employee at a Time™
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