Frequently we receive emails from friends of The People Group who are in difficult employment situations. Most of the problems stem from relationships with bosses or the bosses behavior. Below is a recent letter we received concerning a bully boss. The names have been removed for confidentiality purposes.
I am reaching out to you on behalf of myself and others in [office name and location]… I was terminated from employment recently as a result of reporting bullying and coercion by [bully's name]. I am not alone as there have been others that he has terminated or forced to resign. He applauds himself as an individual that has beaten the system and even fooled [leader's name]. He believes that he is adept in manipulating the system so as not to comply with his demands results in termination or forced resignation from the firm. I am writing this as I was resigned to accept the situation to maintain my employment – out of concern for the financial welfare of my family. After a request from senior management I did come forward with the facts about [bully's name] behavior and cautioned them that I feared for retribution. I received no follow-up from management – nor did I receive any response from Human Resources after registering a complaint. I did receive a cautionary threat from [bullys name]… and now find myself unemployed. As I am told I am an employee at will and while I do have sufficient evidence to support my claims – my rights are limited. Any advice that you can offer or guidance would be greatly appreciated.
Does this situation sound familiar? Have you seen this set of circumstances happen to a coworker? Maybe a similar scenario has happened to you?
When you find yourself in the strangle hold of a bully boss, you need to take steps to prevent further damage to your physical and mental health. Unfortunately, what happened in this case is very typical. The target of the bully gets fired. It is better to be fired or resign than to live under the toxic, dominating force of a bully boss who is more concerned with him/herself than the operation of the company or its employees.
Below are my recommendations if you are in this situation:
Recommendation #1. Purchase and read “The Bully at Work” by Gary Namie, PhD and Ruth Namie, PhD. Robert Sutton, Stanford professor and author of “The No Asshole Rule” says, “This is the best book on what workplace bullies do and how to stop them in their tracks.”
Recommendation #2. Utilize all the resources found at the Workplace Bullying Institute’s website (link here). This site provides a step by step guide for targets and several videos and reading recommendations.
Recommendation #3. Talk with a licensed therapist about your situation (link here). You need a professional to help you understand the situation and begin the healing process. Unfortunately, most psychologists are not aware of the physical and mental implications of working under a bully boss.