Professional Development Work Relationships

3 Ways to Survive Your Bully Boss

Written by Peter Jones

We’ve all had that boss. The narcissist. The Egotist. The Liar. The Manipulator.

Bad bosses can span a wide variety of unhelpful traits. They can be self-serving, inaccessible, inconsistent, quick to blame, uninspiring, uninspired, unable to connect with people, negative, demeaning, overly demanding, bullying, and/or brutish. But they don’t have to get you down.

Dealing with a bad boss can be discouraging—even detrimental to your career. But there are a few concrete things that you can do to make your situation better. Don’t let the negativity coming from your crazy boss get to you. Instead, follow this advice to make your work environment a better, more peaceful and productive place:

1. Don’t assume you’re to blame.

Bullies are bullies. Your boss isn’t picking on you because of anything you are doing wrong. Your boss is the one doing wrong. Once you realize his or her bad behavior is a character trait, not a response to a flaw of yours, then you can get to work solving the problem from another angle.

2. Save it for the record.

What happened when? If your boss is inappropriate or hostile via text or voice mail or in an email, save it! Documentation is your biggest ally. Keep a detailed journal or record of every incident, with the time and location and details about exactly what was said or done. Also make note of any witnesses. This evidence will be crucial should you ever need to take things up the ladder.

3. Report your bully boss to HR.

Call for backup. HR departments exist to help you if you’re being abused at work. You’re not just protecting yourself, you’re also saving future employees or coworkers the pain of having to go through the same ordeal. Present your evidence up the chain of command and keep your cool. You’ve done everything right and justice will be on your side.

It will take time, but things will get better—and you’ll have done your part to make your workplace safer for everyone. Be confident and secure in yourself and stay strong in your fight for fairness.

How to Survive a Bully Boss

About the author

Peter Jones