Abusive Boss: What to do??

Scene 1:

Shweta was awarded employee of the year award in the recently held annual day of the company, and she was overjoyed with this new feather in her cap and why shouldn’t she be, she has been working in the company for 4 years now and shares a healthy relationship with all superiors, peers and subordinates. Everyone in the organisation knows Shweta for both her work and her conduct; she never faltered and never raised her voice.

Scene 2:

Shweta was very upset, she had no other option left but to call it quits, she knew that her time in the company was over now and though she may be remembered by everyone for her conduct and compliance, she has to leave the company with a bitter taste in her mouth.

The scenario changed for Shweta because of her new Boss, Mr. Jain, who had been promoted as the General Manager of the company and had secured a good place for himself in the eyes of all the superiors and the senior management. Mr. Jain was a very abusive boss and the best part was that he did not behave in that manner in front of more than one person at a time and so he did not have any witnesses to his misdeeds.

He used all kinds of tools and language to make you feel psychologically abused and let you down in the weirdest of the ways. When Shweta joined his team, he knew of her popularity and had been insecure somewhere, initially he used to reject all her reports, presentations and proposals by taking out some mistake or the other, later on he just got more and more difficult to handle as he may say certain things in a compassionate way but which would harm one psychologically. He actually ended up ruining her self esteem and she started lacking in confidence whenever she had to present anything in front of a large gathering, she got conscious of her every move and not to mention the lack of confidence in herself.

Mr. Jain loved to belittle people, tried to make them feel inferior, and if he forgot or didn’t do anything he would conveniently blame others.

The company ultimately lost one of the best talents they had. What a shame??

Another example is of a Senior in Sales Mr. Chatterjee who used to think that in order to get the work done from juniors in Sales, it is important to abuse them now and then, lately it became more of a habit. He would shout, scream, whirl all kinds of abuses whether it was a woman or a man, ironically he treated everyone equally with his abuses.

He was argumentative and combative; always wanted to have the last word; interrupted people and was called a jerk by all the team mates.

I’m sure you must have come across such people in your career once at least, so how did you handle such a Mr. Jain or a Mr. Chatterjee.

What can be done??? Read on, it may help you

Involve HR for Counseling: Yes, this is one role of the HR, which is not often talked about, especially since the word Strategy is linked to the HR functioning.

As defined by Douglas Woods

Counseling is a process that enables a person to sort out issues and reach decisions affecting their life. Often counseling is sought out in times of change or crisis only, it need not be so as counseling can help us at any point of time in our lives. Counseling involves talking with a person in a way that helps that person solve a problem or helps to create conditions that will cause the person to understand and/or improve his behavior, character, values or life circumstances.

Don’t fall prey to such abuses: Put a stop to the abuses the very first time you hear them, believe me it may take some courage but once done you will save your self esteem. Some bosses try and manipulate things in a manner that may leave you devastated just because you have not prevented such things in the past and the boss has got more confident of whirling abuses and other kinds of unprofessional behaviour. Inform him/her in the politest way that you did not like such behavior and it affects your productivity and harms your morale.

Collect evidence in case of filing a complaint: It may look like a detective like work but in organizations where the abusive boss is in high and secure position, one of the most important things is to collect or present your case with facts and evidence, it can be a document, an email, an eyewitness or may be even the recorded voice of the boss. There was a female colleague of mine who was regularly being abused by her female boss, and she recorded all the communication on her cell phone which acted as a great evidence and the boss was reprimanded.

Never shout back or confront: Another way to handle such people is to stay calm and composed, later on you may want to cry out, do that but not in front of the abusive boss. He would love to see you like that and any kind of confrontation may actually prove you wrong once you make up your mind to complain. Try to meet your boss in someone else’s presence it can be a colleague or your team member or anyone.

These are some of the solutions I could think of at the moment, apart from leaving the company.

Why don’t you all share your experiences if you have come across such behaviour or bosses, it will surely improvise the way we have been handling such situations as I strongly believe that the best solutions can come from people who are or have faced the same problem.

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thank you Niharika, and I’m glad that you also stood strong in front of such people.
    Thanks for this example, i’m sure many people will be inspired by your contribution here.

    Great job. :)

  • Viknaprakash

    Dear HR Talents,

    I am a HR professional working in Middle Level Position a Small Level
    concern. I would like to Judge my CEO with his behavior. It looks very
    weird for me and I hope it looks in the same way for all my employees.

    Also Iam very sure that this case is going to be very curious &
    interesting for all of you to comment on. (Warning: Don’t get tensed
    when you read the traits of my CEO)

    Kindly go through the below various Traits and Characters of CEO and
    share your comments and enlighten me whether all CEOs are like this/CEOs
    most needed hidden character/CEOs has to be like this to manage the
    organization/Only my CEO is like this in this world. Kindly judge.

    1. Never admits his fault

    Flash Back: One day he asked my technical Manager to order 5 more
    systems to increase the production and my technical manager followed his
    order and delivered 5 new systems in the floor, but unfortunately he
    have changed the plan inside his mind without informing my TM and when
    he came to know she have delivered 5 new systems he started scolding her
    and she replied back “Sir you have asked me to put up new 5 systems in
    the Floor”. Now he gets weird and told her “Dont tell me that I told
    you & Always dont point finger on me, dont blame on me”

    [This scenario happened more than many times in my office with all the managers and subordinates]

    2. Never communicated properly

    Flash Back: He have asked me to take incharge of production and he have
    never informed properly to any of the team leads and he have never
    discussed with any of the team mates and also he have never
    professionally informed anyone that from that day onwards Iam going to
    take incharge of the production.

    [Because of this activity, trainees and technicians started quarreling
    at each other and very much confused about whom they have to report.
    Even this happens when I have joined the organization as HR and he have
    never introduced me to anyone in a professional way]

    3. Never given proper roles to any of his employees

    Flash Back: He have never given proper roles to anyone. He will ask the
    programmers and html people to do Dataentry Jobs. He ask my TM to go
    out to take printouts and other stationary works. He asked me to do
    pick up job in airport for his clients. I will stand in the airport
    till the midnight and I will pick up the client and drop them in the
    hotel and go back home in the midnight 2AM or 3AM.

    4. Highly Partial Mentality

    Flash Back: My Technical Manager is not a very strong technical person.
    She is there for last 14 years. So he is having some soft corner for
    her. My TM comes to office by everyday 12PM and move out by 7PM. When
    technicians and other management staffs started questioning about it he
    said “Its none of your business, I may like someone and I maynot like
    someone. I dont mind that she is coming late because I know that she is
    having some personal responsibilities, Dont compare yourself with her”

    5. Treats all employees like “SH*T” and highly disrespectful

    Flash Back: He always been very irrespectful with all the employees. He
    dont respect the age or the designation or whatever. He always calls
    team leads like “Dai, Vaada, Pooda & Nee” (Tamil) and also the same
    goes with me too. He never worried about insulting his employees before
    others. I have been insulted many times before others irrespective of
    my designation and my loyalty.

    6. Worst in Treating New Employees

    Flash Back: As a HR we know how tough the recruitment part is. We will
    put all our efforts to find a suitable person but when someone collapses
    it how do you feel. I have recruited a HTML programmer, I was taking a
    induction class for him. Suddenly my CEO came in and he asked few
    question the the programmer and immediately he said “We don’t think that
    you are capable, lets see for one month if not well then we fire you”.
    I thought its very rude after seen the drastic sadness and
    uncomfortable change in the candidates face.

    There are hell lot of examples I can give you. But I think these 6
    points are enough for all the HR talents and Professionals accommodated
    in our beloved CITEHR.COM.

    He have also closed 2 companies because of his inability to properly
    decentralize the power. If you need the story. Kindly let me know, then I
    can post the story as my next posting.

    Thank you very much to everyone who views and reply to these post.

    Have a Great Day.

    Kindly judge and let me know.