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.


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