Bad bosses: How to handle bad situations as an employee
BY LAURIE WINSLOW World Staff Writer
Sunday, January 20, 2013
1/20/13 at 4:11 AM
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Bad bosses can berate, harass or simply ignore employees, and knowing how to deal with them requires careful steps and caution.
Bad bosses want to fight, said Kevin Kennemer, founder of The People Group, a Tulsa-based human resources consulting firm. They focus on the negative, regardless of how well you may be performing.
Employees should, in turn, ask how they can improve.
"Put them in a place where they have to explain themselves," he said. "... In many cases, they won't even have an answer. They're just trying to get you and hook you and make an emotional debate."
Is your boss screaming at you on the phone? Try this:
"'Look, I can tell you're emotional. I'm not going to talk to you any further,'" he said. "And politely say goodbye and hang up the phone. You're well within your rights to do that even if it's your boss."
Is your boss bullying you during a meeting? Announce you're leaving and then walk out, he said.
"What they want is people who just sit there and take it. When someone stands up to them and leaves, they're seeing that you're not going to take it, you've become less of a target," Kennemer said.
Is your boss being passive aggressive by refusing to invite you to important meetings?
"It's really a tough issue for employees who are caught in this situation," said Asher Adelman, founder of eBossWatch. "There is not a whole heck of a lot you can do to help improve the environment."
"Mobbing" is another passive-aggressive technique where a boss tries to turn other employees against a co-worker, Kennemer said. When co-workers see someone being treated unfairly, they become silent. They're afraid to stick up for someone for fear they'll be next.
"It's just good to surround yourself with positive people in your organizations, people who you can trust," he said.
So how do you address issues with a bad boss? Speak up, write it down and be patient.
Let the offender know you don't appreciate being talked to in that manner. Let the boss know you're willing to listen to his or her criticism in a professional manner.
"An approach like that is kind of a shock treatment," Adelman said.
He advises documenting everything and keeping emails from the boss as evidence to back up claims.
And if that doesn't work, what avenues are there for dealing with a bad boss? People can file complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, though years ago there was no agency to report harassment, said Linnda Durre, a psychotherapist and author of "Surviving the Toxic Workplace: Protect Yourself Against the Co-Workers, Bosses and Work Environments That Poison Your Day."
Depending on the bullying, you can start with an informal approach and arrange to talk to the offender in his or her office or over lunch. If that doesn't work, go to human resources either by yourself or with co-workers who share your experiences, Durre said.
She cautions that sometimes going to HR departments can make matters worse. The HR rep may not act, leaving the employee to bear any backlash.
You can also hire an attorney.
"Sometimes all it takes is one letter on letterhead stationery from an attorney, and people will stop," Durre said.
The best solution, ultimately, may be to find another job.
Original Print Headline: How to handle a bad boss
Laurie Winslow 918-581-8466