By Valerie Cade CSP
The scenario from one of our readers: How do I stop a bully boss from ‘attacking’ me with untrue accusations? He believes the customer over me. When I try and interrupt him, he puts me on hold.
Ask: “What Does My Boss Probably Want?”
- In this case, the boss probably wants to be seen as competent and capable; in fact, most of us do.
- Consider that it may be difficult for this boss to know exactly how to handle a customer’s complaint. They may be wrestling with ‘never make the customer wrong’ and they may also be wrestling with ‘any employee behavior is seen as a reflection on this boss personally’. This boss may have trouble separating the customer’s needs with supporting and leading employees.
- This boss probably does not want to be interrupted, but heard as well, especially since they may have just had it out with a customer.
Ask: “What Do I Want?”
- What do we want from our boss? Usually support, recognition and to be believed.
- We want our boss to listen to us until we feel heard.
- We want our boss to listen to the customer without compromising the morale of the staff.
What’s Really Going On?
- The boss is responsible to run the company and maintain customers and happy staff.
- The boss would probably be more apt to listen to an employee especially when he/she feels supported and allowed to speak until he/she is finished (even if he/she is wrong and making false accusations).
- The boss may be trying to maintain his/her own need to be seen as effective over looking at the truth of the matter (your view vs the customer’s view).
What You Can Do
- Allow your boss to finish his/her statements, especially if they have anger attached to them. Let the hot air out of the balloon first.
- Remind yourself that by pushing back at that particular time, you will not likely win.
- Choose to approach your boss after the dust settles and when your boss has time to hear you.
- Have a ‘classy’ crucial conversation that counts! (Taking the high road to where you want to lead the bully).
Valerie Cade, CSP is a Workplace Bullying Expert, Speaker and Author of “Bully Free at Work: What You Can Do To Stop Workplace Bullying Now!” which has been distributed in over 100 countries worldwide. For presentations and consulting on workplace bullying prevention and respectful workplace implementation, go to http://www.bullyfreeatwork.com
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