Bosses Who Bully: Conquer Without Fighting
Bosses who bully are unpleasant to work for. However, sometimes you can handle the situations they present you with by responding in calm and determined manner. Can you learn to conquer a bully without fighting her? The answer is yes. Try following the steps below.
Your primary objective is to show the bully you are in control of yourself. You’re not going to bend to her demands. You need to gain control of the situation and redirect her energy toward an outcome that is positive for you.
In dealing with bosses who bully, first absorb her attack.
• Calm her by speaking in a low but self-confident tone
• Physically stand your ground. Do not back away. “Own” your space
• Show her that you understand her immediate problem and what she wants
• With your voice, tone and body language, show her that you don’t take her attack personally.
Second, use the force of the bully’s attack to subdue her.
• Ask her to restate her main point
• Ask for her relevant opinions and suggested solutions
• Listen actively. Paraphrase her ideas and ask follow-up questions.
Third, give a meaningful response.
• Let her know you want to help her, if possible. Again, stand your ground. Control your voice and tone
• Summarize the situation and options. Use the same terminology and phrases as the bully
• Give your conclusions. Tell the bully what you’re going to do.
Finally, respond effectively to the bully’s objections.
• Restate your own intentions
• Describe the bully’s options again
• Explain the benefits and problems of each option
• Ask the bully to make a simple choice.
Even bosses who bully ultimately have a job to do. Your job is to do the work–and the bully knows it. Stand up to the bully; offer her choices that you can live with. She may begin to see you as an ally instead of an impediment.
Valerie Cade, Founder
Bully Free at Work