Dealing with a Bullying Boss

Question From a Reader…

“I have recently become a cleaning supervisor in a shopping centre and I have 11 cleaners to supervise. My problem is the operations manager on site. Although my area manager knows of the problems we have with him she still seems to side with him. After one of my cleaners being bullied by him yesterday I myself have approached him with the problem—HIM!

I told him that his aggressive attitude is not on and that I’m trying to build a good team for the site. I also brought to his attention I could not allow my cleaners to resign because of his actions. Although lots more was said and he asked what I thought I guess you can say I let him have it.

My question is DID I DO THE RIGHT THING?. I have been worried about it all day and feel I may of done the wrong thing. Although I have a strong personality and have a bad habit of calling a spade a spade I can’t afford to lose my job as I’m a single parent.

These problems always arise and our shopping centre goes through cleaners, security guards and office staff because of this bully. Although everyone has heard about our conversation (as you can imagine the gossip that goes around a shopping centre), I chose the position as supervisor to better my skills so I don’t want to quit yet. I will look forward to your response and hopes it helps me.

– Pat”

My Response…
Hello Pat,
In response to your question, I have a few thoughts. The way you handled it was in the right direction in that you had the courage to stand up to him assertively, but there’s more you could do to improve on this. …see how to be assertive

First, while being strong and assertive and calling him on his behavior is good, losing your temper is not. When you “let him have it” it sounds like you may have become really angry at him. I have found that negative emotions always lead to negative actions and produce negative results.

Whereas approaching the situation with strength, calmness and confidence (positive emotions) would produce effective actions and positive results. So, in other words, being confident and assertive will always work better than “losing it” with someone.

Secondly, keep in mind that your goal is to produce positive behavior in the other person. So, while you would assertively and confidently call him on his behavior each and every time it happens, you would also encourage him to deal with the issue more appropriately next time and then compliment him or acknowledge his effort when he does.

Usually, single big confrontations don’t work as well as consistent influencing over time. Overall, you want to make his angry aggressive behavior become more of a problem for him and make dealing with people calmly and appropriately become something that feels more desirable to him.

Best of luck!

Mark Lauderdale MD FRCPC

Pat’s Reply…

“Thank you for your quick reply and I thought I would give you a quick update with what has been going on at work since then. After speaking to our difficult operations manager about certain issues regarding his attitude things just recently have been a lot better.

He has been helping us cleaners with certain duties at work, he seems to listen to me on a daily basis and has actually started to smile. He even is going to speak to the cleaners area manager to get them to pay for fire training sessions.

As you can imagine gossip gets around shopping centres and everyone says “Good on ya Pat”. No one can guarantee that his behaviour will be this way from now on but us cleaners are going to lap it up while the goings good.

I truly appreciate your advice and remember every bit of useful information will help this training supervisor. I told the operations manager I will give the position a good go and that every day I leave taking home a bit more knowledge.

– Pat”

A Few Weeks Later…

“You are welcome to use whatever information that you want on your web site. I appreciate your advice and still at this stage our relationship with our operations manager is still going great. Although he has his days, he is 100% better!

– Pat”

Why not maximize YOUR chances of success and get my ShrinkinaBox Assertiveness Training System, which will give you many more ideas, insights and tools for dealing with difficult people confidently, assertively and effectively.

Live Powerfully!
Dr Mark

Mark Lauderdale MD FRCPC
Psychiatrist and Personal Effectiveness Coach

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