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How to deal with new boss that I think is a bully?(3 Posts)
Started a new job about 6 weeks ago. I'm enjoying the job, and the hours fit in well with my commitments, but from what I've seen so far my boss is a bully. I've come across a few bullies in the past and she behaves in the same way that they do. I know that sounds a bit silly but I've picked up on things that she says/does and they're similar to how bullies behave. I also know that the department has quite a high turnover of staff.
It's just things like her being nice one day and not nice the next, blaming me for mistakes that she's done, shouting me down if I try to speak up for myself and not listening to anything from anyone else's point of view. She will also do things that I think she does to let others know that SHE is the boss, such as contact me at home on my day off to ask me to make a phone call that she could easily make during the time it took her to email/phone me.
I know I need to put some boundaries down from the start with her, has anyone got any tips on this? I am quite good at rising above nasty behaviour in general but could do with putting a few boundaries in place.
How big is your organisation? Do you have an HR department? Who is her boss? And, of course, are you in a union?
From what you say her behaviour is certainly unprofessional, and yes, she does sound like a bully to me. You need a third person keeping an eye on the situation, and I'd recommend a union rep, because they're more likely that the other options to have your interests at heart, rather than just defending your line manager. On the other hand, if she's causing high turnover of staff, senior management/HR may be gunning for her anyway... It must be costing the employer a fortune in recruitment/handover/induction training etc!
You need to 1. Join a union if you decide that's appropriate, and ask for their help to.. 2. Look up your organisation's policies on bullying/harassment and conflict with line managers, 3. Decide who/how best to report your problem with your manager, 4. Continue to record all inappropriate communication behaviour from her... That should include (but isn't restricted to) a) calling you when you're off duty, including lunch breaks (it's ok for her to email you on a day off, if she doesn't expect you to deal with it until you're back at work); b) reprimanding you in front of colleagues; c) blaming you for her mistakes; d) not allowing your right to reply to criticism; e) micromanaging you to a degree inappropriate to your level of expertise... This will help you build a coherent case if it comes to a formal grievance. I'm afraid "nice one day and not nice the next" carries no weight at all unless you can back it up with clear examples of unprofessional behaviour.
What does your manager do? Is she managing deadlines? Lots of people/ projects? Is it a reactive industry?
Tbh it sounds like she is out of her depth and taking it out on you. Maybe she needs you to organise her workload for her. Think how exec director's pa's tell them what to do...
I'd set up a meeting to organise outstanding tasks, set deadlines. Take the minutes. Then get her to agree them put them in your task list in outlook (assuming you use outlook) let her have access to view but not edit your task list. Work to that and update her as you go. Any new task gets included. Always agree a deadline and always negotiate time scales.
If you don't trust her keep print outs for each week so you have a record of what you did. It will protect you against any capability crap she might throw at you.
Network around the firm. Develope a relationship with her superiors and peers on your own terms not just as her flunky. Raise your profile so nobody will believe her crap when she starts mudslinging.
I sympathise, I've had bosses like this. Good luck
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