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I think I am being bullied by my manager

(18 Posts)
freeish Sat 30-Aug-14 10:09:35

I work term time only in NHS and am a single mum. The summer hols are coming to an end and I am dreading returning to work. I feel physically sick, anxiety attacks and poor sleep. I am tearful and when I do sleep work related themes are in my dreams. I have had my current line manager for about a year and have been to the area lead twice about her and to request to be managed by someone else. He is basically dismissive and has told me its a 'personality clash' and to get on with. He says she is the only one available to manage me. He actually manages the other colleague in my small team.

I have considered going to HR or my union but she is very clever and there is nothing concrete I can actually complain about apart from a few personal comments. It is what she says but also tone of voice, veiled threats, manipulation, constant questioning, complete rigidity and adherence to policy and procedure. She regularly reduces me to tears in supervision and is both patronising and undermining. She micro-manages me (I am the only person she manages) and is obsessive and controlling. She spends time constructing charts relating to my clinical work and admin tasks for instance. She constantly checks up on me. I used to love my work but now my confidence is rock bottom. I am even considering going off sick because I can't deal with it and it feels like there is no support within the organisation. My qualification is the culmination of 9 years training and I have worked in my post for ten years but I am ready to give it up and walk away. Just writing this is bringing me to tears. I feel so trapped and powerless. What should I do?

Stealthpolarbear Sat 30-Aug-14 10:14:21

Kep a diary of actual events then raise a grievance. Are you in a union?

Stealthpolarbear Sat 30-Aug-14 10:15:49

Sorry wasn't being sneery with the 'actual events' comment I know exactly what you mean about the overall atmosphere. But if you raise a grievance you need to be able to say on x day you called me in to show a chart you'd made of my work etc etc

Timeforabiscuit Sat 30-Aug-14 10:18:21

God that sounds awful! How is she measured in her performance as a manager? Is the monitoring a legitimate part of your onward assessment? To be honest regularly reducing someone to tears should flag to her that she needs to adapt her management style, if she can't do this she shouldn't be a manager.

If your at this point, you must go through formal HR - just what your opening post said made my blood run cold - do you have a paper trail or timeline about how this has developed.

Definitely get union support if its helpful.

HermioneWeasley Sat 30-Aug-14 10:21:54

Agree with stealth - if she's reducing you to tears then something wrong with her approach, but you're going to need specifics. Keep a diary so you can be really specific about incidents, words, tone of voice etc. and then complain to HR

freeish Sat 30-Aug-14 10:25:17

I have recorded some events but there isn't much 'hard evidence' - that is my difficulty, everything she does is framed within her role in managing me. When I have tried to discuss this with her and my area lead I am made to feel that it is me that has the problem and she is 'just doing her job'. It is difficult to record body language, tone of voice, facial expression etc. She can justify everything she does i think.

flowery Sat 30-Aug-14 11:11:47

Are you looking for another job in the meantime? Nothing wrong with raising a grievance but I do think you also need to be realistic about how much she is likely to change as a result, and bearing in mind you've already complained to the person who it sounds is most likely to hear the grievance.
I'm not saying don't raise a grievance, and others have given good advice about what to do, but I think you need a plan B.

freeish Sat 30-Aug-14 11:29:14

Thanks flowery - I have been looking for another job but what I do is not being supported much in the NHS at the moment with the financial restrictions facing Trusts. Most posts are not being re-filled when people leave and I actually think there is an agenda regarding my post - that my manager would prefer to see a different type of clinician being paid my wages. One that fits her view of what is preferable and useful to the service ( she comes from a very different clinical background to me).

I have just been reading about the result of bullying grievances in the workplace and it confirms what I suspect which is that the person in authority is often believed over the victim. I don't know if I am up to dealing with a grievance procedure. I think a plan B is a more positive route. Bullying is endemic in the NHS in my experience.

Stealthpolarbear Sat 30-Aug-14 11:29:39

Yes I agree. Only raise a grievance if you feel up to it, as you say she's making sure she can justify everything.
As well as looking for another job are there any opportunities you could express an interest in, secondments etc?

Stealthpolarbear Sat 30-Aug-14 11:31:03

X post sad

LadySybilLikesCake Sat 30-Aug-14 11:33:46

Bullying doesn't need to be one major event, it can be little bits which eat at you, which looks like what's happening here. Write them all down before you do anything, then raise a grievance if you feel OK to do this.

thanks < for you x

freeish Sat 30-Aug-14 11:35:31

Thanks Stealth, the only thing I can think of at the moment is to try going self employed and do a mixture of private work and creative stuff. It would mean an end to any kind of financial security but could work. I need to rebuild my self confidence a bit first. I am due to return to work next Thursday and at the moment I don't know how I am going to get myself there.

Thanks to all for the replies, it helps.

flowery Sat 30-Aug-14 12:44:33

The most important thing I think is for you to take some control back, as in any difficult situation feeling that you are not in control makes it 10x worse IMO.

So think long term. Take time to consider what long term outcome you want for yourself. Then think about what is standing in the way of that. Then think up a plan to remove those barriers, and practical steps you can take to address anything that you need to in order to get where you want to be long term.

Once you have a plan in place, however long term it might be, you have taken back some control over your situation and your future, and in the meantime the problems you are having do feel easier to deal with.

In the meantime do make sure you write everything down as others have said, but I think you need a dual approach here, and I think the sense that you are doing something, anything, towards improving your situation will help you enormously.

freeish Sat 30-Aug-14 16:12:48

Flowery that is sound advice I think. If I could know that this wasn't going to be a permanent situation it would make it easier. Your post has made me realise that I need to take some control back in other aspects of my life as well as my career.

flowery Sat 30-Aug-14 17:46:33


Best of luck

HippityHoppityLaLaLa Sun 31-Aug-14 21:02:11

Have you thought about finding someone to mentor you? I have no idea if the NHS offers this in any formal way. Some schemes help pair mentors and mentees up. If there is no formal scheme, there is nothing to stop you approaching anyone, someone you think can provide a sounding board for you and provide a different perspective. Mentoring can provide a lot of support if you find the right person for you. Might help you a) deal with this person better in the short term; and b) help you work out a long-term solution that's right for you.

Sounds tough for you right now.

Muddle2000 Fri 05-Sep-14 16:54:51

Is there any way you could prove you are being bullied due to age gender working pattern race etc because if you are you could get a good payout

Amammi Sun 07-Sep-14 21:39:12

Sorry to hear that you are having this problem
Not sure if there is anything in this article which might help you. have a read you might get some tips.

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