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how would you describe a work bully?

(17 Posts)
jvs Fri 12-Sep-08 16:05:21

A junior management person where I work has what you would call an 'assertive' personality. She regularily has staff in tears, is frustratingly controlling and refuses to accept that her ideas are not always the best (ideas given from often just as if not more experienced staff, only not in a management role). She moans about staff behind their back,puts people down in public and frequently changes the bounderies.
She is not specific to who she does this to but if you keep track of her she does tend to be worse with people like anything for a quiet life who hate to row!
There seems to be a fine line between what I would call bullying and just 'overly assertive' as in she goes about things in utterly the wrong way, puts peoples backs up and likes to be in control... that said the team seem to work alot more effectively when she is not in! Her attitude has been reported several times but always with the excuse of 'oh well,you know how she is,dont take it personally'. Problem is i am now taking it personally, dread working with her and am getting to the point of getting senior management involved!
Am not sure if i am over reacting, but then it cant be right that a work colleague should have the 'power' to reduce grown women to tears... should it?
I don't know, guess i always think of a bully being physical! What do you define a bully as?

ditheringdora Fri 12-Sep-08 16:18:03

I think what you've described is bullying behaviour. She's certainly not professional, in carping about people behind their backs, for example.
If she's reducing people to tears, then that's not acceptable, whether it is her "personality" or not.
Does she make you feel bullied? I think quite clearly she does, therefore she is.
How would you feel about approaching her on the issue -is there anyone who could be with you, for example or who feels the same? Make an appoinment with her so you won't back out, if you feel up to it?

WideWebWitch Fri 12-Sep-08 16:20:35

It is bullying and it is unacceptable. Mke a formal complaint but before you do document everything, dates, what happened, etc.

Take it to her manager, your manager and HR and insist they deal with it.

Andrea Adams Trust might help too,

WideWebWitch Fri 12-Sep-08 16:21:19

Don't go to her, go to her manager and your manager. If you have an HR dept they should take any allegation of bullying very seriously.

snigger Fri 12-Sep-08 16:22:17

I think to higher tiers of management the differentiation between bully and 'assertive' can often comes down to whether or not their methods appear to be productive, it depends so much on your employer.

If she's been reported before, and is renowned for this, I think the onus is maybe on you to leave behind the 'anything for a quiet life' and be prepared to stand your ground quietly but firmly and make sure you do everything by the book - then if she does behave inappropriately you have more chance of impressing the seriousness of the situation on her managers.

Grim for you, I had a terribly controlling yet flutteringly ineffective boss once ..... table-gnawingly infuriating.

milkmoustache Fri 12-Sep-08 16:24:20

Yep - definitely sounds like bullying to me. Sounds like a boss I had - whole experience took me back to school days and made me feel totally disempowered which was just horrible. She lied to all her staff, played one off against the other, lied to the trustees, and asked for all emails from me to the branch office to come to her as well just in case I told the people I was supposed to be line-managing anything negative about her. The whole experience was just awful and really upset me for a long time after. Definitely take it to a senior level - bullies must be stood up to.

foothesnoo Fri 12-Sep-08 16:25:13

If you're public sector they should have a bullying policy. If not there should still be a formal complaints procedure.

Write notes on any incidents that have happened and be as detailed as possible. If you have witnesses then even better.

Are you in a union? they should be able to give you advice.

jvs Fri 12-Sep-08 16:27:16

I feel bullied but..... i think it is also her personality, she is a very full on person and also hilariously funny at times.

when she goes off on one it is usually to get a job done,quite often a job that has already been done (perfectly well) just not how she would have done it. She has worked there for years and knows the place inside out so maybe she is justified in getting huffy if things arn't done her way.... but times change dont they?
I think you are right that we need to talk face on but she gets so defensive if you question anything about her that in the past i have just walked away thinking 'oh,maybe she is rightand i am wrong'!

wannaBe Fri 12-Sep-08 16:32:13

the only way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them, although it can be very hard when you're actually in the situation and they are your manager.

I had a horrible experience with a manager in my first job, she told me I would never be promoted because I had a disability, she arranged team lunches that were in pubs that were only within driving distance of the office and then told me I would be unreasonable to expect anyone to giive me a lift as I couldn't possibly expect anyone to want my guide dog in their car, and suggested I would be able to go if I left the dog in the office, and so the list goes on.

Someone did report her on my behalf, but by then I was leaving anyway (not because of her but to move to another town) so didn't bother pursuing it.

Also I was much younger then but now I would probably have taken it much further.

Time to stop doing things for a quiet life and start standing up for yourself.


MrsSchadenfreude Fri 12-Sep-08 16:47:10

Agree with WWW. She may not think she is bullying, but if you feel bullied, then that is what counts. I am holding my mentee's hand through something similar at the moment, where the bully's line manager won't hear a word said against the bully. She went to the uber boss and has threatened to resign, and as they lost her predecessor to stress, brought on by bullying hmm - funny that - they have suddenly woken up to the fact that there may be a problem and are finally listening to her.

jvs Fri 12-Sep-08 16:54:13

thanks so much everyone!!! Really helpful. And sad to here there are so many bullies out there! Will get my note book out and start writing down things that are said and 'implied'!
I have always been quite confident in my work environment and in myself but she does leave you feeling like all you do is a crap job! And it is horrible!
I am in the public sector so will have a read of the policy on bullying, and ask around to see if anyone else will support me. Now i feel a bit of a bully asking everyone to say the bad stuff about her!I would be gutted if anyone thought i was a bully.

WideWebWitch Fri 12-Sep-08 16:56:16

She may be too. If no-one's ever told her about it maybe she genuinely doesn't realise or really does think it's acceptable. She needs someone to tell her what she's doing wrong and how she needs to change.

Don't involve anyone else. It's about how she has treated you.

WideWebWitch Fri 12-Sep-08 16:57:34

And I can tell you I had to deal with a bully at work a while back (she reported to me) and while lots of people were scared of her there was NOTHING I could do until someone made it formal. I don't mean by writing it down, I mean people were telling me awful stuiff but saying "I want this kept cofidential" but that meant I couldn't do ANYTHING!

Podrick Fri 12-Sep-08 17:02:27

This is not an assertive personality at all. Bullying is a different thing entirely. ACAS are good to talk to about bullying.

The moment you stand up to a bully you will probably feel better about yourself...but bullying at work is extremely difficult to deal with and you should get some professional support rather than trying to handle it on your own.

Good luck!

Janey68 Sat 13-Sep-08 09:57:12

Definitely bullying. Unfortunely some people get promoted into positions of management which they don't actually have the skills for. They then end up bullying other people - because excessive control, belittling others, not following processes professionally - IS bullying. An effective, strong manager does not need to bully. Ineffectual and weak ones do. Do not accept it. I will be hard, but make a stand. This is HER problem and lack of ability to do her job properly, not yours

Lemontart Sat 13-Sep-08 10:18:01

y bullying. You can deal with this today and write a letter to management or you can carry on going to work every day next week and the next feeling tied up in knots, seeing others upset and humiliated by this woman until you or someone else is prepared to stand up and do something. ]Be brave and do it sooner rather than later. The end result will be the same so control the time scale on this yourself and act carefully, formally, but quickly. Good luck x

deste Tue 16-Sep-08 21:42:22

I worked in a department that was run by a bully. He thought the management were impressed that he got results. Four managers had breakdowns but no-one did anything about it.

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