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Bully boss - Help needed to prepare for a horrific meeting on Monday

(40 Posts)
PIPERHELLO Fri 28-Feb-20 11:53:20

Hello all. I have an awful boss - a complete bully. An older man, very old fashioned and just awful generally. I have learnt to 'handle' him by basically standing up to him, which works Ok in a 1-2-1 setting, but is very tricky when there are others present as he operates by divine others and 'demanding' respect - for example he is titled and so insists for example that employees call him TITLE NAME. grin The patriarchy at its finest!!
On Monday, he has called me and three colleagues in for a meeting. I know this will be horrific because he will basically shout / be rude to us all, and because of the dynamic it generally ends up being (from others, not me) 'every woman / man for themselves'. He does everything to drive a wedge and nothing to bring us together.
I am just dreading Monday. I want no part in being turned against my colleagues, but also don't feel I can properly stand up to him in front of others. The other two women are nice enough, but will I know resort to 'scrapping' and throwing others under the bus so to speak so I can't bank on them behaving as I would hope for.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I feel like coming up with an excuse not to be in the meeting ATM, which I know is not the answer.

OP’s posts: |
nevertrustaninja Fri 28-Feb-20 11:56:39

Have you spoken to HR?

BuzzShitbagBobbly Fri 28-Feb-20 11:58:30

Take a large glass of water in with you and drink from that if you need to catch a breath.

And also use silence. Do not feel obliged to yabber on to fill a gap.

Wrote copious notes - dual benefit of giving you time to think and also makes him realise you are recording events.

AnneJeanne Fri 28-Feb-20 12:03:18

Can you tell lord fawquaad to fawquaad off? Obviously you would need to find another job, but if at all possible you should stand up to him. I know this isn’t helpful at all, but I hate bullying bosses! Best of luck, OP!

UYScuti Fri 28-Feb-20 12:04:11

Take a large glass of water in
I thought you were going to say 'and then throw it at him'🤭
I like the idea of using silence what about a bit of Paddington staring?
Apologies for joking about it, sounds dreadful 🙈

PIPERHELLO Fri 28-Feb-20 12:14:33

I wish I could. There is no HR person really. It is a small, weird, autonomous 'charity'. They pay some HR constancy I think to help them with the occasional legal HR issue that gets thrown at them, but there is no one to help employees with HR issues.
God it's so awful.

OP’s posts: |
PIPERHELLO Fri 28-Feb-20 12:15:40

Yes, the water glass is a good idea...for drinking only of course!! ;)
yes good point re. silence. I must pause and not fill.
And notes, yes VERY good point.

Thank you. This is very helpful.

OP’s posts: |
UYScuti Fri 28-Feb-20 12:17:35

Sounds like the power has gone to his head, maybe just humour him safe in the knowledge that he will get his comeuppance one day?

UYScuti Fri 28-Feb-20 12:19:13

Keep your voice low try not to do any 'rising inflection'

Hoppinggreen Fri 28-Feb-20 12:20:12

Take a pad
Everytime he says anything shitty conspicuously make a note
Don’t fill silences or get defensive- let everyone else do that. If anyone tries to throw you under the bus just calmly say “really, why do you think that” ( or whatever else is appropriate). If he shouts over you stay quiet until he finishes but then still say silent. Then after a few seconds ask if it’s your turn to speak now or if you are feeling brave ask if he wants you to answer or whether he just called you there to be shouted at
Good luck, if all else fails hold up an imaginary sign that says “fuck off cockwomble”. I’ve done that a few times when I couldn’t say what I wanted and it helped me. Think of him as a stroppy toddler rather than an angry man

Sunshinegirl82 Fri 28-Feb-20 12:20:20

What is the meeting for? To allocate tasks for a new project? To review a previous project and identify issues/learning points?

Boredbumhead Fri 28-Feb-20 12:21:48

Is there a dignity and respect policy?

PIPERHELLO Fri 28-Feb-20 12:23:26

Thanks all.

The meeting is ostensibly to plan for an upcoming event.
In reality I believe that he is shitting himself about this event and wants to shout at others and generally rant as an outlet for his anger and frustration.
He is not good at delegating. All decisions are made by him or have to be approved by him. So as a consequence it is hard to get stuff done.

OP’s posts: |
PIPERHELLO Fri 28-Feb-20 12:24:02

Is there a dignity and respect policy? - hahahahaha! No! I'm not sure he would know what the hell one of those is!

OP’s posts: |
Jojoanna Fri 28-Feb-20 12:24:29

I would ask for a member of HR or a neutral member of staff from another team to attend

BasiliskStare Fri 28-Feb-20 12:30:02

I think just making notes of everything is a very basic ( in a good way ) but very helpful idea - include ( obviously his comments )

Blueuggboots Fri 28-Feb-20 12:33:40

CN you speak to the other members if staff before hand and make a plan?

PIPERHELLO Fri 28-Feb-20 12:34:33

@Blueuggboots I had wanted to do that, but sadly I don't think we will have time....I think that would have been ideal.

OP’s posts: |
UYScuti Fri 28-Feb-20 12:39:57

Stay silent until he finishes. Then after a few seconds ask
Making him wait like that is quite a good power move/ dominance technique.
He sounds like a complete liability though, can you look for ways to covertly expose how useless he is in the hopes of getting rid of him completely?

CloudsCanLookLikeSheep Fri 28-Feb-20 12:40:02

Take a large glass of water in and accidentally on purpose knock it over in his direction?

nigel009 Fri 28-Feb-20 12:40:19

Sadly 'titles' do not make the man. You are in the company of others which is to your advantage because you have witnesses. I have participated in LinkedIN groups about bullying - it is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE. You could all write a memo describing the meeting and outcomes. If you can, I would suggest you record the meeting - then approach a Union for advice etc. I would be happy to 'talk' to him on your behalf - a meeting which would be as unpleasant for him as it would be distasteful for me. Evidence of his behaviour to your stakeholders should be enough. If it got out that your charity was complicit in retaining an individual who abused his colleagues they wouldn't continue to exist. You are a victim but there's no need to be punished for it. Go in strong - you are in the 'right'. I don't underestimate the task. You have a lot of support here and, I am sure, at home.

ChainsawBear Fri 28-Feb-20 12:47:22

Visualise yourself sat in a big plastic bubble while his shouting simply bounces off. Practically speaking, just focus on listening and understanding his batshittery and thank him for sharing his POV at the end. Most importantly, get another job. I'm assuming you're already looking?

Waterandlemonjuice Fri 28-Feb-20 12:54:00

Take a notepad
Keep calm
Don’t rise to any provocation
Agree actions and whose responsibility each one is
Agree deadlines for those actions

If he is aggressive, abusive, unprofessional or rude you are within your rights to say “I don’t think this is professional / I don’t like the way you are speaking to me and I am going to leave the meeting now”

Nobody should be spoken to like that at work. Good luck.

Awks Fri 28-Feb-20 13:04:45

Show him what's just happened to the Alzheimer's Society's outgoing boss?

Craftycorvid Fri 28-Feb-20 13:37:49

Are you unionised? If so, get a rep’ there. Seek advice from ACAS too. I’d even consider recording on your phone for future evidence( and absolutely take notes/confirm all decisions in writing).

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