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Bully boss - Help needed to prepare for a horrific meeting on Monday
39

PIPERHELLO · 28/02/2020 11:53

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.

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nevertrustaninja · 28/02/2020 11:56

Have you spoken to HR?

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BuzzShitbagBobbly · 28/02/2020 11:58

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.

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AnneJeanne · 28/02/2020 12:03

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!

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UYScuti · 28/02/2020 12:04

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 🙈

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PIPERHELLO · 28/02/2020 12:14

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.

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PIPERHELLO · 28/02/2020 12:15

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.

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UYScuti · 28/02/2020 12:17

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?

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UYScuti · 28/02/2020 12:19

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

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Hoppinggreen · 28/02/2020 12:20

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

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Sunshinegirl82 · 28/02/2020 12:20

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

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Boredbumhead · 28/02/2020 12:21

Is there a dignity and respect policy?

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PIPERHELLO · 28/02/2020 12:23

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.

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PIPERHELLO · 28/02/2020 12:24

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

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Jojoanna · 28/02/2020 12:24

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

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BasiliskStare · 28/02/2020 12:30

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

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Blueuggboots · 28/02/2020 12:33

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

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PIPERHELLO · 28/02/2020 12:34

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

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UYScuti · 28/02/2020 12:39

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?

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CloudsCanLookLikeSheep · 28/02/2020 12:40

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

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nigel009 · 28/02/2020 12:40

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.

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ChainsawBear · 28/02/2020 12:47

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?

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Waterandlemonjuice · 28/02/2020 12:54

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.

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Awks · 28/02/2020 13:04

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

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Craftycorvid · 28/02/2020 13:37

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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PIPERHELLO · 28/02/2020 13:45

Thanks so much all.

In answer to some of your comments:

  1. I can deal with him and even have a semi decent relationship 121 - I just call him out and refuse to use his title (it is very patriarchal and I feel quite demeaning to me, can't say what it is otherwise I may out myself). It's when others are involved that I feel obliged to use his title - I think he would try and get rid of me if I didn't do this, it is a big deal to him
  2. The 'charity' is an old boys network like you could never imagine. They are all completely complicit. I have seen at least 2 if not 3 members of staff forced out, and even though it has been dreadfully done, no one stood up, none of the Board etc. it is a very very tightly bound group of individuals (again hard to explain why without outing) - institution type stuff. It is horrendous and I cannot believe it exists in 2020, but it does.
  3. It is not so much that I am going to be upset by the meeting - I don't have any respect for him, so he doesn't really scare me as such, and I can let his shouting bounce off - it's just I want to be able to handle it well, and leave the meeting with both integrity and dignity, and a good working relationship with the colleagues also attending, which I know he will make nigh-on impossible.
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