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There is no easy way to handle a boss who is a bully, but early intervention may help, rather than staying quiet and waiting for things to turn peachy.
It was 8:15am. I had an international call scheduled at 8:30 am with the Project Architect in Palo Alto, CA. We had both attended the requirements meeting a week ago, where pilot customers dictated their requirements and we untangled technical difficulties and resolved project issues. I was the Indian Project Lead responsible for the development team sitting across the aisle.
8:20 am. I logged in the Goto Meeting site and kept the window open for the call. My notes for the call and print outs of documents with markups and comments were neatly stacked in front of me. It was an hour long call but one that would keep us working through the whole week so we had to ensure that the call was efficient and effective.
8:25 am. My manager walks in. We both nod and sip our coffee.
8:30am sharp the phone rings and my manager rushes to grab the phone, speaks privately and exchanges morning niceties. I’m left gaping. He takes my printouts and slides my notes and starts orchestrating the call. Halfway he switches the speaker phone and lets everybody know about my presence.
During the next year this was a regular occurrence. During an important discussion, my statements would be interrupted mid-sentence. My communications would never land on the intended inboxes because he was the single point connector who could choose to delete or forward mails. Even though I was technically proficient my decisions were shoved aside or often quoted as his suggestions.
Meanwhile I grew frustrated, agitated and depressed. At times I thought of quitting a job that I was extremely passionate about.
It turns out mine was. Working for a bully not only deteriorates your performance but also wreaks havoc on your professional life. Sometimes the stress can extend itself into your personal space as well. How do you identify these nefarious, covert yet rampant figures?
If you answered affirmatively for any of the above, you could very well be working for a bully boss in a tumultuous atmosphere that sucks the camaraderie and zeal from your workplace. Continuing to work under such circumstances could demotivate you and lead to extreme levels of anxiety. But this is not a coffee corner conversation.
Bullying is common from the playground to the workplace. It starts early and leads to exploitation. Confronting a bullying boss is not always successful but early intervention might work in your favor. Don’t just put up without a fight. In the end only you can decide if it’s truly worth it.
Pic credit: dgoomany (Used under a CC license)
Meera R Corera (@meeraramanathan) is a freelance writer and blogger focusing on all things India —
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