Abusive Bosses: When Enough Is Enough

By Paula Santonocito

Even if a person hasn’t been directly affected by a boss’ abusive behavior, most workers have witnessed or heard about various types of workplace abuse.

The most common forms of supervisor abuse, according to the ELA survey, are:

–          Making a sarcastic joke or teasing remark about you/co-worker

–          Criticizing your/co-worker’s performance in front of co-workers

–          Interrupting you/co-worker in a rude manner

–          Giving you/co-worker a dirty look

–          Raising his/her voice/yelling at you/co-worker

–          Ignoring you/co-worker as if you/he/she was invisible

–          Personally insulting you/co-worker

–          Demeaning/embarrassing you/co-worker in person/by email

–          Spreading rumors/inappropriately sharing confidential information about you/co-worker

Been There

If you’re nodding as you read this, you’ve obviously been there.

The boss in question is hopefully a memory; but even so, you probably remember the experience in great detail.

Abusive bosses create extremely unpleasant work environments. They also zap employees’ energy and have the potential to negatively impact self-esteem.

While working for the abusive boss, you may have found a way to deal with the situation. Perhaps you transferred to another department within the same company. Maybe you got a job elsewhere. Or the boss might have moved on.

Still, people tend to look back on these situations wishing they’d taken a stand against the abuse.

How would you handle the situation if it were to occur now?

More importantly, how do you handle an abusive boss if this is your first encounter with such a being?

Taking Charge

In her book, “Toxic People: Decontaminate Difficult People at Work Without Using Weapons or Duct Tape,” Marsha Petrie Sue offers insight into toxic personality types and advice on how to deal with them.