What Should I do if my Boss is a Bully?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2019
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Getting up and going to work everyday is hard enough for many people, but a difficult boss can make things even harder. Many workplace bullies tend to pick out just one or two people to harass, and a bully boss usually uses his power to take advantage of or otherwise demean his subordinates, people he believes can not defend themselves. There are a few things that you can do if your boss is a bully. First, do not take the things that he says to heart, and never stoop to his level or try to get your co-workers to side with you, as this only makes the situation worse. Do your job well, and try to confront your boss, if possible, or speak with someone who is higher up than he is.

If your boss is a bully, chances are you have been demeaned and insulted enough to start to believe what is coming out of his mouth. One of the first things that you need to keep in mind in a hostile workplace is that no one can make you feel like a piece of garbage unless you let them. Keep in mind that you are a good and hard worker, and know your worth.


Many times, an angry boss will yell, scream, and otherwise try to humiliate his workers. Although it may be tempting, never yell back. This can exacerbate the situation, usually making it worse. Not only does yelling at your boss make you look bad, it can also give him a reason to fire you.

Chances are, if you have a bullying supervisor, you probably know what triggers him. For example, there may be certain little things that can set him off. If at all possible, in a hostile work environment, it is best to avoid these little triggers, even if they seem insignificant.

Do not try to persuade your co-workers to side with you or see your side of the story. Most likely, they have already seen or noticed what is going on, and they have drawn their own conclusions. Many of them may have even been targets themselves. Trying to persuade them that the boss is a bully can make you seem pushy. One or two of them may even report the things you say to the boss, making the bullying worse.

One of the best things that you can do if your boss is a bully is your job. Try not to go against his wishes, unless they are against the law or your morals. If he is bullying you, he may be looking for a reason to fire you, and being insubordinate can give him a reason to do so.

Confronting your boss takes a lot of gumption, if your boss is a bully. If you decide to do this, be sure to do it in a private setting, away from co-workers. His office or your office are perfect for this. When confronting him, point out the consequences of his bullying. For example, he makes you nervous, and in turn, you may not do your job as well as you could. Point out that he could use constructive criticism instead.

As a last result, you can talk with the human resources department or another boss who is higher up, and point out that your boss is a bully. This is usually an option in larger companies, but should be used as a last resource. In some cases, it could make things worse between you and your boss.

If all else fails, you may have to look for another job. Sacrificing your sanity and mental health is not worth working for a boss who's a bully. Instead of using your boss as a reference, you can use co-workers who realize your potential and know how hardworking you are as references.


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Discuss this Article

Post 10

Download the Bully Block App and record their behavior.

Post 9

Always take them to court.

Post 8

It is not worth your mental health. I stayed too long at a job and developed a drinking problem, which I was able to kick, once I left.

Post 7

This answer makes me sick. How dare you try to keep someone confined and under his attack? Is this place purgatory where you're talking about? An abuser will only bring in more pain, tears and woes, not to mention lowering company morale.

First of all, if you feel threatened and HR turns a blind eye, file a police report. Document everything and always make sure you are never alone with this fool!

If you know you are doing your job well and have good company rapport, then continue doing well and shoo the pesky fly away. If HR doesn't listen, take a stand and go further up the ladder.

Post 6

This is really lame advice. Do not hesitate to stand up for yourself. Trust your instincts. If it doesn't feel right, take a stand!

Post 5

What about when the boss is not an angry boss, but he is such a nice boss that he lets everybody do whatever they want? And that is why in this case I'm being not bullied, but rather being bossed around by people who do not have the competence to do boss me around. That is why I think it would be a good idea to bully my boss out so that the other employees would be afraid of me and would leave me alone, or at least a tougher boss would replace him and the other employees would have to follow his rules.

Post 4

@anon275956: Bullies can certainly be of any gender. However, as a writer, I understand that using the him/her, he/she transition all the time can be tedious. I honestly think it is understood that bullies come in both genders. It's just much less awkward to write a short article of this nature using completely gender-inclusive language.

Post 3

Bosses are not always a man. In this article the boss is referred to as male more than once. Just saying!

Post 2

Unfortunately you can not change or cure the underlying psychological issues of an abuser. To protect your own mental health, you need to put up "walls" if you plan on staying at your current place of employment. Many states are now passing anti bullying statutes for the workplace.

Lindy M.

Post 1

This article is yet another passive answer to the problem of angry bosses in the workplace. The angry bosses should be held accountable for their behavior.

The subordinate should not have to go out and seek employment elsewhere. He/she is probably more the victim of the abuse. the latest scapegoat of the angry boss. That is the person who needs to be looked at. By diverting the issue, just leaving. The boss still is able to keep up the bad behavior, and I say enough of that.

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