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Is Your Boss a Bully?

May 19, 2017

When your coworker is a bully you can generally turn to your boss for assistance, but what do you do when your boss is the bully?

Harris Interactive and Career Builder did a nationwide study and found that 35 percent of workers have been bullied at work. It isn’t uncommon for coworkers to bully one another, but studies show that more often than not it’s bosses who bully their employees. Other experts have estimated that 72 percent of workplace bullies outrank their targets.

The reason bosses bully their employees vary. It may be a behavior that they have always had. Or to may be a twisted tool they use to keep the devotion of other employees. Some managers take their anger and frustrations out on their employees, because they are easy targets. Others believe that “tough love” is required for a successful work environment. Whatever the reasons, the methods that the bosses use to bully others can be harsh and degrading.

Many bullied employees have reported psychological harassment and verbal intimidation. In the Career Builder study, 42 percent of bullied workers were falsely accused of making mistakes. Thirty-nine percent were ignored entirely, and 36 percent were judged by a different set of standards. Victims also reported that their bullies gossiped about them, stole credit for their work, and picked on them because of their “personal attributes.” Whatever method bullies use on their victims it can have harmful affects.

Having a bully for a boss can have devastating consequences. Workplace bullying has been linked to nausea, diarrhea, stress, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, eating disorders, heart disease, and even suicide. Furthermore bullying isn’t just bad for your health; it’s also bad for business. Having a bully for a boss can also lead to high turnover, increased employee absences, low production, reduced workplace comradery, and hiring difficulties. These work and health consequences can make it difficult for victims to cope.

Some victims manage with the abuse by going out of their way to avoid their boss, while others quit their jobs altogether. Coping, instead of finding a mindful solution can make the health consequences worse. Instead, consider documenting the incidents and going to your human resource department for help. No matter what you decide remember that you deserve a stress-free and mindful working experience. Remember to take care of yourself.

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