Tuesday, 27 July 2010


This post is about something I read and is particularly pertinent after the day I've just had...

How do you 'handle' a power hungry boss?

My boss is on a serious 'power trip', and treats us minions like little children; talking down to us, blatantly lying to us and generally making us feel like we are his little slaves.

He is currently putting me under a lot of pressure, and I'm getting more and more wound up and angry about the situation. Being a relatively placid, non-confrontational person I find it really difficult to challenge him and tell him some home truths about the way he treats me and my colleagues, and basically say that he's asking too much of me. Some of my colleagues have challenged him for the exact same reasons, but seem to get nowhere. He has a way of getting what he wants and giving nothing back, and you only realise when you've walked away that you've 'been had' again! He really isn't a very nice person, (in the office, at least!).

Can anyone suggest how I could, either pluck up the courage to confront him or, subtly make him realise I can't cope with the pressure anymore. Long question, sorry!


Robert Mueller, the author of Bullying Bosses: A Survivor’s Guide, is an experienced lawyer who apparently survived frequent bullying behavior under a variety of trying circumstances. Today, he counsels clients who have been targeted for abusive treatment by predator bosses lurking unchecked in our workplaces. The book breaks down many of the “faces” of bullying (e.g., demeaning, ranting, lying, hypercritical, controlling, self-righteous, gloating, sexist, homophobic, moralistic, self-serving) and attributes ascribed to bullying bosses (e.g., narcissistic, cold, uncaring, anti-social, sadistic, power hungry, status-conscious).

The book repeats a cautionary theme that bullying bosses calculate, select, and plan attacks on vulnerable employee targets. When outrageous attacks occur, targeted employees are so shocked, confused, humiliated, and threatened, they process the attacks internally. They respond as if they had really done something wrong outside the bullying supervisor’s expectations and trumped up concerns about lost time, work goals, company productivity, and comprised bottom-lines. Bullying bosses have vulnerabilities which a prospective “victim” needs to understand and, over time, be able to shape their work behavior more confidently and judiciously.

According to Mueller, bullies attack with preconceived, deliberate intent and planning, The bully’s goal is to demonstrate power and control over the employee, usually with little or no factual basis for “dumping on” the target. A targeted employee’s immediate response is to take it, recoil, and flee this perceived “Ring of Fire.” Later, a victimized employee may seek solace and support from coworkers, friends, and family by retelling painful abusive experiences. Mueller claims victimized employee’s storytelling often appears to others confused, dramatic, and too extreme to be believed. Coworkers minimize and discount it in different ways. They may deny the core premise and withdraw contact, possibly for fear of association with a target and fear of a similar fate. Others may brush it off as an isolated event or allege a personality conflict between the supervisor and employee. Many will implicitly blame the victim for the incident and become critical of the employee’s naivete about the job and workplace realities.



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