Viewing 29 posts - 1 through 29 (of 29 total)
  • How to tell your boss they’re a bit of a bully
  • Pieface
    Full Member

    My Manager is a bit of a grumpy old thing who often tends to pick in individuals in team meetings. Team meetings are often one way affairs, she steers most of the conversation to talk about herself, and any new ideas are often undermined, even if it contradicts previous positions. She changes her mind frequently. She hasn’t heard of ‘don’t shoot the messenger’.
    She asks me for feedback (I’m a Team Leader) in one to ones about why do I think the stem Meetings are ineffective. I’m feeling ready to say she could be more supportive of staff and take more time to listen?
    She also can’t delegate the simplest of tasks, thinks she’s an amazing facilitator and won’t let anyone grow in to more independent positions. She’s looking for a successor as she wants to retire in a couple of years.

    shermer75
    Free Member

    Not sure if you’re going to win that battle, tbh!

    oldtennisshoes
    Full Member

    She’s looking for a successor as she wants to retire in a couple of years.

    Save your breath.

    Poopscoop
    Full Member

    I’d mention to her that your ringtone for her is the Imperial March and go from there.

    Kryton57
    Full Member

    If you actually want to help, then ask that question then be polite but assertive. It often helps to plan the conversation in advance. E.g.

    “I appreciate you asking my opinion, and I have some thoughts if you’re happy to hear them?”

    Then put them to her in a polite way that doesn’t appear to undermine E.g. “The team would feel more motivated that – should one of their ideas be taken on board – the company might thank the team / individual publically at the next meeting”

    Always with these people it’s about massaging their ego and making them looking good rather than going head to head.

    If she’s not receptive, go oldtennisshoes route.

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    intheborders
    Free Member

    She’s looking for a successor as she wants to retire in a couple of years.

    Is she the owner?

    If just a Manager she’s probably got little/no influence in her successor – you want to be talking to HER boss about the issue.

    BillMC
    Full Member

    Couch your recommendations as though the aim is to benefit her and enhance her great team leadership skills, ‘they will love you for this’ etc. Nothing worse than a bully at work, they cause stress, animosity and underperformance. She sounds deeply insecure and therefore aggressively defensive.

    fazzini
    Full Member

    Radical candor

    Worth a view

    hammy7272
    Free Member

    Yeah, if she’s off in a couple of years. I wouldn’t rock the boat.

    Pieface
    Full Member

    Thanks, I think I’ll work with her to shape me as her successor. If my staff complain then I’ll take it up with them, otherwise I’ll keep a lid on it and stick it out. If she asks me directly then I’ll be subtle. We have a 121 in a couple of days and I’ll plan the conversation (unless it gets cancelled for some obscure reason).

    thestabiliser
    Free Member

    You are Kwasi Kwarteng AICMFP

    hels
    Free Member

    Ask her if she is up for participating in one of the 360 degree review things. I did it once many years ago on a middle manager training program. You survey all the people in your reporting line and selected others you work with for honest anonymous feedback curated a bit by the set up of the survey. It is difficult (given most people’s tendency to focus on the negative feedback) but a very British was of doing things I think?

    I found it super useful and listened to it very hard – but then I hope I have some self-awareness – your boss sounds like a total narcissist.

    MSP
    Full Member

    “Have you ever noticed how your shoes are always wet and smell of urine? Thats because everyone hates you”

    DT78
    Free Member

    Its nice you want to try and improve things. If they are retiring in a couple of years, I could be wrong, but highly likely to have entrenched views and behaviours from 40+ years in the workplace. Old dog new tricks. It going to be really hard and probably painful to make a big change

    I had a really toxic boss for a couple of years. In the end it was best to keep quiet. Engaging with them was like feeding a fire. They just got worse. The way to take her power away was to just stop talking to her and make it very one way. In fact thats what most of the org did and they ended up being moved on shortly after everyone had had enough

    As a line manager you do have a duty to try a protect your people from the stress generated by your boss so I’d be looking to try and minimise engagement if you can – a ‘fire break’ (see what I did there)

    And don’t fall for the I’m looking for a successor carrot, its generally bollox and its the sign of a weak manager trying to get some influence over you without using the usual stick.

    fossy
    Full Member

    360 feedbacks are quite hard – we’ve done one recently for our line manager. Main issues has been few meetings and or lack of dissemination of information.

    A few years back, one of our senior Managers had all the Heads of Department on a series of professional development days, lead by a couple of facilitators. What this did manage to establish, is that, whilst everyone really respected the boss, she would be a right grump, apportioning blame etc etc, but this usually stemmed from them being at a senior manager’s group meetings. I think she took it as a bit of a shock, but she made a number of changes, we never had our management meeting after her senior meeting – always a day later, and she took on board the feedback in the way she dealt with people. She was great after that.

    Someone needs to be prepared to change, and that doesn’t sound like the OP’s manager.

    Edukator
    Free Member

    She sounds more insecure than bully. The status quo seems to be working, salery is paid, not under threat. More important things to think about such as plans for the weekend.

    chakaping
    Free Member

    People like this can change IME, not always of course, but it sounds from your OP that you know exactly what to say.

    What do you have to lose by saying it though?

    You are Kwasi Kwarteng AICMFP

    Olly
    Free Member

    She asks me for feedback

    I wouldnt pussy foot about it too much.

    She’s asked.
    Tell her.

    You can be polite, and you can have your critique pre bullet pointed so nothing gets dropped, but if she getts arsey about it you can remind her that she asked!

    If you are concerned about your own welfare (which you reasonably could be) then request that another equal or more senior manager sits in, OR following the meeting agree that you will summarise by email and that you will copy it in to her an equal or more senior for completeness.

    Keep good notes, just on the offchance (unlikely i would hope) that you need to do them for unfair dismissal in 6 months!

    If she doesnt know, she cant act on it. While it might need to be handled quite formally, it can only be a positive thing overall.

    martinhutch
    Full Member

    She asks me for feedback (I’m a Team Leader) in one to ones about why do I think the stem Meetings are ineffective.

    Has she volunteered why she thinks the meetings are ineffective?

    From what you’ve described, direct criticism won’t work, but positive reinforcement and example-setting might.

    It might be worth turning it around to talk about how you feel staff retention is critical to effectiveness, and that you’ve been going out of your way to encourage a positive, productive atmosphere in meetings – with the unspoken implication that there is a risk that people will start leaving if meetings are hostile.

    Cougar
    Full Member

    Has she volunteered why she thinks the meetings are ineffective?

    This. Turn it back on her.

    > “Why do you think the stem meetings are ineffective?”

    > “Well, do you have any thoughts as to why that might be?”

    Either she’ll already know and you can agree with her, or she’s oblivious in which case there’s probably nothing positive that you can do.

    DaveyBoyWonder
    Free Member

    Introduce her to a set of Bombers

    twinw4ll
    Free Member

    Is she fit?

    Cougar
    Full Member

    Is she fit?

    She’s nearing retirement age.

    #NoKinkShaming

    didnthurt
    Full Member

    I’ve taken a couple of old boss’s to one side before to explain how their behaviour can be taken by others. I’ve tended to do this when out walking with them, either around site (I work in construction) or when walking to the shop at lunch. I don’t expect an explanation back, I just leave it there to allow it to sink in. Seems to have worked as in each case their behaviour did improve, even if only marginally.

    Bull headed boss types are used to getting their own way, if you go head to head with them then they will automatically fight back and dig their heels in. Best to carefully and gently steer them in the right direction.

    Good luck.

    bjhedley
    Full Member

    Slyly and anonymously via HR… 😉

    Spin
    Free Member

    If you really want to take this on then challenge the behaviour not the person. TBH that will probably fail too because such individuals are rarely capable of making the distinction but it’s the right way to do it.

    shermer75
    Free Member

    So much good advice on this thread!

    jamj1974
    Full Member

    I have never been great at this. I have had two bosses I think are sociopaths and my roles are immediately below board level.

    As a dual-heritage child of the 1970’s and 1980’s, I am not sure that my approach of physically overcoming bullies who instigated physical violence was the best preparation when you are a senior professional.

    This is not so much advice as it is confessional – my apologies.

Viewing 29 posts - 1 through 29 (of 29 total)

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