5 Tips: How to make your workplace more pleasant.
October 15, 2004: 2:41 PM EDT
By Gerri Willis. CNN/Money contributing columnist
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - It's no secret that there are abusive bosses out there -- you know the type. Bullies with big job titles that make the people working for them miserable.
According to the Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute, an abusive boss is more likely to be a woman than a man. That's right -- forget their nurturing image! Woman to woman bullying represents 50 percent of all workplace bullying; man to woman is 30 percent, man to man 12 percent and woman to man bullying is extremely rare -- only 8 percent.
What should you know if you're the victim of an abusive boss? Here are today's five tips.
1. Identify the behavior.
There are all kinds of abusive bosses. The Institute classifies them a few different ways.
There are the constant critics who use put-downs, insults and name-calling. They may use aggressive eye contact to intimidate.
There are also two-headed snakes who pretend to be nice, while all the while trying to sabotage you.
Then there are the gatekeepers -- people who are obsessed with control -- who allocate time,
money and staffing to assure their target's failure. Control freaks ultimately want to control your ability to network in the company or to let your star shine.
Another type is the screaming Mimis who are emotionally out of control and explosive.
2. Don't take it lying down.
If your boss has a difficult management style, you don't have to let their bad behavior go. You can respond -- just remember to stay professional.
So, if your boss insults you or puts you down, Susan Futterman, author of "When You Work for a Bully" and the founder of MyToxicBoss.com, suggests responding with something like, "In what way does calling me a moron or an idiot solve the problem? I think that there's a better way to deal with this."
If you find out that your boss is bad-mouthing you to higher-ups in the company, confront them directly and professionally. Get the evidence in writing from your source if you can. Then, ask him or her what is causing them to do this.
You could say, "I've been hearing from other people in the company that you're not happy with my work, you and I know that this isn't the case and I want to talk about how we can fix this."