A Harvard University study shows that 15% of the reason a person gets a job, keeps a job, or advances in a job is related to technical skills and job knowledge - 85% has to do with people skills. Even the most congenial among us can find ourselves facing a workplace bully. If that bully is our boss, things become even more complicated. Seeing oneself as a victim is never empowering . It’s important to remember that bullies can only bully those who allow themselves to be bullied.
From the very beginning of a situation like this, it’s important for an employee to take charge. Document everything. First, have a conversation with the manager to get clear about the nature of her problem with you. Is it about job performance? attitude? something else? The employee should ask for whatever she needs to correct the situation: more training, better tools, coaching. If the manager continues to berate the employee, the employee needs to go through the proper channels to report the manager. If that does not produce a change in the manager’s behavior, the employee is left with a decision: do I allow myself to continue to be treated this way, do I put even more time/energy into seeking justice, or do I look for another job? It’s important to get out before the situation takes a toll on one’s physical and mental health. There will be many feelings to sort through, including the horrible feeling that the manager, and others involved, have gotten away with the mistreatment. Working through this with a competent therapist, or clergy member, will help the employee understand why he allowed himself to be treated this way, and offer an opportunity to explore alternative ways of handling mistreatment in the future. Most importantly, it will help the individual heal.