Bad bosses are the number one predictor of workplace injury. Your interaction with your superiors affects both your health and your performance. This can also bleed over into your other relationships as well.
One study found that over 25% of people surveyed had experienced workplace bullying or a difficult relationship with their superior, and another 21% knew someone who had gone through this (US numbers). Of those who had experienced bullying, 80% of victims surveyed said they had debilitating anxiety, 49% had clinical depression, 30% had PTSD, and 29% had contemplated suicide.
Clearly this is a huge issue. It also costs the employer in productivity, turnover, and low morale. If a boss crosses the line or abuse you in any way, go to HR—period. But if it is not to that extent, the way to deal with this is to first try to discuss concerns with your boss—have HR as plan B.
You definitely don’t deserve to be bullied. Alberta Labour Standards is a good resource where workers can learn about their rights. You can always keep getting out as an idea, as well. The big thing is to stay calm and address things early—before you get so STRESSed that you react badly and make the situation worse. You can start looking for new jobs in or out of the organization, but you do not want the finger to be pointed back at you. Things like water cooler-talk and nasty emails will point the finger back at you, says Waye.
Here are some more things you should definitely not do:
- Don’t go head-to-head with your boss in defiance of your boss’ directives and goals.
- Don’t go over the boss’ head to their supervisor or HR before talking to them directly.
- Don’t speak negatively about your boss to colleagues.
- Don’t post criticisms in emails or on social media.
- Don’t keep complaining about the same problems to your boss.
- Don’t give the boss vague feedback that emphasizes your dissatisfaction with their leadership skills.
At the end of the day, you need to remember that your job is to do what you were hired to do and to make the lives of your superiors easier (thus easier on you too)—for this, you get paid.
If this arrangement is not satisfactory for you, then definitely look around. Stand up for your rights to be treated with respect, but also realize that your current job may not be the right situation for you. Remember that your biggest asset is you and your well-being—not the job.
Until the next time, see you soon and feel better. —Dr. Ganz
Dr. Ganz Ferrance - holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology and an M.A. in Developmental and Educational Psychology from Andrews University in Michigan. He is the former Public Education Coordinator as well as the former Vice-President of the Psychologist’s Association of Alberta. Dr. Ganz enjoys sharing how people can get more “mileage” from their lives. For more information about Dr. Ganz click here.