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Double trouble: How do you cope with a boss who’s a micromanaging bully?

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Question: “How can I deal with a boss who constantly makes demeaning and belittling remarks, only gives partial instructions on what he wants or needs and has to know exactly where I am at all times?” — Anonymous


Do you have an HR department or is someone over this person? If so, I would begin there. Make sure you document, document and document somemore of the remarks etc. I would also record the remarks (Our policy state that as long as there is a written notice on desk that conversations may be taped your in the clear,just chekc with your labor board). As far as, you boss giving you partial directions email back what was told to you and state"per our discussion early on xyz....this is what you wanted xyz"

It can be a constant struggle to work with that type of boss. Especially since he probably doesn't recognize his bad behavior as a problem.

If you have confidence that you can speak to someone in HR about it in an attempt to better the situation, I would do it.

If not, you may want to consider an alternate career path. Sounds like a cop-out, but...

I was in the same situation, and finally "jumped ship" to another team just to get away from the boss. This was after seeing HR fail to take action against the manager when a co-worker asked for help.

My move was the best thing I ever did and I'm now doing a job I love, moving up the ladder, being praised and rewarded for my skills and am enjoying work for the first time in years. My old boss never said "great job" unless it was to introduce a "but this is what you did wrong..." statement.

What happened to him? He was let go when we down-sized middle-management.

It turned out great for me -- I hope you don't have to go to such extremes, but it's an option!

I know what you mean. How I coped is by giving them all information, whether they needed it or not. After all, they want all of the details. Then, when the instructions are not clear, I asked questions. LOTS of questions until I got clarification. I wrote them down (my memory really stinks after having two children) and followed them to the letter. After going through this a few times, we developed a "rapport" or "system". The belittling comments never stopped, though. I recently learned how to ask questions to see where these comments are coming from and what they mean. It's interesting to watch the boss's reaction when he/she sees what impression he/she is making. Good luck.

I've learned that it is hard to change someone's behavior. So instead, I change my own. For this situation, why are you letting the boss get away with giving partial instructions? You need to be proactive and ask questions to enable you to understand the total instructions. So he doesn't give good instructions. Recognize that and don't let him leave until you fully understand what he wants. And have you politely told the boss how the remarks/comments make you feel? Maybe doing so will raise his awareness and he will then stop.

I agree with some of the above comments. Do not let the boss just give you partial information. Keep asking questions until you are satisfied that you know what they want. Repeat back what your interpretation of what they need is to ensure that it is accurate. Communication is always a two-way street, so it should never be blamed on one person. The receiver can take active steps to improve the communication. Regarding the demeaning remarks, that is a whole different story. That should never be acceptable. I would respond with, "I really do not appreciate that comment. I am glad to do whatever I can do to improve this the next time, but there is no reason for saying something like that."

Bottom line is, do these things, see if any of them work, but be prepared to find another job if they don't. There is always someone else to work for, you just may have to look a little bit. You don't have to lie down and take it, but you ARE responsible for your own happiness. Getting another job might be the way to do that. Good luck!

Keep on asking questions until you get complete info. Document everything: send e-mails: this is confirming our conversation about (fill in the blank). Find out from your state labor department what their definitions of verbal harassment and contributing to hostile work environment are: the comments may qualify. I would be very hesitant about going to HR unless you have compelling evidence in this regard, and that your company might be exposed to litigation if the behavior is not modified. HR is supposed to be "neutral" but since their salaries are paid by management, they tend to side with management. You might be better off looking for another job because working in this type of environment can be very stressful and literally make you sick.

Really it is humility in love. I remember finally having enough and I scheduled a meeting with him and I sat across from him and told him that it was obvious we did not like one another, but for as long as we needed to work together I would try not to talk bad of him or agree with others speaking bad of him and in turn I requested that he not belittle me.

I'm late in responding and not sure that anyone will read this but here goes. Here are my suggestions. After receiving instructions, go back to your desk and e-mail your boss to go over all the instructions he/she gave you and ask if you correctly understand all that is required of you. You can never have enough documentation. Second, when the boss belittles you, ask right back (respectfully) if that comment was meant to belittle you or did you just misunderstand? I know it's hard to be direct but these bullies need a reality check. I, too, dealt with a boss that I still feel to this day was the meanest individual I've ever met. I opted to leave and it was a good decision because I have advanced so far and this opportunity would not have been available had I stayed with that company. Thirdly, if the boss needs to know your whereabouts, then just do it. I think that person will eventually see how ridiculous it is to keep tabs on your every move. Determine which is the best method. Go into his/her office all day and announce where you're going and for how long, or e-mail, maybe leave a post-it note on your desk, or design a simple form to leave on your desk. Basically, kill 'em with kindness. Good luck.

in response to the last response. these suggestions are good if you have a boss who is even a little bit reasonable. all your suggestions - well, been there, done that!!this is difficult when you have a boss who is narcisstic and feels that everyone (I mean everyone) is wrong and does not know what they are doing except them. How do you work with someone who feels you can't do anything (even simple things like stapling, highlighting, etc.) without them telling you how to do this because you are not capable.

This could be a text book case if the end result was a miracle fix.

Leaving right now is not possible because in most cases you need another job to go to.

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