I work with a boss who always sees me as a threat. He criticizes me always, creates doubt in my ability to deliver on my targets, and always belittles me in front of others, my subordinates and supervisors.
I think in his mind, he thinks, I am a worthless person, a burden to the organisation and totally useless. My boss just hates me.
I always feel hated by my boss and he instils the same feeling in others, leaving me feeling helpess and always on the defensive. Why does he do this?
Whenever, I do an excellent work, he feels afraid that I will be promoted ahead of him. Although, the gap I have given him in terms of length of career, and depth of experience I have put is far above his.
Early In 2015, I received a commendation letter from our divisional head for a new relationship I brought, this relationship was worth millions of funds. I also received a commendation letter from the State Government on the leadership role I was playing in the State, he questioned what stupid role was I playing, and who might have written the letter. I remember, our head of HR, commented saying.” Dear Fatima, what a good way to start the year.”
The letter was sent to our divisional head and he forwarded it to Human Resources. My boss, sat me down and washed me down from head to toe. He criticised my leadership at the office, as being too poor. My reply was, “I may not know about leadership but one thing I know very well is about good followership and there is a correlation.”
I have always tried to be a good follower even though my boss doesn’t seem to notice. He always incites conflict between myself and my subordinates, insisting they boycott me and talk to him directly while I should never call his immediate boss, who was actually my first contact to the organization.
3-Being boycotted or side-stepped
Even though, my office was right at the first floor and faces the stairs to the marketing hall, i get over looked by my colleaques who work downstairs, always prefer to give the work to my subordinates. Documents made for me to sign were always signed by my back up and i had no reason to complain. It was as if my office never existed. The first day, i reported to work, i found a staff sitting in my office pretending he never knew me. Even though, he was two levels below me in rank, he clams the manager title. I was later given another office right next to his. That was when the battle started. My colleaque never wanted to see my face uptill the day he left for another location. Everytime, i complained that customers are complaining in terms of knowing the leadership of the team, i was accused of being too emotional and not understanding the corporate rules and work ethics.
- When things go wrong: It was always my fault. When they go well, my subordinates are the only ones working. He is even ashamed to have me on his team. This was in an open space, in a marketing performance meeting. While the entire room was clapping, my boss, said I wasn’t the one working and he feels ashamed to have me on his team.
5.Constant Engagement of Subordinates
My boss constantly thinks that I am talking about him with other employees. He stays very close to them and has full update on my ins and outs. On a daily basis, he keeps track of my reporting time, activities, etc. It is so baffling that someone would have all the time in the world to engage himself in such despite his tight work and travel schedule.
6.He Fears His Boss like hell and he transfers that fear unto others.
My boss shivers at the slight mention of his boss’s name. When I realized how fearful, my boss was to his own boss, I started copying his boss when I realise he tries to ‘’play’’ with my requests. Thus I make him quickly act on emails I send to him.
7.He operates a divide and rule leadership model.
My boss makes sure that myself and my subordinate have no cordial relationship.
- When he goes on leave, he assigns his role to a lower colleaque
For the past six years, we have worked together, my boss never allowed me to act as his relief whenever he goes on leave or unable to attend a meeting. He prefers a much more junior person to act on his behalf
9.He overlooks your strengths focusing only on the negative
Just last week, while at a budget I recently showed my boss, the impact of a dollar account on our balance sheet. He refused to even look at the piece of paper. Whenever, I send a report of activities, I have done for the month, for his consolidation, he makes sure that it is not reported. And makes it look like I am not doing anything but just collecting salary for no work done. Meanwhile, I have worked under very difficult work conditions (even though my organization is one of the top three in the industry. I started my career, in the team in 2012, at the peak of a crisis and attack by insurgents. I constantly delivered on my target and over-performed other teams in the entire division.
- No succession plan
My boss always insists that I put my subordinate as my successor even when it was very clear, he couldn’t do the work. Even though there is clear succession plan in place for me. Best advice, given my wealth of experience, I should consider going to another unit or getting a transfer.
- Threat to Divide the team
My boss insists that my team gets splitted into two after working so hard and failing to ensure I was removed. Many times, I feel that there may be transactions he might want to make me do but knows I wouldn’t. Thus, he agitates for a division of the team. For the first time in six years, I decided not to attend the meeting. I was asked to come over with the colleaque. For the first time in six years, I decided not to attend the meeting. I sent him a text explaining my inability to attend. My boss pretended, he didn’t receive any notice from me. And that I never did any work or went out marketing.
The penalty for non-attendance was termination, or at least, non-receipt of salary. Our divisional head, threatened to remove me from my seat.
I agreed to a 50-50. However, my boss insisted I handed over the team to my colleaque like 100% and start afresh. I reported him to his boss, nothing happened.
12.Reporting bad behavior from subordinates
Whenever, I report bad behavior, there is always no sign of being supported. I simply get warned not to ever report any of my subordinates after all, there is no one to do the job “for them.”
When I started my career, I used to have a very long hair that cascades down to my back. But, since this bullying started, I lost 70% of my hair. This was majorly for being asked to cover up for a crime. Every time I raised a question about the issue, and the record of involvement of staff, which I was asked to keep, I get scolded and questioned if it was my duty to police the organization.
Later on, another staff was sacked for a lesser crime, and he blew the whistle, by escalating to the top management. I was lucky, I told the whole truth. Although, my boss denied asking me to keep the record. He tried to accuse me of aiding and abetting the crime.
Once, I got tired and requesting for a transfer. This was after working with a psychologist to help me deal with the situation. Although, the situation did not change, I was able to define myself, and remain defined and promised never to allow the bully get his way. That was the only thing that worked, although the bullying never stopped. A subordinate, was involved in a wrong doing, and I was the only person invited to face a disciplinary committee. Even though I have reported cases of forgery of my signature among many other things and no action was taken against it.
I was told the things to go there and say, but most importantly, to apologise. Initially, I jotted down everything to say at the D.C. But,a friend advised me against doing so.” Why apologise for what you did not do? If they want to sack you, let them sack you for your innocence, but don’t go and apologise for things you didn’t do. They will sack you. Because, apologies could mean, accepting responsibility.” My friend who has over two decades of work experience at Deloitte advised. That saved me. I went in there, demonstrated my loyalty to the brand and also showcased my depth of experience and exposure. After leaving, the hot seat, my boss was called upon and queried as to why he sent an innocent and a loyal young lady to the DC, that he was the person to take the hot seat. He went on his kneels, pleaded and begged and escaped with a last warning.
The DC gave me a voice and an avenue to offload the burden on my chest that I have been carrying for so long. I felt lighter and relieved. My boss almost lost his job for suppressing vital information. The crime I was accused of doing has been on-going for years even before I joined the organization (3 years before I joined the organisation).
- Shocking Look
At the next performance review, the entire team was looking at me like a ghost from heaven. Were they surprised that I came back safely? Were they thinking that was the end of my career in the organization? You guess is as good as mine.
17Request for Transfer
I later decided to seek for a transfer so as to free myself from the troubles. I was asked to put in my resignation and leave. Meanwhile, my backup was parambulating the office as if trying to snatch the keys from my hands. Clearly, the bullying is being perpetrated at all levels, bottom up, and top-down.
Bullying is a serious crime against humanity, adversely impacts an organisations’ profitability and stifles performance.
If you have you ever experienced any sign of being bullied, whether in a workplace or at home, please share your experience with us on this blog, how you felt and what you might have done to deal with it.
Thanks for sharing and see you next time