Workplace Issues: How to Deal with Mean Managers Who Are on a on a “Power Trip”

A mean supervisor who uses or abuses his power and authority in obvious or more subtle ways that none of the workers like, but many have to put up with, at least until the solution to the problem is found, such as transferring to a different department, have a manager transfer or … finding a another job.

How do you deal with a mean manage who seems to be on a power trip, when everything else seems to be going well at work? – You like what you do, you like the company, the co-workers, the pay, and it seems to be that it’s just that one “bad apple” that ruins your experience at work.

Remember – there is no equality between you and your superiors. For some odd reason, many employees think that they have the same rights and privileges as their bosses. They think that if the bosses raises his/her voice, then so can they. Wrong. Why? You can’t fire the boss for yelling at you, but he can fire you for any reason due to your likely at will employment, let alone yelling at your manager. There are many other things that your superior can probably get away with that you can’t. A workplace is not a democracy and you shouldn’t treat it as such. Very few fights are worth fighting over. You have nothing to gain by proving to your boss that you are right and he/she is wrong except getting in trouble and risking being retaliated against. Standing up for yourself is important. However, you have to make sure that what you stand up for really matters to you personally and it’s not just a matter or principal. For instance, suppose your boss wrote a performance review, in which he criticizes your work ethic or attention to detail. This kind of criticism is inherently subjective and is a matter of opinion. It’s hardly worth getting into a debate with your manager and trying to prove that you are indeed extremely attentive and the hardest worker the company has.

Instead, take it constructively. Ask for help and guidance on how you can become better. What specific steps can you take to become a better employee? Your belief that the criticism is unfounded is irrelevant. It’s what your manager sees in your work that matters – that is, if you care about keeping your job and doing well, rather than allowing your relationship with your boss to deteriorate, where he/she would start looking for reasons to make your life harder and/or eventually get rid of you.

If, on the other hand, your superior’s actions are far more grave than doing something which is simply unfair or hurtful, such as giving you unfavorable reviews, and these more serious actions include violent insults, humiliating you, sexual or other kinds of harassment, fraud or compelling you to commit fraud, etc., you should report the acts to his superiors and to your human resources in writing as soon as possible.

Waiting and hoping that the harassment will stop, like so many employees do, is rarely productive. As a rule, a boss who can get away with something will continue doing it or get worse until he is stopped. You might be afraid to get in trouble by complaining to the higher ups, but… in this kind of situation, you don’t really have a choice. It’s either taking a chance and standing up for yourself, and asking the company to do the right thing – to investigate and discipline the wrongdoer and/or deter the manager from abusing his/her power or continuing putting up with the situation and allowing it to make your life miserable.