We’ve all had them… those awful bosses who torment you with unreasonable amounts of work, who force you to stay in the office until ungodly hours and who seem to actually get off on belittling you in front of other people. And when you finally switch jobs, it can feel like a total liberation.
But if you aren’t in a position to find another job, what’s the best way to confront an angry employer?
We spoke to life coach, counsellor and author Anna Williamson, who has written about anxiety in the workplace, to find out…
“You don’t have to be a genius to work out that any form of abuse – physical, mental or emotional – from your boss, or anyone for that matter, is not ok. Ever.
“Just because your boss is technically higher up the food chain than you in the workplace, it doesn’t mean they are any better than you, or have any right to exercise their position in a harmful way.
“If your boss has been inappropriate in any way and made you feel uncomfortable or upset, it is always wise to nip it in the bud as soon as possible.”
“Fighting fire with fire is never a good idea, though, so don’t get abusive back. Instead, take the professional approach: keep calm, perhaps entrust a fellow colleague as support and ask your boss for a chat to discuss their behaviour and how it is affecting you.
“This is mainly a good route if the abuse has been mild and you want to halt any further outbursts.”
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“It’s always a good idea to contact your HR department for support too. They are there to help and protect all colleagues and ensure that everyone is treated with respect and fairly. Everyone is entitled to a safe place to work and if you feel in any way yours isn’t, do not suffer in silence.
“Talk to someone, a trusted colleague or family member, and together approach the problem boss professionally and through the correct channels.”
“Make a note of the abuse too, where it happened, when and what it consisted of. Save emails or texts if this is the form of abuse because this way you have an accurate account to produce as evidence.”
TV presenter Anna Williamson is an ambassador for Mind, Childline and The Prince’s Trust. She’s also the author of Breaking Mad: The Insider’s Guide to Conquering Anxiety