Q&A: Autocratic management and bullying

What can I do if my boss is sarcastic and puts me down a lot in front of my colleagues? I'm not sure it constitutes bullying but it is really getting to me and affecting my work, which makes it worse.

Answered by Lee Weavers, MD, Ramesses Group

There is a very fine line between firm autocratic management styles and bullying. While your boss may need to discuss issues with you and other team members, there are alternative ways that this can be done, without putting people down that concentrate on the motivating factors.

Research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) suggests that bullies are often oblivious to their actions and therefore the problem will not stop unless they realise that they are behaving inappropriately. It is best to raise the issue with your boss initially and explain your concerns.

If this is not successful or you are not comfortable doing this then discuss the matter with another manager or HR professional that you feel comfortable with and confident that they can raise this issue on your behalf. Raising it as an issue and highlighting how it is beginning to impact on your work should make your manager sit up and take note. Try suggesting alternative ways for your boss to address any issues, for example one-to-one meetings.

Lee Weavers has extensive experience at executive and management level. Since the creation of the Ramesses Group Ltd (RGL) in 2000, he has been responsible for delivery of key programmes to clients in the UK and Internationally and RGL’s overall business development, strategic planning and developing core systems and processes.

Marc Barber

Marc Barber

Marc was editor of GrowthBusiness from 2006 to 2010. He specialised in writing about entrepreneurs, private equity and venture capital, mid-market M&A, small caps and high-growth businesses.

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