The topic was the “boss as bully” - arbitrary, capricious, if not a borderline sociopath. My intelligent and competent lunch companion described her constant bobbing and weaving to avoid the emotional blows. The latest episode of many included the “blame game” as her boss, who had approved a report’s contents, accused her of releasing it unauthorized. Determining who felt the heat from the next higher rung on the executive ladder is not a stretch. The surprise short-term memory loss of the boss stretches the imagination.
Before the outcome of the game discloses, a description of a player is in order. Robert Hare, a Psychology professor emeritus from the University of British Columbia created a checklist for the “bully boss.”
He describes them as “selfish, callous, with a remorseless use of others." Eight traits comprise the type: “glibness and superficial charm; grandiose sense of self-worth; pathological lying; conning and manipulative; lack of remorse or guilt; shallow affect (i.e., a coldness covered up by dramatic emotional displays that are actually playacting); callousness and lack of empathy; and the failure to accept responsibility for one's own actions.” Strong stuff – particularly when one is on the receiving end.
Conventional wisdom when encountering the “bully boss” suggests several coping mechanisms. I direct you to www.badbossology.com for a compendium of resources. But what happened with my friend snarled in the blame game?
She said…. Enough! - offered appropriate notice which was refused and left the same day after a tearful goodbye from her staff. Who won? My friend restored family relationships bruised by the transference of battle scars from work, renewed her emotional strength, and excitedly searches for her next opportunity. Life is too short, right?