Dealing with Bully Bosses

There are so many people out there with bully bosses. You know the ones that spend all their time and energy intimidating you to do what they want no matter how illogical or hypocritical it may seem.




I've definitely had my share of bully bosses but they each have helped me become a better person by being a villain on my hero's journey. Ultimately, the small mindedness of others can sometimes make us doubt ourselves. That doubt festers and forms itself as a villain in our own minds. It is us, not the haters that become our biggest obstacle . Staying humble when predators try to humiliate you reveals the negativity of their character as well as your grace under pressure. Now don't get me wrong. I'm not telling you to throw yourself in front of the bus that they will assuredly run over you. I am saying that each encounter with a bully boss could teach you something about yourself.


You can learn:

  • What you don't like

  • What you wont do when you become a boss

  • What words and actions trigger you

  • How you would rather approach a conflict

  • How you physically react to toxic stressors

  • How long it takes you to calm down from an incident

  • The allies that are in your corner

  • The limit of your patience


Each encounter becomes a teachable moment. Even when you make a mistake, you can learn from it so that you do it differently next time. It is the hero that learns from each trial to become stronger and more prepared for the Supreme ordeal. And the Supreme ordeal...is definitely not your bully boss! When you begin to understand how insignificant they are in the larger scope of your life, they lose much of the power they have over your doubts and fears. Take control by looking at the big picture and practicing a few of the following tips.



So how do do you essentially deal with these narcissistic, megalomaniac, micromanaging, overbearing, bully bosses?


  1. Breathe- You'd be amazed at how much focusing on inhaling and exhaling can calm your nerves. The time you take to breathe could also keep you from saying something you might regret.

  2. Smile - The muscle movements of smiling in your face can actually brighten your mood. At first you may have to fake it, but eventually with enough practice the smiles become real. This is especially true in cases when you have made a decision to move on. (Which brings me to the next tactic)

  3. Document- Keep a journal of each time you are undermined, humiliated, or intimidated and go back to read what you wrote every month. You will notice patterns in your behaviors and theirs. Writing is a great way to express your feelings and release pent up anger and anxiety.

  4. Set Boundaries - You may feel pressured to keep working all night into the wee hours of the morning to preserve your bully boss but get real...it won't be appreciated. Sometimes it won't even be acknowledged. Even worse, your ideas could be taken and your boss takes the credit for it as well. I'm not saying to slack off on your job. You should do your best within your limits. Set a cut off time and use the time after to relax, listen to music or enjoy time with family. If you don't respect your time, your bully boss definitely won't either.

  5. Build your Resume - There is no doubt that you have been doing numerous tasks that can apply to other jobs in your career field. Keep track of all that you do by adding to your resume. Not only will you see more value in yourself as a worker but you will also be preparing yourself for the next interview that you will eventually have.

  6. Find Allies - Have you heard the saying that " the enemy of my enemy is my friend"? Well if your bully boss is as bad as you think then it is a certainty that there are others experiencing the same trauma as you. Share stories or just share each other's company. Being around others that share your horror will keep you from feeling so lonely. It may also prevent a common bully tactic of divide and conquer where your boss tries to turn employees on each other to create chaos and establish their power.