Dealing with an Authority Figure Who Bullies

It's always a pleasure to hear from our listeners who email me.  Feel free to drop me a question anytime at team@jeffveley.com

You can get some further tips from my email response to Julie...

Hi Julie,

It surely sounds like this boss has some serious problems with maturity, anger, and dominance behavior.  It could be due to a lot of factors.  I think the real question to ask is whether she’s trying to dominate others by putting them down or if this is the symptom of a deeper problem such as anxiety, feeling inadequate, etc.  Truly knowing the motive can help with planning a response. 

Obviously you already know my advice for dominance behavior… the Peace Sign.  It solves 95% of issues within a week if the target is consistent and seeking to hurt someones feelings.  When they don’t succeed, they give up or move on.  If that isn’t working then my guess is that the problem is much larger than this.  It could be a number of things.

The question is what motivates her.  What are her goals?  What are her fears?  If she can realize that she’s getting in her own way, it will help her want to change.  If the boss might be receptive, I would suggest sitting down and having a conversation regarding her conduct and how it’s impacting things that are important to you.  You can embed things that are important with her in this conversation.  This gives her notice of the problem and an opportunity to change.  If this is not effective, then you need to see if there are grounds for a harassment case.  If so, you can file one but this may raise hostility.  Sometimes it’s the wakeup call that someone needs.  If they feel like a victim though, it will almost always make things worse. 

If it gets to that level you may need to decide on pursing a workplace harassment case or finding a new job.  As the saying goes, money can’t buy happiness. 

Hope this helps,

Jeff Veley


Love is Patient

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Jeff Veley

Jeff Veley is youth speaker, bullying expert, and social skills educator.

His mission is to equip students with the social and emotional skills that empower them to face adversity, grow in resilience, and solve their own social problems by exercising the Golden Rule.

To date, Jeff's message has reached over one million people.  Jeff and his program have been recognized by the Interfaith Peace-Building Initiative of the United Nations and are a recipient of the Golden Rule International Award for effectiveness in teaching conflict resolution.  The United Nations officially recognizes Jeff as a Goodwill Peace Ambassador in over 120 nations of the world.