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How can I be confident making decisions with a bully controlling manager?

(55 Posts)
ineedamum Sat 03-Apr-21 19:17:36

My job is problem solving in an area I'm capable of, but lack experience. The manager will humiliate me for making mistakes but offers no support (he doesn't always know the answers). He scrutinises and nitpicks my work but offers no constructive feedback. He is affecting my motivation and definitely confidence. I feel like giving my notice in even though I have no other job. When I come to a problem, I've barely got the strength to think about it now and I don't feel confident enough to start a new job. Due to my past I always struggle asking for help as I panic when people explain things to me which doesn't help. Other people find it hard asking him for help too, but I have my own issues on top of this.

Sparkling Sat 03-Apr-21 19:24:55

It sound as if he’s out of his depth, he’s paid to manage but obviously can’t. I would keep a record of everything you were picked on and his way of dealing with it, if he sees weak areas in your work he should endeavour to get you to correct it. If he thinks your totally unfit for post he has take appropriate steps and that’s not by humiliating you. You say you know the answers but lack experience, you have to have the courage to act on that knowledge as people can’t keep waiting for you to decide when that will be. Try to see it from both sides.

ineedamum Sat 03-Apr-21 19:32:16

Good points, thank you. He has offered training in a new skill which will add to my CV which is great, so no major issues.

At home I set myself a deadline to complete a task, but this wont work in the office. I think I'll practice the courage at home, and try and think from his side.

Madgran77 Sat 03-Apr-21 20:10:17

Maybe turn it round to specifically asking for his opinion as opposed to asking for his help?

As in come to a new proboem. Note down say 2-3 options/solutions. At that point got tyo him and say .."This is the problem. I have found these 3 options as solutions. I would value your opinion on each of them OR I would value your opinion on which one might be best!"

GagaJo Sat 03-Apr-21 21:13:55

My boss wants us to be proactive, but then shoots down anything we suggest. On one occasion, I asked her, specifically, what she wanted done (I have no problem being told what to do) and she actually said, 'I don't know what I want.'

WTAF do you do with that????

CanadianGran Sat 03-Apr-21 21:27:44

I would sit and talk with him. I have always found over the years that most issues can be helped by communication. He might be intimidating you, but you must show him you are doing your best and being berated by him is not offering any solution. Ask for some tools (manual, online resources, etc.) and guidance.

Also after that, is there someone above him that you can go to? Does he have a superior? Managers jobs are to manage and it does not sound like he is doing a very good job.

BigBertha1 Sat 03-Apr-21 21:49:43

I bink you might benefit from some Assertiveness training.

Puzzled Sun 04-Apr-21 18:10:47

The way to deal with a bully is to face them down.
Recently saw a dog expert face down a snarling Great Dane.
Suddenly G D stopped snarling and became obedient "Oh I can't frighten this one"
All part of Relationship Training.
Stop adopting the "Child" role and become the "Parent".
It will probably only need to be done once.
A dogs stops chasing a cat when it stops and stands with a raised paw and claws out!

Coconut Mon 05-Apr-21 10:39:11

Tell him that you’d appreciate constructive criticism, not destructive !

LJP1 Mon 05-Apr-21 10:41:49

Try emailing requests for opinions / option selection. You should then have time to consider any reply and compose answers to questions slow time. That could reduce your anxiety and enable you to judge in a calm situation.

Good luck shamrock

timetogo2016 Mon 05-Apr-21 10:44:14

I agree with Puzzled,great advice.

tictacnana Mon 05-Apr-21 10:49:50

I looked into this when I retired. I had worked for two horrendous bullies and finished my career with a boss who became a much loved friend. I was interested to find out why managers find it necessary to bully. My union had also researched this and found that employees who are bullied are :- usually popular, we’ll qualified, and have a particular talent. Any or all of these can act as a catalyst for bullies, without them actually realising why they’re doing it. It’s like a reflex action or chemical reaction. I find this sad but reassuring at the same time.

silverlining48 Mon 05-Apr-21 10:52:26

Ineedamum I am sorry you are feeling like this. Suggest you consider keeping a note of details and times this happens.. Is there a union you can join?

It is miserable being unhappy in a job. Being humiliated is unacceptable and hope some of the advice here helps but if not its always a good idea to have some evidence of this.

Applegran Mon 05-Apr-21 10:52:35

There is a great book to help you become more assertive (distinguish this from aggressive) called A woman in your own right by Anne Dixon - paper back and not expensive and in print for decades as it is so helpful.
But meanwhile if you can talk to your boss and explain what is making it so difficult for you and ask for what you would like from him, that might change things for you both. The boss is struggling too. Is there an HR person you could talk to?

Joe90 Mon 05-Apr-21 10:52:45

You have done nothing wrong and your boss is clearly a poor manager but your options for sorting this out, in post, are limited and unattractive. Telling him how you’re feeling is your least worst option but he doesn’t sound like he’d be at all receptive to that; he’s too insecure. That leaves you with going to HR and / or submitting a formal grievance. The latter will be very stressful and, among other things, will involve him rubbishing your performance in order to defend himself. It is a total injustice but I think your best option is to look for a new job as soon as possible. Even if you don’t get the jobs you apply for, the feedback from those applications is likely to be helpful and supportive, which will boost your confidence. You’re in a very unpleasant situation but you can get out of it, as others have done before you. Good luck!

LuckyFour Mon 05-Apr-21 10:56:38

I had a bullying manager once. I was good at my job and I believe she was jealous of my success. She pretended to be my friend but put me down when others were around. When I retired I missed the job but not her, although I was secretly glad when I heard she had messed up when she tried to do the work I had been doing. Sounds mean I know but???

Flakesdayout Mon 05-Apr-21 10:57:10

I came across a bully in a previous job. He picked on me and a colleague and we are not sure why, especially as when he joined the company as a Departmental Manager he was fine. He became a nasty obnoxious man checking up on everything, apart from our own clients. He would cross reference our calendars against our personal tracker alarms, and on one occasion complained to my boss that I was not where I said I would be and he had got the wrong day. Life was very unpleasant. Eventually my colleague and I complained to a Senior manager, as our own manager could not see the larger problem. He took a redundancy package which he bragged about and moved to another Company, where he tried his bully tactics once again, and was asked to leave. What goes around .......... * Ineedamum* I think some of the responses on here are excellent but should things not improve you could try speaking to a senior manager or your HR department. I hope things improve for you.

CleoPanda Mon 05-Apr-21 10:57:36

Management is about using resources wisely and appropriately to get the optimum results - so this manager seems pretty ropey!
Managing staff to get the best out of them is a difficult skill but if he can’t do it properly, it’s pretty poor.
Encouragement, support, praise where due, only constructive criticism and clear guidelines are required.
Do you have an appraisal system? When I was a manager with over 40 staff, we had a strict review system. Both managers and staff had to come to 8 weekly reviews with ideas for improvement and development on both sides, with agreements made on how to proceed.
It was a chance for everyone to air grievances, issues, niggles, expectations etc in a relatively safe environment.
To be honest, nobody said they actually liked or enjoyed this system, but everybody agreed it worked okay. 🤷‍♀️

Paddington1914 Mon 05-Apr-21 11:00:03

Hand in your notice straightaway, the sooner you do it the sooner you get back the real you. Oh and the shorter the period you have to disguise on your CV if things turn nasty! I went from a competent individual who was dealing with the problems of others on a daily basis to a blithering wreck in the space of a little under 12 weeks. It is just not worth it.

Cossy Mon 05-Apr-21 11:02:07

I agree with all the views here who are stating it’s your managers fault, and it is ! The objective of a Manager, is to lead and “manage”, this one is doing neither ! Join the Union, if there is one, speak to HR, bullying is neither desirable nor constructive. Decent line managers recognise we are all different and all work and learn in different ways. I’m wondering how led your Manager is ? I’m 62 and have worked full time all my life, much of it in line management, as I’ve got older I’ve had less stressful, less important roles, by choice, and some, but not all, of my younger line managers have been utterly horrendous ! Shouldn’t be this way, but it could be they cannot deal with older employees and resort to bullying as they cannot cope and are utterly inept !

EmilyHarburn Mon 05-Apr-21 11:06:59

I think go with the advice from Madgran77 - give him 3 options as solutions and ask for his opinion.

Also record the interactions when he nitpicks your work.

Also learn some basic assertiveness techniques such as broken record

This site introduces you to 3 basic assertiveness techniques and sends you a free down load if you wish

I used to keep my basic phrases in the front of my filofax so I could turn to it as the problem person approached. Your phases should be positive not apologies. Worked well for me.

you might say to the nitpick. 'Oh thank for making that point. Ill put it into action when its appropriate.'

crazygranny Mon 05-Apr-21 11:09:23

Very sorry to know you are in this situation. Find another job. People like your present boss will never change and have no motivation to do so. For your own sanity stop the damage he is doing. It may take time, but the knowledge that this is going to be a limited problem and that you are in control will help your confidence enormously. Sending warm thoughts and lots of luck.

H1954 Mon 05-Apr-21 11:11:16

Surely, your line Manager has their own line Manager? Take this matter further up the chain, clearly your Manager is not confident in their role and this is displayed in the way they treat you.
Also, have you joined a Union? I realise that these are not always present in every workplace but everyone has a right to be treated fairly and with respect. This Manager clearly has no respect for you.

Meaux Mon 05-Apr-21 11:14:59

Hi ineedamum,

Before I retired I was an HR manager for most of my career. Unfortunately this sort of behaviour is far too common. I agree with Sparkling that he may feel the need to boost his own confidence by putting others down. For those in your situation who came to me for advice, I would have advised the following steps - taken carefully and with respect:

1. Ask for a one to one with your manager and explain carefully and respectfully that when he speaks to you in this way, you feel humiliated (insert appropriate adjective) and that it is affecting your confidence. It may be that he doesn’t know how his behaviour comes across and you will be giving him a chance to rectify that. Discreetly note down what his response is and any advice/requests he proffers.

2. Discreetly start keeping a log - dates, time, what occurred, who else was present. This is building a history and will be helpful if you need to go to HR. Don’t broadcast this to others or you could find yourself open to disciplinary action.

3. If the first point doesn’t resolve the situation, start dropping the buzz words into your conversation. Along the lines of: “when you speak to me in that way I feel humiliated/undermined/bullied” etc. Record these conversations in your log, recording the points as above.

4. If things don’t start to improve, book an appointment with your HR department, they will be familiar with in-house policies and procedures and will be able to advise you and steer you through it. They will also start to build a formal record.

5. Don’t resign, this is your career and worth working for.

In my experience most cases are resolved at stage one. Sometimes a Frank conversation between both parties is all that is required and the other party is surprised, embarrassed and shocked to learn how you feel. Be prepared to act on any points he has raises as well - this can also be a personal opportunity for growth,

I hope this helps and all goes well. If you see obvious signs of stress in yourself, don’t delay in going to HR and seeking help. Often we think we can just grit our teeth and get on with it, but don’t release how close we are to a breakdown or similar sort of mental health episode.

grandtanteJE65 Mon 05-Apr-21 11:15:46

What does your union rep. say about this manager?

You surely cannot be the only person who finds him difficult.

Start looking for another job right away.

You say this man is undermining your confidence and that will only get worse the longer you stay where you are.

This is the trouble with bullies: they end by making it impossible for their victims to get away!