When Your Boss is a Bully

Responding to Poor Leadership

The Female Bully. It started on the playground when she pulled your hair. She gave you a nickname in junior high, and called you it in front of the “cool” people. She pointed and whispered and snubbed you in high school. But now, you’ve grown up, so all of the bullying should be behind you, right?

Well, you sure would think so. But unfortunately, many bullies don’t grow up and certainly don’t grow out of whatever compelled them to pick on others. It seems they just graduate from college and move their “mean girl” bullying to the workplace. And when that person becomes your boss, things can get mighty difficult.

Here’s the truth: your female bully of a boss was more than likely never cool in school and is making up for lost time. Her self- image is extremely low from the days when she felt “less than” or “not enough”. So, now that she has a little bit of control, she doesn’t know how to handle people, and more than likely tries to create a high school environment like she had or saw or experienced.  She develops a close inner circle, and offers them all kinds of perks, and gives them the best of treatment, singling them out and keeping you out. You’ve tried as best you know how to be accepted, but she continues her bullying, no matter how hard you work, or how hard you try to please her. The fact is, this is much more about her insecurities than you or your performance. You could be perfect and it would still not be good enough. So, what’s a Christian woman to do when she has a female bully for a boss?


Resolve To Go The Extra Mile

Here’s what Jesus said: “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.” Matthew 5:38-42

Yes. This is hard. Really hard. But the advantage in doing this is that number one, God sees what you are doing and will reward you for your obedience. Number two, others see how you respond to her when she is so ugly to you and they will take note of it, especially when promotion or bonus time comes. Do the right thing, the right way, with the right attitude, no matter what the circumstance. Your integrity will pay off.

Integrity is Doing the Right Thing, the Right Way, with the Right Attitude


Reach Out to Healthier Co-workers 

Proverbs 13:20 says, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”

Develop you some other great relationships at work with people who are wiser than you, who you can learn from. Let them get to know you and see your sincerity and your hard work ethic. Then, when (yes, I meant when) your bully of a boss speaks ill of you, those who really know you will defend your character or will at the least not believe her. Those people will have your back and may even help to get you transferred to another department that’s got a friendlier boss.

There’s a story in the Bible about Joseph being put in prison (Genesis 40-41). The cupbearer was in prison with Joseph. He saw Joseph’s abilities to interpret dreams and when the Pharaoh needed that, the cup bearer remembered Joseph. The same could happen to you.

Live Your Life In Such A Way

That If Someone Said Something Ugly About You,

No one Would Believe Them


Record Your Accomplishments

Luke, a disciple who was also a physician, wrote this, “I have thoroughly investigated the entire series of events, I felt it would be good for me also to write you an orderly account of them.” (Luke 1:3)

It was important to Luke that he gave an accurate and detailed account of what he saw, for those who might have questions. You can do the same. Keep a journal of all of your accomplishments, your increasing success, and any correspondence from people you have worked with, who have given you raving reviews. That way, you have them handy to share with your bully of a boss when your yearly review comes around or should she seek to fire you. Just maybe, when she sees what an asset you are, she will not be so ugly, and humble herself.


Remember To Pray 

Jesus said, You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:43-45)

One of the hardest things to do is pray for someone who mistreats you! However, the truth is that when we pray for those who don’t treat us with respect, God will reward you. My mom used to say, “Kill em with kindness! It’s like heaping hot coals upon their head!” I had no idea that was from the Bible until many years later!

Proverbs 25:21-22 says, “If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink. You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads, and the Lord will reward you.” Paul repeated it in Romans 12 because it bears repeating!

Your prayers can change everything, even the heart of your bullying boss. She is hurting, and she really needs your prayers and your love, not your rejecting responses or retaliation. Ultimately, you want her to be saved, healed, learning how to treat others with love and respect. You doing these four things in response to her bullying may just pave the way for salvation, healing, and restoration to take place. And that would be your ultimate reward.

You are loved.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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