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Speaking Up To The Bully Boss: The Top Fears

You want to speak up to the bully boss, but you are not sure what to say. You study how to have a crucial conversation that counts with your bully boss – you are aware. But you don’t say anything. Now what?

As a professional speaker and author, this field is a lot like surfing i.e. 90% paddling and 10% riding the wave. There is a lot of preparation and confidence building needed in order to be effective. Dealing with a Bully Boss might constitute the same rationale – you want to be effective, so you wait until you feel that you are.

But what is your main feeling is fear when it comes to dealing with a Bully Boss? Here are the top fears – “If I say something to a Bully Boss”:

You keep wondering and doubting if the behavior you are experiencing is in fact Bully Boss behavior.

What Happens:
Most “nice” people want to see the best in others, and they often have a hard time justifying a confrontation with anyone. There is a small part that wonders “What if I’m wrong?”

What To Do:
To gain conviction and assurance that you are experiencing Bully Boss behavior, document the situations that occur to remind yourself that you have the right to say something. P.S. Remember your approach does not have to be harsh – but it does need to be firm.

You are worried that once you speak up, the Bully Boss will treat you even worse.

What Happens:
True, the Bully Boss will likely push back – expect this. But what does this really mean? If targets can expect this and remind themselves that the Bully Boss’s control needs are about the Bully Boss and not the target, then the target can perhaps hang in there. Eventually many a Bully Boss will see you are strong and that you can assert a boundary. They may move on to an easier target.

What To Do:
Hang in there – consistently standing up for yourself, documenting, and speaking the facts as you see them.

Once the Bully Boss retaliates, you are not sure what to say.

What Happens:
This prevents you from saying anything at all.

What To Do:
Less is more, and it shows confidence. After stating what you need to say, clearly and with confidence, the Bully Boss will likely push back. Be ready to minimize their hostility and need for control with short, simple, come-back phrases.

What are your fears in speaking up to a Bully Boss? What has happened?


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2 responses to “Speaking Up To The Bully Boss: The Top Fears”

  1. Susanne says:

    Today people are hiring and appointing unqualified persons to manage over others, and are paying them less money, to save money. People who manage over others often times severly lack people skills, and social science capabilities. They just plain are not truly qualified to do their jobs. Social services are a part of all jobs, in fact where ever there are people, social science applications need to be practiced. Unfortunately, however, more often than not, a manager views his or her underlings as a potential threat to their own position, and often times resort to low standards of interaction, causing more problems than they could ever solve. The amount of firing, abusive usuring, and many other poor work ethics are the norm for underpaid, underqualified so-called “managers”.

  2. Susanne says:

    I have been fired twice, pushed around, over-worked and abused terribley over the past seven years since I went into the workforce full time. I am a soft spoken kind person with a pretty young face and quiet demeanor, and bullish women always zero in on me. Fiendish, competitive, jealous, and malicious women, much more so than men, are the real problem in the workforce today: they are troublemakers who have completely lost their femininity, and all the endearing qualities that make a woman beautiful on the inside. There really should be a law against this behavior on the job. I now work for a Scandinavian company which does not tolerate “bitchy” behavior, gossipmongering and troublemaking on the job. America needs to wake up and do the same. At this point I am ready to pack up and move to another country. I have no respect for the way American women behave today, and also the weak American men who wink or turn a blind eye at women’s blatantly unrespectful, rude behavior. American men, unless they are abusive themselves, seem to have no backbone: particularly men who “manage” women managers. Men are afraid of women today.

Valerie Cade, CSP is a Workplace Bullying Expert, Speaker and Author of "Bully Free at Work: What You Can Do To Stop Workplace Bullying Now!" which has been distributed in over 100 countries worldwide. For presentations and consulting on workplace bullying prevention and respectful workplace implementation, go to

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