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What to Do If Your Boss is Constantly Picking on You 


Your boss is the last person you want to have trouble with at work. As best as possible, an employee wants to please their higher-ups and make them happy to avoid any untoward conflicts. And engaging with a boss is not difficult to do when you or any of the employees working with them embody all the positive characteristics. 

However, not all people are lucky to work with a good boss. Some bosses turn out to be the one who bullies and enjoys looking down at his subordinates. While a boss should play as a role model and set a good example at work instead of initiating a conflict, there are quite a number of bosses that bully. Approximately 41 percent of direct managers and external managers are likely to become a bully to their subordinates in the workplace. 

Toxic bosses will bring about tremendous negative effects to the work environment and culture, such as high turnover, poor productivity, as well as low work enthusiasm and motivation. Among ways to deal with such toxic bosses are immediately change boss or find a better work culture in another organisation. This, however, is easier said than done - it is not always easy as it seems, especially when you are working in an ideal company that provides good job security, retirement, perks and benefits. With all the consideration, you might want to find a way to cope with your boss instead of changing a job. 

If you decided to deal with a bully supervisor, you should know the reason why and how to deal with such behaviours. But let’s first understand why a boss can be a bully. 

Why does your boss pick on you? 

When your boss is constantly targeting you and does not treat other employees the same as he would do to you, it is clear that he does not want you to be around. The question is: WHY? 

Unless you have a superpower to read someone’s mind, you can only speculate the reasons why your boss doesn't like you. There are plenty to guess, such as: 

  • Your boss is moody and he takes the frustration out on a ‘safe’ target rather than the true source of his anger. 

  • Your boss is simply a bully. He likes to manipulate people for his own advantage like not crediting his team on a project, taking all appreciation from upper-level management for himself, and so on. 

  • Your boss is a passive-aggressive communicator - thus he stays quiet and hopes you magically figure the problem yourself. 

  • Your boss is unhappy because your performance is beyond everyone’s expectation and  this makes him look less powerful. When he feels insecure that you might take over his position, there is a great chance you will be picked on. 

  • There might be jealousy over your personality or looks. 

See also:How to be Taken More Seriously at Work

How to tell if your boss is only picking on you - and not others? 


When your boss is a moody person, he might not only take out his anger on you but all team members, especially the ones he does not like. If your boss feels insecure about someone’s ability, he will likely target that certain person. Your boss might not want his position to be taken by someone else, therefore he will only pick on someone who threatens his position. 

Knowing your boss' characteristics is one way to truly understand whether your boss is a toxic boss or he just doesn't like you. Other ways to know if your boss is only picking on you are as follows: 

  • Your boss constantly blames you for the problems at work, while boasting to others that his own skills are responsible for the good outcomes. 

  • You find out that your boss schedules key meetings knowing you have a conflict at that time. 

  • Your boss sabotages your success by claiming to be ‘too busy’ to sign off on your work or give you needed feedback, making your work incomplete or late. 

  • Your boss constantly says unavailable when you want to ask for advice. 

  • You are kept out of meetings with a supervisor or are conspicuously left out of work lunches. 

  • You are being moved away from your supervisor room. 

  • You learn that your supervisor or someone in his peer group is gossiping about your work or your life. 

  • You feel completely exhausted and have no energy for pursuits you used to enjoy during the night and weekends. 

  • A coworker is allowed by your boss to put you down, insult your work, and humiliate you. In this case, your boss might use someone’s power to make you feel uncomfortable. 

  • You feel like every day your manager only gives you criticism, but your performance reviews are always positive and you know that you have done well in your job. 

  • You long for each weekend but are anxious and even become sick with dread the evening before the workweek starts. 

What to do if your boss is picking on you? 

Being a target of bullying drains our energy faster. We are also likely to have decreased productivity and work motivation. Leaving toxic boss is the best option, but if your condition - having difficulty with changing job or relocation - does not support your situation, here are some tips to deal with bully bosses: 

  • Take a sincere interest in people 

No person just woke up one day and decided he will portray the role of a difficult boss; there is always something behind the behaviour. By really knowing the person behind the title “boss”, “manager”, or “department head”, you are opening a door to friendship beyond work. Your boss is also a human being with personal issues that he probably hides behind the smirk and high tone of voice. Show your interest by making small talk about his family, friends, good work, hobbies and anything that seems to light him up in a positive way. 

  • Understand where he is coming from 

Sometimes you come to the office in a bad mood because of an unresolved personal matter. You would wish your co-workers to understand instead of minding your gloom. In the same way, your boss could be under a lot of pressure at work or at home that he is unable to keep everything together by becoming too unreasonable to you. When he takes out his unreasonable behaviour to you, give him the benefit of the doubt and allow room for understanding. 

  • Take the opportunity to learn patience 

Among the best pieces of advice given is to take each day as an opportunity to learn something. You can learn from the experience even though it is bitter and keep in mind that someday soon you too will become a boss and you might also be making somebody else’s life at work miserable. Start stocking up on your wisdom so that you will be a better boss in the future. 

  • Don’t take it too personal but know when to draw the line 

If your boss’ behaviour against you is work-related then there is really no reason for you to take it personal, especially when you have been underachieving expectations at work. But if you are quite sure that his treatment on you is anything but work-related, don’t be afraid to make a stand. Remember that bullies feed on your approval to act that way. They cannot affect you mentally (or physically) unless you allow them.   

  • Start your next journey 

When you have done your best to understand and allow your boss to explain his behaviour but nothing changes, it is time for you to leave the room willingly. Working in a prestigious company is great but if it makes your life miserable or makes you feel less valuable, then the perks and benefits do not equal your worth. 

Talentvis can help ease your new journey in a new world of work. Find you the most suitable position, aligning your skills and ability to your wants and needs. Contact us today to make a tremendous change in your life! 

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