Generally, bosses have power in the workplace and when used appropriately, the workplace can be pleasant and even gratifying. But when the boss becomes the aggressor, the work environment can be intolerable for all parties involved.
Bosses who are persistent workplace aggressors have the ability to destroy careers and workers. They can provide poor evaluations, impact promotions, bonuses, and raises, and make the everyday work experience unbearable.
The target and witnesses need to consider several things when in this situation.
First and foremost, strategies need to be developed in an attempt to cope. This should include documenting the aggression, finding supportive co-workers, and developing coping mechanisms to survive. Most importantly, a decision needs to be made about whether the workers will stay or leave their place of employment.
This is, of course, a very personal decision that only the worker can make. There are several factors that may impact this decision both personal and professional, such as the chances that you can get another job with equal benefits and pay? Are you the sole provider? Will this damage your career trajectory?
Other questions should also be asked about the workplace and your boss in particular. These are some of the questions you should consider before deciding to leave or stay at your job.
· Is the persistent workplace aggression a recent development?
· If not, what is the history of the mistreatment? How long has it been going on? How many other people have been mistreated in the past?
· Is your boss approachable? How has he/she reacted to other issues that have been brought up about leadership?
· Do they listen?
· What is the likelihood of change?
· Review the past things your boss has done?
· Have they modified their leadership based on feedback from workers in the past?
· What are the reasons other workers have left? Was it for the same or different reasons?
· How comfortable are you approaching your boss about this?
· How fearful are you of retaliation?
· Has your boss been approached about this issue before and if so, what happened?
· What are you willing to do to bring about change?
· Does your boss have a supervisor and are they approachable?
It is important for workers who believe they can improve and change the work environment to strongly consider staying in an effort to do so. However, if you conclude that your boss will most likely continue to participate in persistent workplace aggression, than moving onto another job is probably in your best interest. If you decide to leave, develop an exit plan and remember to screen for persistent workplace aggression before you accept your next position.
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