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Bullies Ethics Assertiveness

I am a department manager with 30 employees reporting to me. I have 3 colleagues who manage their departments, and one of them berates and belittles her employees. I have confronted this lady about her ethics on behalf of her staff, and she told me to mind my own business. She already fired one of her employees for speaking out of the "line of command." Should I take this up with upper management?

It sounds like the employees in this department are stuck between a bully and a hard place. Either they endure the harsh treatment by this marginal manager, or they run the risk of termination for going above her head. As a result, they came to you.

Your initial step was the correct one, since it would not be fair for you to immediately rush to her manager without meeting with her first. However, you may have come on too strong. You mentioned that you "confronted this lady," and confrontations usually do not have happy endings. You should consider revisiting her, but rather than using a confrontational approach, try to use more of an educational approach. While maintaining the confidentiality of her staff, go over the specific issues and present some strategies to help resolve them.

If she again tells you to mind your own business, she simply does not understand the fact that when employees from another department approach you for help, that is your business. It is also your business to discuss this situation with senior management.

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Posted by Ted on 2010-03-18 20:29:32
I notice you often suggest going over the manager's head--to there boss--as a solution Ken. The only problem here is, often senior management hired the jerk in the first place. Thus, isn't it better to go two levels above the jerk instead of just one? Thanks, Ted.
Posted by Website visitor on 2014-10-15 15:53:37
The best way to deal with a bully is to remove them from their comfort zone preferably outside of work, someplace neutral and "offsite" where there are no whiteness. This way the bully has to confront the other person on equal ground and if it get back to work they have plausible denial. Give the bully an option, stop what they are doing and leave the company immediately, or keep looking over their shoulder the rest of their lives.