What if your CEO is the bully?

Man at his desk with his head in hands

The impact of having had a bullying boss has been likened to that of having post traumatic stress disorder. It’s a massive deal, which costs us greatly. In time, energy and identity.

In the case of having a bullying CEO or MD you can be sure that your physical and mental well-being are going to be affected, so you need to start looking after yourself immediately. Google tips on building resilience.

Unless you have been bullied in the past, you don’t necessarily realise that you’re actually being bullied. You just feel appalling at your job in their eyes. Then after a while (this length of time it takes you to notice decreases with age) you realise that they have a horrid problem that you have walked into.

The best way to remain sane when your CEO is a bully is to leave. Of course is it.

Unfortunately, even if they whole-heartedly agree with you, your colleagues will not generally truly support you. Do not expect that any acknowledgement by well-intentioned colleagues will be more than just a private chat. They have their own position to think of…. and they will not be willing to help you, no matter how well deserved your plight. Really.

Do not stay unless you have a mental health qualification and a desire to remain in the bully’s world for a time and consider it to be a personal development “Growth” phase….

If your Manager is the Bully

If your line manager is a bully there are other tactics (which take a little time) that you can employ to reveal the company’s “negligent retention” approach but when it is the CEO this is what I recommend:

  • If you choose to stay in the corporate world, get your Linkedin profile and your CV ready and sign up for job alerts and start planning your exit strategy
  • Resign and tell HR exactly why you are resigning (difficult but 100% empowering), or if you don’t feel up to that, resign and email them the real reasons once you have left (easier and still 100% strengthening as you have got your message across)
  • If you can’t resign: note down everything you think is unacceptable in a password-protected file on a mobile phone paid-for-by-you (not your employer) that does not leave your side. Then call an employment solicitor and have a free 15 minute conversation to get the latest legal advice for your personal circumstance.
  • Write a review on Glassdoor.co.uk to help potential new recruits. People value them perhaps more than those you can peruse on product/restaurant/accommodation/attraction review sites
  • The main reminders are:
    • you need to be the model employee throughout this process (if you remain calm and without fault, your experience will be taken even more seriously by your employer and by the law)
    • you have four achievable goals: to regain your positive self-regard; to restore your mental health as soon as possible; and to prevent this happening to people who are less able to stand up for themselves and who are likely to take a much, much longer time to recover. Oh and did I mention you need to get out asap?

The longer you stay, the more negatively affected you will become. The more negatively affected you are, the harder it will be for you to find the oomph you need to start your search for a new role.

If you think you may be being bullied, please click here to Schedule an Appointment for a complimentary Career Next Steps Call with me? I will listen to you properly and give you my feedback before you make any big decisions.

“No matter how people reach their career crossroads, it is my privilege to help them recalibrate their compass and guide them towards a motivating professional life.”

About Suzanne Bourner

My mission has been unchanged for decades: I champion people. I want people to feel proud of what they do to earn their living. I love supporting people as they travel down their new path. When my clients get offered roles or start their own business, the only credit I can genuinely take is whatever the client chooses to give me. But I do allow myself to get rather excited for them.