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It is a sad fact that within many work environments there is someone whose personality, manner or tone just is not fair play.  When you find yourself in one of these environments it can be simply debilitating.  The problem is, these characters are usually in management roles and have so much to offer the company, but their manner can make life hell!  So what do you do?

Bad behaviour in an office is just not fair play.  It is usually the result of the persons own inabilities and frustrations but in my life as a recruitment coach I have heard some terrible things that have been used by people in power to teach lessons to their employees.  And let's face it, while they think they are teaching lessons, they are simply making a fool of themselves and your working life hell!

Fact is, if you let the behaviour go on and on, it is going to seem as though you accept being treated badly.

Rule No 1
Speak up as soon as you recognise bad behaviour.  You need to address your feelings towards the actions that the person has taken in the moment.  But, don't tackle aggression with aggression. Take a deep breath and make sure you articulate your feelings towards their behaviour so they understand that it was wrong.
Eg. Say your boss has lost the plot and been physical, but not made contact.  (The made contact variety is assault and you need to go to the authorities)  Once he/she has calmed down you could say:
"I can see you are frustrated, but I found your actions extreme in trying to tell me your feelings towards this situation. I don't appreciate what you just did.  Next time could you just explain to me what you would like done, in a calm and rational way?"

Rule No 2
If the situation continues you need to go to the next level, and talk to a supervisor of this person.  Again when you talk to the supervisor you need to have your facts.  Diarise the situation and if you have any office witnesses draw them in.   You need to make sure that your complaint is purely about their lack of ‘fair play' and do not draw in other issues.  They need to know that whilst you are prepared to learn, you do not accept intimidation in the workplace.

Rule No 3
When the abuser is the owner of the Company... This is difficult and you need to do one of two things.  You can contact an industrial law specialist and ask them for advice on your rights in this situation and I would strongly advise you do this.  But fact is, you might never change the person so if you can be compensated go for it, but you need to look for a new job.

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