15 Signs Your Boss Is Trying To Intimidate You (And How To Respond)

I work in a semi-prestigious artwork museum in a medium-sized American metropolis (which shall stay unnamed). At this museum, I’ve been underneath the identical boss since starting the job.

Let’s name her Helen (I modified her identify to guard anonymity. The artwork world is a small place, in any case and I don’t need to ruffle any feathers).

When I began my job two years in the past, Helen was respectful and useful in her administration of myself and fellow coworkers.

I used to be simply excited to be onboard. My first impressions have modified dramatically since then, nonetheless.

Helen has turn out to be a waking nightmare in so some ways. The worst half from my perspective is how she tries to intimidate me into doing solely what she desires.

15 indicators your boss is attempting to intimidate you (and methods to reply)

Helen’s conduct is erratic. Every week she’s on a brand new tear about one thing or attempting to get me to vary how I work and my “attitude.”

But I’ve seen patterns in what she does. Talking to buddies and colleagues, I’ve agreed that these traits present up in bosses who need to push you round.

1. They discuss to you disrespectfully

The approach Helen talks to me after I’m doing what she desires may be very sweetly and in a low, cooing approach. It’s sort of endearing and creepy on the identical time.

The approach Helen talks to me when I’ve different concepts about what items to hold or collections is like she’s scolding a small youngster. She doesn’t make eye contact in these circumstances, both, and tends to stare half on the ceiling and drawling in exasperation.

Bosses who discuss disrespectfully are inclined to consider they’ve a clean test. After all, they write or authorize the checks that go to you.

This sort of conduct is absolutely low and might grind in your mental and emotional health very badly after some time. If your boss talks to you this manner, inform them you want to be spoken to a bit extra respectfully and thank them for understanding.

2. They brag about their superiority

Another tremendous annoying factor that intimidating bosses do is brag about their superiority.

Helen always brags about how she has a Ph. D. in Renaissance artwork from Princeton. She says it a lot that me and some coworkers have a working joke that she has a Ph. D. in being a bitch from Princeton.

We don’t say that when she’s round, nonetheless. We simply hearken to this woman maintain court docket about how her expertise and depth of data is so gorgeous and we must always all be in awe of her.

If she’s that in need of validation and worship from others, I fear about her mental health. Yet I do know this additionally serves the aim of her

3. They attempt to disempower and discredit you

The fundamental factor Helen does at work is attempt to disempower me when I’m not doing precisely every part she desires.

If I reply to an e mail even barely otherwise than she would, she swoops in and micromanages a followup, peering over my ought to like a hawk.

I really feel so disempowered, and recently I began wanting into methods to show round my feeling of being a puppet who’s all the time on someone else’s string.

The handiest approach is to tap into your personal power.

You see, all of us have an unbelievable quantity of energy and potential inside us, however most of us by no means faucet into it. We turn out to be slowed down in self-doubt and limiting beliefs. We cease doing what brings us true happiness.

I realized this from the shaman Rudá Iandê. He’s helped 1000’s of individuals align work, household, spirituality, and love to allow them to unlock the door to their personal energy.

He has a singular strategy that mixes conventional historic shamanic techniques with a modern-day twist. It’s an strategy that makes use of nothing however your individual interior power – no gimmicks or pretend claims of empowerment.

Because true empowerment wants to come back from inside, however its outcomes must happen in the actual world. In his excellent free video, Rudá explains how one can create the life you’ve all the time dreamed of and enhance attraction in your companions, and it’s simpler than you may suppose.

So for those who’re bored with residing in frustration, dreaming however by no means attaining, and of residing in self-doubt, it’s worthwhile to take a look at his life-changing recommendation.

4. They fire up inner conflicts at work

Helen is a drama queen who likes to gossip. She’s away on business journeys quite a bit and taking visits to see private collections and all that.

But when she is on the office, or is messaging on our inner office Slack channel, she generally is a very imply woman. Her favourite factor to do is to go with one among us strongly whereas implying that everybody aside from that particular person is a failure who has strongly dissatisfied her.

In different conditions, she’ll touch upon somebody embarrassing themselves when an vital visitor visited or having made a foible in regards to the background of a chunk.

If your boss stirs up inner battle at work and addresses worker errors in public channels to embarrass others, they’re clearly attempting to intimidate you.

They need to make it very obvious that for those who don’t do every part their approach and flawlessly, you’ll get panned in entrance of everybody.

5. They play video games with you

Does your boss play video games with you? Helen definitely does. She’ll touch upon a colleague’s coiffure wanting scorching after which mock it the subsequent day. She’ll inform me that she loves my imaginative and prescient of growing our museum’s Renaissance assortment after which snigger on the thought every week later.

“Oh that? I mean … It’s not really what we’re about here,” she’ll say, rolling her eyes. Bosses who play video games do it for 2 fundamental causes. They do it as a result of they’re bullies who get pleasure from taunting staff, or they do it to intimidate and showcase their energy.

If your boss is doing this, you’ve acquired a nasty boss in your fingers.

6. They joke at your expense

Helen has a horrible humorousness, however she likes to use the little she has to joke at our expense. I work within the procurement division and am answerable for serving to us purchase and lease out a few of the world’s most fantastic artworks.

Helen as soon as performed a joke on me that I used to be receiving a once-in-lifetime shot at bringing in an unique van Gogh sketch, then revealed hours later that she’d simply been testing my response.


One of the janitors who works in our museum as soon as had his image posted by her with out his permission on social media so she might make a joke about how we have been internet hosting a brand new exhibit targeted on the working class.

It was tremendous not cool.

If your boss does things like this, watch out as a result of they’re attempting to intimidate you and overreach their energy.

7. They dangle promotions

Helen doesn’t do that very a lot as a result of she very hardly ever grants any promotions and all the time refers vaguely to the board when subjects of career development come up.

However that is positively a tactic that bosses use when attempting to intimidate you. They will inform you that you need to do things their approach and on their timetable if you’d like a chunk of the pie.

If you play alongside, you might or could not get the reward. More usually than not they are going to have extra hurdles so that you can leap by way of when you full the primary phases of fulfilling their will.

8. They make you lose sight of your life objectives

Another approach that bosses attempt to intimidate is by distracting you out of your life objectives.

They need you targeted solely on their priorities and their timetable. What you need begins to fade away a lot that you simply virtually overlook it and start to overlook you ever had objectives exterior of doing what your boss says.

So how are you going to overcome this sense of being “stuck in a rut”?

Well, you want extra than simply willpower, that’s for positive. I realized about this from Life Journal, created by the highly-successful life coach and instructor Jeanette Brown.

Her methodology has labored wonders for me in beginning to flip across the scenario at work and start specializing in different objectives I’ve in my career and personal life.

It’s majorly lowered the stress of Helen and made me really feel extra competent and empowered in some ways.

9. They threaten to fireplace you

Donald Trump grew to become well-known in his presidential marketing campaign for joking round about his “you’re fired!” line from the Apprentice. But it’s all too actual within the work world for bosses to throw round phrases like this as a weapon of psychological intimidation. They don’t all the time even imply it, however they could sneak within the phrase dismissal, firing or termination in conversations simply to dangle that huge stick.

They need to make sure that staff perceive that the last word value of rubbing them the mistaken approach is a one-way ticket to the exit.

I’ve discovered Helen’s favourite phrase to use on this regard is termination. It’s occupation and coldly impersonal. She likes to place it into office memos relating to completely different occasions and procedures, noting that contravention of such and such law or regulation leaves an worker “subject to termination.”

Good to know.

10. They reward compliance, not success

Major red warning lights right here. The largest approach that I’ve discovered Helen to attempt to push round and intimidate us is by rewarding compliance over success. I believe everybody who’s had a bully boss is aware of simply what I imply.

If an thought from the highest goes completely mistaken, it’s OK. That worker nonetheless will get glowing evaluations for his or her professionalism and laborious work.

But if a maverick tries to do things their approach in a extra artistic vogue that doesn’t fairly sit proper with the boss, even gorgeous outcomes are met with a shrug and even annoyance.

This is strictly how it’s in our workplace. If it’s this manner in your workplace then you know the way laborious it may be.

11. They throw shade at you on social media

Social media and work are things which hopefully shouldn’t overlap however generally do. We have a devoted position for our advertising division who manages social media for the museum.

But these of us who work together on a personal foundation on social media generally discover awkward conditions cropped up. The majority of us should not personal buddies with Helen, for apparent causes. We attempt to keep civil, however blurring these strains simply wouldn’t be a great name.

However a number of of us who’re have had her throw shade at them about their garments and even as soon as joking a few portray in a colleague’s dwelling.

If your boss is harassing his or her staff on social media it’s simply inappropriate. Keep it pleasant or put it aside for the boardroom, that’s how I see it.

12. They attempt to management your personal life

This verges into the subsequent merchandise which is a boss who inappropriately crosses strains into attempting to remark in your personal life.

Helen as soon as scolded a colleague for being “down” as a consequence of a divorce. It was revolting, and I’m sort of shocked that that worker even stayed one other six months after that.

Finding your path in life isn’t simple. And lining up your work and personal life so that you simply really feel fulfilled on the finish of the day can look like an insurmountable problem.

You see, willpower solely takes us thus far…the important thing to remodeling your life into one thing you’re passionate and captivated with takes perseverance, a shift in mindset, and efficient purpose setting.

Earlier I discussed Life Journal, and the way it helped me, and I actually suggest it to any staff struggling underneath the shadow of overbearing bosses.

And whereas this may sound like a mighty process to undertake, because of Jeanette’s steering, it’s been simpler to do than I might have ever imagined.

You could surprise what makes Jeanette’s course completely different from all the opposite personal growth packages on the market. It all comes down to at least one factor:

Jeanette isn’t concerned with being your life coach.

Instead, she desires YOU to take the reins in creating the life you’ve all the time dreamt of getting.

So for those who’re able to cease dreaming and begin residing your greatest life, a life created in your phrases, one which fulfills and satisfies you, don’t hesitate to take a look at Life Journal.

13. They’re bodily and socially intimidating round you

Thankfully our boss doesn’t do that, but when your supervisor is bodily intimidating round you it’s time to name HR or have a great take a look at your authorized choices. This isn’t all the time about throwing gadgets across the room or hollering like a idiot and slamming doorways.

It may also be things like leaning into your personal space loads whereas stopping at your desk…

Slamming a hand down on a floor close to your workplace…

Giving you the evil eye always whereas you…

And in any other case being a really troubling and aggressive presence when round you. This contains sending threatening messages, racist or sexist jokes and different materials that makes you uncomfortable in doing all of your job.

It’s simply not OK.

14. They’re sexually inappropriate with you

Workplace sexual harassment has been underneath the highlight loads the previous few years, and that’s good.

With the latest Johnny Depp and Amber Heard case, the general public has additionally had a helpful reminder that sexual violence and harassment is not only a gendered concern.

Men are additionally affected by it. At our boss Helen, who’s a decent-looking woman, does wish to flirt with male colleagues however I haven’t seen it go additional than that.

I do know that bosses who strain staff into sex, contact them inappropriately or sext and flirt with them closely are abusing their position of belief and energy.

If a boss does this, they’re attempting to intimidate you into fulfilling their needs. Don’t do it. Instead, acquire proof and use it in opposition to them in claims whenever you give up the job.

15. They get creepy

Being creepy comes naturally to some individuals, and others should work at it. Bosses generally use their pure or performative creepiness to intimidate others.

Wearing bizarre sun shades inside and scraping their nails on the wall whereas tapping a cane… That occurred yesterday.

You may have weird take a look at questions like:

“What do you think of the idea of chakras?”

You don’t know whether or not to answer truthfully as a result of an excessive amount of credence or skepticism could possibly be mistaken and get you ridiculed or argued with. Or there might simply be no “right” answer that your boss is searching for.

This sort of creepy and invasive conduct is a traditional tactic of a boss attempting to cross boundaries and get inside your head. Not that there’s something mistaken with a pleasant dialogue about chakras.

If your boss is doing this …

Speak to colleagues and take into consideration lodging a proper grievance with the work board. If it hasn’t but escalated to that stage, have an trustworthy discuss together with your boss and allow them to know your considerations.

Stand up for your self. Ultimately, attempt to discover work the place you might be handled with dignity and respect.

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