When you work for a person who abuses positional power, fear of reprisal is often rampant. People don't feel safe to express how they truly feel for fear of retribution. There have been disasterous results
linked back to people not speaking up out of fear.
For example: "A woman checked into the hospital to have a tonsilletomy, and the surgical team erroneously removed a portion of her foot." How did this happen? In part, because no less than seven people wondered why the surgeon
was working on the foot, but said and did nothing.
In my work, teaching Workplace Violence Prevention, the subject of co-workers challenged by Supervisors abusing their authority comes up frequently. Yelling at people, using excessive control tactics and micro-managing.
While they have plenty of reason to speak up, people are afraid because they work 40 hours a week with that person and they know from experience that the Supervisor is likely to retaliate.
When you have an issue with a person who utilizes personal power, it's typically pretty easy to resolve because they are approachable. They listen well and take action based on the best interests of the people involved in the
An example of abuse of positional power:
The Supervisor's approach to managing is to expect compliance without question even when she is managing people with vastly more experience than she. She favors people who don't push back on her or think for themselves. When
brought to her attention, she doesn't do her homework to understand the complexities of the situation. She is so focused on the mission of the work, that she completely dismisses the person, just doesn't really care. She is so
entrenched in her belief that she is right in her approach that she doesn't respond to coaching from her own manager to modify behavior that is in clear violation of the company's policies.
Utilize the programs offered through the organzation to protect you from abuse. In doing so you need to be prepared to deal with conflict and stress while the issue is being addressed. It could go on for awhile. You will need to take
into account, the seriousness of the offense, where you are in your career and your assessment of the support you may receive.
Take classes to improve your assertiveness, listening, stress management and calming skills.
Get support from your Employee Assistance Program which offers confidential counseling.
Consider moving to another job within the organization, if possible.
Consider getting a job within another organization.
Do not take it personally and focus on taking care of yourself!
If you are interested in improving your ability to interact with others, consider health and wellness coaching.
Click here to contact me.