Is this bullying? Help!

Dear Aunty B,

I work in the accounts department in a small company. My boss is VERY unpredictable, and gets really mad if everything is not going the way he expects.


He has been known to swear, yell and abuse employees that have made mistakes that he feels are not acceptable. He also reprimands employees in front of other employees and talks about how stupid they are behind their backs in a public forum.

Is this a form of workplace bullying or am I being too sensitive, as has been suggested by him before?

Thank you in advance for your advice.

Kind regards,



Dear Samara,

Your boss is a control freak who feels out of control, uncertain, scared of the future and is terrified he is making the wrong decisions. You find them in all walks of life – not just bosses in workplaces. He may be your dad, your builder or your dentist. And I am being sexist and generalist: these are usually older men who when they were growing up ruled the world and have never quite realised that the world changed.

Is it workplace bullying? It depends. One person might perceive it as bullying. But if it was me, I would look at him and see a poor manager of people who has little self-knowledge, social intelligence or communication skills.

I certainly wouldn’t stand for anyone abusing me. If anyone yells abuse at you, simply look them in the eye and say to them: “I can see you are upset. Let’s talk about this later,” and you walk off. Later on you say to them very firmly: “Please don’t talk to me like that again”.

Encourage all the staff at your firm to do this. People can change with the right encouragement.

be smart,
Your Aunty B

Aunty B is kicking back on holiday, but her advice is timeless, as evidenced by this Aunty B classic from March 2010. To read more Aunty B advice, click here.

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