HR Excellence Awards 2023 Singapore
Getting revenge on your abusive boss

Getting revenge on your abusive boss


Office politics, cut-throat competition from colleagues and bosses that are just plain mean, some workplaces can be a minefield to navigate. In a report published by the Harvard Business review, 98% of people researchers spoke to over the past 14 years said they experienced some form of toxic behaviour at work.

However, employees don't just accept abuse and continue to work hard as if nothing has happened.  The report entitled, the price of incivility details different forms of abuse in the workplace and the creative ways employees get payback.

  • Decrease work effort

Almost half (48%) said that they stop putting in as much effort as a way to get back at a mean boss, by being less productive they hit the company where it hurts most, their profits. While 66% said their overall performance declined because of a toxic work environment.

  • Less time at work

Almost as many (47%) of respondents said they cut down on the hours they spent at the office. Working the minimum amount of hours means less time for your boss to be rude to you.

  • Skimp on quality

Sometimes you can't find ways to be out of the office but not giving your very best is an easy way to get back at a boss that treats you badly and that's what 38% of employees said they do to get back at a mean boss.

  • Losing time from being worried

Not all payback is intentional, 80% of those surveyed said they lost time doing their job because they were worried or stressed after a boss had been rude.

  • Avoid, avoid, avoid

Almost two thirds (66%) said they simply avoid talking or interacting with coworkers or bosses that create a toxic work environment. With projects becoming especially team-centric this can be problematic to the bottom line.

  • Taking it out on the company

Loyalty and enthusiasm about the organisation are qualities that you can't fake but will contribute greatly towards its success. Yet, 78% of respondents said their commitment to the organisation declined because of a mean boss.

  • Customers bear the brunt

A quarter of people responded that they take their frustrations out on customers as a result of a rude or abusive boss. This will definitely hurt the company and their income down the line.

  • Resign

For some people, (12%) it becomes too much to deal with that kind of work environment and they decide to quit. High employee turnover is expensive, unproductive and not good for the reputation of the company.

Overall an abusive or toxic work environment doesn't just affect employees but creativity and productivity, it also hurts the company's reputation, and ultimately profit margins. If you your employees are doing these then maybe you need to think about how you are treating them.

ALSO READ: How your workplace can turn toxic

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