How did I overcome my toxic relationship with my boss?

How did I overcome my toxic relationship with my boss?

Hi friends, this is Geeta here.

I am a beginner in blogging and the first topic I chose to write about is “HOW DID I OVERCOME MY TOXIC RELATIONSHIP WITH MY BOSS?”

That is right! You read it correctly! Like most of you who are from the corporate world, this statement would hold true for most of you, doesn’t it? Yes my dear friends and colleagues all of us have gone through at least once in our corporate life such a situation. Okay, so what should be done about it? Do we want it to continue, or do we wish it to disappear with closed eyes or do we desire to tackle the situation head on and let it not affect us again?

I decided that I wanted to end such a toxic relation and move on. Let me share the background about the relationship before giving you few tips to avert the same in your career life. Take the free advise people, koi paisa nahe lagegaa, total gyaan sharing… hahahaha!

Okay so here goes the story. The story began in the year 2007 when I joined a new company selected by the same angelic boss as she appeared at that time. Can you imagine I was her select candidate and this relationship turned toxic? Unbelievable isn’t it? So to continue my dukh bhari kahaani, I was very happy to get this break and upon joining the company, I plunged into performing my work with dedication, passion and responsibility that I always exhibited. Two years went by and we shared a fairly good rapport and cool behaviour. I must hastily say that she emerged to be a very rude, short fused person. I will credit her with intelligence but sadly being the HR head, she had poor relations with practically everybody. She would nit-pick on everybody anytime, anywhere and had this bad habit of talking very loudly. This behaviour made most of us and most of the time embarrassed and we would prefer to be quiet.

Then in the year 2009-10, she started picking on me. Any action of mine, any decision I took, and any support I gave to my team persons in short anything I did became criticism towards me. She would just about reject every work of mine and comment negatively. I made several attempts to find out where the problem was, how I could improve upon it etc. etc. It fell on deaf ears but more insults. I have to say here guys I was totally confused and did not know how to handle the situation, but one thing I decided very firmly was that I would not replicate her behaviour. By the grace of god, I shared very fruitful and good relations with my senior management team and with my peer and junior teams. From them the only advise I kept receiving was keep quiet and continue to do your best. I followed the advise and kept quiet. I dreaded meeting her face to face because I knew I had to brace for another ranting session. By this time my defence mechanism was that I would stand in front of her like a rock with no expressions and saying nothing only receiving. My friends this circus went on for 5 long years!!! Yes you heard right 5 years. I had gotten tired of it but she got bolder and bolder every year, I suffered on my elevation, was not given correct performance assessment and the relationship deteriorated.

This had taken a toll on my health and I decided that it had to end. The opportunity came when a delegation from our Australian partners visited our office and in front of one of the members she insulted me personally. I lost myself in that moment. I became stiff, very angry and clenched my hands and teeth, but said nothing. Went to my office, sat down, calmed myself and then I decided to confront her directly. Difference was that I promised that I will not lose my temper but talk to her straight and with soft tone. It was not easy for me to do but I promised that this would help our relations in the future.

I returned to her desk, speaking softly to her, I said I wanted to chat with her. She agreed. I asked her what was troubling her and why her behaviour was so toxic towards me. Her reply shocked me; she said she had nothing against me. I asked then why her behaviour was so rude and unprofessional and then my next sentence took her aback. I politely said that I allowed her to speak to me like this but was not prepared to carry this on and ignore it no further. This had to end and we needed to start afresh. Turning point! She looked stumped, became quiet and after several moments of silence she spoke and she just said okay. That was it, no further discussions and I returned to my seat feeling victorious.

After this episode her resentment towards me remained but saving grace was she preferred not to chat much with me?  I also came to know that her colleagues too voiced their concerns on her obvious abusive behaviour towards some of us and she was told off. Whatever be the reason, I knew I held on to my dignity and my professional self. But the biggest news came when she decided to resign from the company few months later.

I shared this personal episode with you dear listeners because at some point in our careers, we would have had a similar situation. The answer lies in how you handle yourself and not how the other person behaves. Keep your emotions in control, focus on your inner strength and the content of the situation and ignore the irrelevant external chatter. That is what I did. My focus remained on the tasks to complete, ignore her ill behaviour and try to match her expectations. 

So friends always remember “All life is an experiment.”

The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.” – Oprah Winfrey.

Good luck and till next time, signing off Geeta.

Do share your views, experiences and comments.

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