Top 10 Ways to Deal with a Boss Making Unwanted Advances
When the bosses turn a bit too over-friendly, their gestures turn inappropriate and the office gets surrounded with an air of lewdness, the situation can be quite annoying and tricky to handle. This is true for both male and female employees. Things stay somewhere between sexual harassment and hormonal awkwardness. Dealing with a boss who makes unwanted advances can be difficult as you cannot exactly go to higher management and accuse your boss of sexually harassing you, plus you do not want to quit or lose your job. What you want to do is to settle things off without getting into trouble or becoming a subject of the office gossip. Not having a clear reason for reporting against your boss who has not yet crossed the limits, you’ll have to handle things on your own. If you respond with unwarranted severity, your superior could turn hostile within minutes. On the other hand, if you ignore, the flirtatious behavior may cross its line to get into sexual harassment. In such a situation, these 10 tips given below, may work well for quieting your boss without inviting any embarrassment for yourself.
10. Distance yourself:
Though this may sound quite obvious, but avoiding circumstances where you’re left alone with your superior is the easiest way to prevent awkward situations. Instead, favor group settings, where chances of confronting your boss face-to-face are less. Don’t give him/her chances to touch you or get close to you beyond your comfort level. Minimize the time spent together as when they’re called on their behavior, they may say you encouraged them by giving your time. If they call you into their office or cabin, leave the door open while you come in.
9. Keep it professional:
When you sense unwanted advances from your boss, make an effort to take things back to pure professionalism. Behave in a businesslike fashion. Same goes for your dressing sense, gestures and expressions. Don’t be fooled by flirtatious bosses who call you for post-work dates. This is no way to further your career and is anti-professional at the same time. I’m not suggesting that your voice should be forced, but it must possess a tone that suggests that you’re not there to play. Concentrate on your work, don’t smile too much, don’t make light talks with other employees or superiors and don’t give your boss or anyone the slightest reason to think that you are looking to build relations beyond professional ones.
8. Form a group or clique:
Another way to tackle the tricky situation is to form a group or clique at workplace so as to strengthen your presence in office. Do not confuse this with a social clique. It’s just that loners are often easy targets of flirty bosses. This is because they seldom present the problem of being involved in a group which means more opportunities of private flirting are available to the bosses. Employees who have office connections and are likely to talk about their concerns with other employees are not found easily approachable by flirtatious superiors. Have your office connections as a team of yours, a team that acts as a buffer between you and your boss without compromising with your professional outlook. As a bonus, this may even make you look like a team player to the higher management. This means that you’ll have better chances to get noticed for right things by a superior next time.
7. Don’t disregard your self worth:
The worst thing you may do in such a circumstance is to start believing that your success at workplace is merely a result of your superior’s extended affinity towards you. You have reached there because of your own merits, so don’t lose confidence in your abilities. Also don’t get trapped following the bait your boss offers in terms of promotion. Next, believe in the fact that if your boss wants some good project results from you, then he/she should start behaving with you properly first. You’re definitely not following that ‘Though you treat me poorly, I’ll still work hard for you’ policy. Rewarding inappropriate behavior with hard work only suggests that your work is secondary to your romantic relationship with your boss (at least this is how the boss considers it to be).
6. Keep a check on your body language:
Firstly, you should be careful about the kind of body language you use at workplace and in front of your boss. Behave professionally by sitting up straight, wearing fuller clothes, and avoiding a relaxing posture. This is particularly important for female employees. For all those women, you may not realize how hard your boss, who clearly does not have sober intentions is looking for a reason to stare you down. Even the innocent movements and slightest exposure of skin may be enticing to him. Your facial expressions, gestures, postures and other non-verbal reactions reflect a lot about your comfort level with the person under consideration. If you’re subconsciously mirroring their moves, performing some coquettish eyelid-batting or twirling your hair, then you’re inviting trouble. You cannot afford to let your boss misinterpret your body language as flirting from your side.
5. Make Yourself Unavailable:
It might be the case when your boss is under a false impression that you two can have a romantic future. In that case, don’t waste time enlightening them with the falseness of their notion. If you are in a relationship with someone else, make it clear and known to your supervisor. Mention your partner’s name more frequently indicating your seriousness for them. If you’re single, you may still talk of your better half to get your persistent boss back off, or just repeatedly mention the fact that you aren’t looking forward to be in any kind of relationship. This is an easy task for the ones who are married or have kids. This is sure to dilute your boss’ enthusiasm.
4. Discourage Nonverbally:
If your boss’s actions are milder than required for a direct confrontation or if you wish to be tactful, then you should try the non verbal way of discouraging your boss. It’s important to remember that afterall you have to continue working for the same person, so diplomacy should be given a chance. Each time they try crossing the line by a flirtatious remark, change the subject to a professional one. Showing your disinterest in playful banter, move away quietly when they getting close. Maintaining a professional demeanor, discourage even friendly physical contact with them. This way you’ll give enough hints without the need for further action from your side. Try expressing your discomfort in a gracious manner which doesn’t condemn your boss.
3. Be direct and firm:
If the non verbal hints you are leaving for your boss do not seem to work, then confrontation may become inevitable. It’s simple – either you can encourage your boss by keeping mum and tolerating the unwanted advances or you can firmly make it known that you will not bear inappropriate behavior. Before things escalate to harassment levels, you need to remedy the situation by giving out a firm clear response showing you do not appreciate your boss’s approaches. In fact you need to convey your disapproval the very moment you begin to detect the same. Your tolerance, nurturing nature and shyness may be taken as a consent and the pursuer will only get more aggressive with time. This may be difficult things to do but it is necessary at the same time. Look into their eyes while you tell them to back off indicating that you are more than aware of what’s cooking. Be loud in discussions, requests and remarks, not because you wish to create a scene but because you wish to convey that you are not weak.
2. Look into your office’s sexual harassment policy:
If you’re tried of handling the situation yourself because it all proves futile in the end, then you must consider looking into your office’s sexual harassment policy. If his/her persuasion is getting better of your distancing scheme, it’s time to tell your boss, ‘Mr./Mrs. X, I have studied the company’s sexual harassment policy and it’s an effective one. Though I would hate to use it but it seems you’re forcing me to do so now.’ Furthermore, just inquire about the policy from the human resources department, in order to stay well informed.
1.Report the Situation :
Though this should be your last resort, but it may become inevitable when things go out of hand. If your boss is not ending his/her offensive behavior and you realize that this behavior now constitutes harassment, it’s time to meet the company’s human resources manager or personnel manager to report them of the situation. There’s always a saturation point of tolerance, and when you see that getting crossed, consult the respective authorities. Depending upon the policies of the company, investigation will be carried out following the report, and if your boss is found guilty, you may have the pleasure of getting rid of him/her forever. And just in case there’s another person who’s been prey to the same offender in past, your side will be strengthened as there’s power in numbers.