I’ve been a go-with-the-flow employee all my life. I’ve put up with bad bosses and kept a smile on my face.
I can’t any longer.
I love the company I work for, my coworkers and especially my clients. Unfortunately, I now directly report to our general manager. Our owner hired him three years ago when the owner retired. I’ve always considered the GM unpleasant, but hadn’t known how unethical, slimy, and mentally dangerous he is. He dangles hope for career advancement and salary increases in front of every employee and then calls them “losers” behind their backs. My heart breaks for my coworkers when they excitedly tell me how he plans a raise for them I know won’t materialize. He spends thousands of dollars on “client meetings” when he’s actually takes his wife and friends out for expensive dinners on the company dime.
Here’s my question—how do I get him fired? I realize if he suspects me of planning this, he’ll fire me. That’s what he’s done to everyone who challenges him. Unfortunately, the owner trusts him and doesn’t want to be directly involved in managing the company. My only other option is quitting. I don’t want to do that. I’ve invested ten years in this company.
If you want to get your boss fired, create a business case complete with factual documentation and present it to your company’s owner. If possible, set your boss up or identify witnesses who can corroborate the evidence you compile.
Are you up for the battle?
Before you start, make sure you’re up to the task and have an exit strategy if your plans fail. Taking a stand against someone with greater organizational power and perhaps more street smarts requires determination and emotional strength. Are you up for this battle?
Make a business case
Your owner believes he left his company in good hands. You need to convince him the opposite occurred. To change his mind, provide him with a factual business case that outlines how your company suffers because of your GM. How many employees have left because of the GM? What did that cost your company in lost productivity and recruitment expenses? How has low employee morale negatively affected your company’s bottom line? What might litigation cost if someone sues because of your boss’s behavior?
Gather as much evidence as you can about your boss’s toxic behavior. Keep a record of the major problematic incidents, complete with dates, times, locations, and witnesses. Gather solid documentation concerning your GM’s fraudulent expenses. Have there been times where he’s seriously neglected his GM duties or endangered the health and safety of your company or its employees? Document this with relevant emails and text messages. Keep what you collect off-site.
Set your boss up or secure witnesses
Can you set your boss up, so your owner sees your GM’s destructive behavior in action? If your GM is especially toxic during certain meetings, can you invite your owner to sit in via Zoom? If not, can you identify individuals, including those who’ve resigned, who concur with your assessment or who can corroborate problematic incidents? Don’t, however, talk with anyone you can’t trust until you’re ready to pull the trigger on your GM, as doing so might be a direct route to you being fired.
Know your legal rights.
Federal and state laws protect you against retaliation if the complaints you lodge against your GM involve wages, overtime, or workplace safety violations; discrimination or harassment; your GM’s illegal activity, or collective action by you and your coworkers to improve working conditions. If you plan to meet with your owner or a regulatory agency representative, bring copies of your documentation to the meeting. That way, if your boss retaliates or your complaint goes unaddressed, you have proof of what you said and the issues you brought up.
Finally, if you can’t win this battle, consider leaving. You’ve invested ten years—don’t make that twenty.
(c) 2023 Lynne Curry
If you’d like detailed information and strategies covering employee and manager/leader accountability, check out Managing for Accountability, https://bit.ly/3T3vww8. If you’d like strategies for navigating difficult workplace & personal conflicts, check out Navigating Conflict, https://amzn.to/3rCKoWj. Both books have solid 5 star ratings on Amazon.
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