Dr.O, “Is My Boss Just Nasty or Does She have Bipolar Disorder?”

Mental health in the workplace has taken on an all new meaning. We see day-in and day-out people shooting up schools , churches and workplaces for what one would consider no reason ( The issue of violence in the church will be covered in another post soon). The thing that we have to realize is that usually there have been some type of warning signals that a person is not mentally stable. Sometimes we choose to be just passive-aggressive and not consider what is really going on. This post is not in any way an attempt to make any of you overnight sensations or board-certified Psychiatrists.  However, this day I would like to attempt to share a couple of warning signs that your co-worker, supervisor, neighbor, husband, friend or choir member may need a medical intervention (psychiatric specifically).

  1.   The person has a tendency to isolate themselves a lot in group setting.
  2. They complain a lot and usually don’t complete their tasks.
  3. They have a tendency to miss a lot of days at work.
  4. They can also be very out-spoken but without true or rationale thinking.

The first four are just some opening signs that something may be wrong. If you begin to see  a colleague or co–worker who presents with a couple of the above signs, initially keep your eyes open and remain watchful in your workplace. Now there are a couple of tier two signs that you may want to take to the next level:


  1. They openly express or threaten violence to themselves or others.
  2. They dress bizarre (winter clothes in the summer and summer attire in the winter).
  3. They become excessively paranoid and very oppositional in the workplace.

Now once things begin to spiral out of control, they can get dangerous very fast. People in supervisory positions are human, usually. In corporate America, they are usually under a lot of stress and are pressured to perform. As a result, sometimes they place that pressure on their direct reports and support staff. This is very common. Now, you may ask, how can I tell if my boss is mentally ill, Bipolar or just under a lot of stress? Here are a couple of things to consider:

A.  A recent bad audit or evaluation.

B. A recent divorce or shift in their home situation.

C.  Rumors of a RIF or lay-offs.

D.  Rumor that their spouse/significant other is having an affair.

Now bad or hostile behavior is never acceptable in the workplace, so feel free to utilize the appropriate channels/chains of command to let someone know what you have observed. Only make observations. Don’t go into HR making diagnosis or pointing fingers. Be very specific and not vague. Have the right attitude and try not to wait until you are totally feed-up or disgusted with the situation before talking to someone. Also, know who you can talk to about the situation. Sometimes, if you go to the wrong person, it may backfire and conditions can become even worse for you. Yes, your supervisor/boss may have a mental illness or the beginning of what may seem to be psychiatric trouble but you have to be cautious and really be observant, as well as, safe because workplace violence has become almost common place. This is just a brief post to try to help a few of you with nasty bosses. This can be perceived as a humorous topic, but it can have serious consequences.

Any questions for me? I will try to answer them if you have some specific anonymous situations you would like my input on at this time. Finally, I am not recommending that anyone quits their job without having an alternative source of income.

Dr. O

Picture source: http://www.howdesign.com/design-career/how-to-deal-with-a-bad-boss/



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