Bully Bosses Bruise Big Time

Imagine you get a phone call from an all-star employee. Maybe he/she is a family member of yours, a friend, a previous co-worker or even an acquaintance that you met and connected with.


Now, imagine further that this individual has had an incredible career and stellar reputation and left a previous position held for many years for the promise of working for an incredible company that is owned by a charismatic leader, for a better opportunity. Let’s face it, we either have done this ourselves, or certainly know others that have left one position for the opportunity to grow at another organization.


The opportunity is taken, the new employee/team member is on-boarded with enthusiasm and then the truth prevails. The people in the department he was welcomed in starts to gel with him. They are so happy to have him join the team! But then the warnings start. “Watch out for the big boss….he’s loving you now, but just wait.” This, of course is followed by members in other departments who want to prepare the newbie so that the pedestal he was put on, and the promises that were made, when he signed his new hire paperwork isn’t so high up that they fall & shatter his ability and motivation, into pieces.


It doesn’t take long. The bully in this workplace is the leader. He yells and tells everyone who works there that they are stupid. He paces in front of them and tells them daily that if it weren’t for him, they would have nothing. He is never satisfied. He is never grateful. He never says thank you. He never asks how he can help. He has unrealistic expectations and doesn’t provide the tools necessary to his teams to get their jobs done. He underpays them. He doesn’t value their input. He is always right. They are always wrong. He speaks under his breath about a person or group in front of them. He switches from bully to BFF when he needs something desperately. He traumatizes every single person in the company.


It’s the drama triangle in the worst form. The leader is the bully, targets a victim and the heroes try to protect the victim. Sounds great for productivity, right? NOT. So, in the end, the all-star is leaving after being victimized one too many times, and watching others be bullied is worse because he can’t help them. Bruised, he leaves for another opportunity and the revolving door continues for the “bully boss.”


In the end, we all have choices. We can always get our point across without bullying others. It’s everyone’s choice, but it’s not for a leader. You don’t have a choice here.