Special Report #1

The Bully Leader


Let's start off by defining a "bully" leader; see if you recognize this person:

  • When a project goes well, he/she alone takes the credit.

  • When a project doesn't go well, he/she places blame on others.

  • If there is a difference of opinion, he/she attacks the other person, not the issue.

  • When disciplining an employee, he/she pays no attention to the public surroundings or other people being present.

  • He/she has a tendency to use abusive language when debating with a colleague or employee.

  • He/she tends to monopolize the discussion in group meetings.

  • When other people are expressing their views, he/she does not usually listen but speaks more loudly over them instead.

  • If an employee tries to give an explanation, he/she jumps to conclusions and doesn't let the person finish talking.

  • Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? If so, you are in the presence of a "bully" leader!

    What to do about it?

    First, to understand the "bully" leader, we need to discuss a little behavioral psychology. A "bully" leader learned this behavior, usually as a child, from some powerful authority figure in their life. Since this authority figure, either a parent, guardian or babysitter, seemed effective in controlling this little future "bully" leader's behavior, the "bully" leader learned that it is good to be feared.

    As humans, we have the tendency to repeat what works for us. If we see that certain behavior is getting the results we want, then we keep on doing it. So, the first step in dealing with a "bully" leader is to help him/her see that they are NOT getting the results they want.

    What all leaders want from their people is high performance. To consistently get high performance from a human being, one must understand motivation. The "bully" leader will argue that they get high performance from their people. If truly honest, they will admit that it's usually temporary or inconsistent or involuntary at best.

    So once a "bully" leader admits that they need to do something differently, the next step is helping them see "HOW".


    If you look at the picture above, you'll notice the "bully" leader using his finger wagging as a way of communicating. Also notice that the employee has her hand to her chin - even though she appears to be open to the message - she is shielding her heart area with her arm. This is a non-verbal message for protecting one's self and putting up a barrier to communication.

    She is not really agreeing with his message.

    So, what is the "HOW"?

    The first step is getting the "bully" leader to become self-aware. This is done by conducting 360-degree feedback interviews with a sample of all the people who have to deal with them.

    This survey is confidential and conducted by a third party. People will not answer honestly if they think their revelations to the "bully" leader will bring retribution.

    Also, the executive coach reflects back what they are seeing as the "bully" leader interacts with them.

    Next, this third party, the executive coach, sits with this "bully" leader and gives the interview feedback - straight - with no holds barred. This process, from our past experience, usually shocks the "bully" leader into understanding the intensity of fear, distrust, and hatred that they have engendered in others by their actions.

    They begin to realize that their colleagues and employees are disenfranchised from them and will take every opportunity to undermine the "bully" leader's goals when his/her back is turned.

    Finally, with the positive reinforcement of this coach, the "bully" leader begins an action plan to change his/her self-defeating behaviors. The process takes a while to start yielding results, but even with some to- be-expected slips, the "bully" leader starts to change the perceptions of his/her colleagues and employees. These people start to believe in the person and begin to cooperate with him/her out of choice, not fear or intimidation.

    It becomes a win-win for everyone!

    The famous futurist (a business theorist), Joel Barker, in his consummate work, LEADERSHIFT, says that the definition of a great leader is, "someone you choose to follow to go where you wouldn't go alone". Would you "choose" to follow a "bully" leader? Would anyone you know willingly "choose" to follow a "bully" leader?

    Of course, we wouldn't!

    So, let's help change the negative way in which they behave. It is possible to do this with integrity, perseverance, positive reinforcement, commitment, and the unbiased support of an executive coach.

    We'd like to GIVE YOU a one-hour FREE consultation, with no obligation!

    However, the number of free sessions we can process each month is limited, and at some point the offer may have to be withdrawn without notice. If you have a challenge to meet or issue you'd like help with, please don't delay!

    Call (908)231-1461 or Email us RIGHT NOW to get started on the business solution(s) you need!

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