Are you dedicated or just a plain ol’ bully?

by todaystrainingblog


“Offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behavior, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient” A line from a linkedin post. Bullying is now a major issue in the workplace. Or is it?

Certainly there are adult bullies in this world. All you have to do is look at some the leaders of countries. They are king of their hill and they act like it! And then there are the bullies in our lives as adults. There is no way that we can deny that we have run into bullies in our everyday lives. And it’s not a pleasant thing either.

And of course, co-workers, supervisors, & managers can also be bullies while at work. I had a bully for a boss when I worked for Wells Fargo Guard Services (now a defunct part of Securitas) in the 80s & 90s. Corporate management called him driven but in all respects he managed by being a bully and intimidation.

But how can you tell if either you or your managers are being the bully or just dedicated/driven to succeed? Sometimes the difference is a very thin line easily crossed. And sometimes, like I have done in the past and regretted, we cross that line and don’t realize it. But does that mean we are a bully?

The Difference

                Anyone can be driven & dedicated to success. And being driven and pressing hard to get the job done, right, can make you an easy mark for being labeled a bully.  But ask yourself these questions to see if you really are just a bully or driven;

  • Do you berate or belittle co-workers when they do something wrong?
  • Do you fail to apologize for something you did or said wrong?
  • Do you tell your workers thank you and such for anything?
  • Do you participate in teasing over a physical or mental abnormality?
  • Do you tease an employee over an issue they had which embarrasses them?
  • Do you yell, scream, and constantly ‘ride’ your employees until they do what you want?
  • Do you talk down to them like they are idiots?
  • Are you liked, and respected, amongst your employees and peers?
  • Do you allow personal feelings and stress rule your attitude at work?
  • Do you threaten or intimidate to get what you want?

If you answered yes to any of these questions you might actually be a bully. Most bullies will never admit that they are actually bullying someone. Keep in mind that most people who are bullies are doing so by intimidation and being bigger, meaner, and stronger, and in a higher position, than others around them. And they are enabled by management or their peers.

                And one of the worst things about bullies is that they remain bullies simply because no one ever calls them out. And if you do try to call them out, report them, or take disciplinary action, you could be looking at a lawsuit or worse being fired. The enablers in the company will ensure that something happens.

Being Dedicated

So what are the differences between being a bully and dedicated/driven to success in your job? The following points may help differentiate the two. Look at the above list and compare them to this one;

  • Do you apologize when you are wrong? It doesn’t mean you’re a weak leader
  • Do you express gratitude for their work in making you look good?
  • Do you stop unnecessary teasing, especially if it goes on ad nauseum?
  • Do you talk to your employees on their level?
  • Do you treat them all the same (as humans and not chattel)?
  • Do you try to nurture their instincts and skills?
  • Do your employees know how you want the job done correctly?
  • Do you teach and coach instead of push and prod?
  • Are your employees knowledgeable about doing the job right?
  • Have you told your employees what you expect from them?

If you answered yes to these questions you are probably dedicated, driven, and press to get the job done right and not a bully. Keep in mind that you may be accused of being a bully and therefore you will have to defend everything you do and say or risk being disciplined or fired.

Does a good manager have to bully employees at times? Sometimes you do in order to get them to do the right thing, some employees respond to being pushed harder by bullying. But also remember that if you and your crew are Sympatico, whatever you say needs to be done, they will jump in and do it efficiently and effectively and immediately.

Some of us have been accused of being bullies and in reality all that happened is that we are hard driving, dedicated, blunt, direct, and straight forward towards our other employees and clients/customers. And if you present the facts in such a blunt fashion, as I do so as to cut through the bulls***, to someone you could be called a bully.


Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear