Bully bosses are a problem that not only affect the employees being bullied but also the organization as a whole. For the employee being bullied it causes them to never rise up to their potential, never realize their worth and develop a fear of making mistakes. For the organization it results in lost productivity, low employee satisfaction, high turnover and ultimately lower customer satisfaction. Further to that, bully bosses tend to surround themselves with people they feel won’t threaten their dominance, power and control which can cause the team to be comprised of less than ideal people.
8 Signs of a bully boss
- Star performers start to fall – and they fall over nonexistent mistakes and infractions
- Poor performers can do no wrong – and in fact they seem to excel
- Chain of command is implemented – effectively prohibiting their team from talking to anyone above your boss
- Equality for different groups isn’t a priority – they won’t give the time of day to people in lower level positions
- They make it well known that there are inferior groups within the organization – be it based on education, income or role within the organization
- They believe in an environment of natural winners and losers – this promotes unhealthy competition
- Not giving credit to others for the work they produced – they take other’s work and present it as their own
- Putting people down in front of others – they make their displeasure known and carry out discipline of someone no matter who is around at the time
How to deal with a bully boss
Dealing with a bully boss needs to start with the organization. The organization needs to create a culture where supervisors are rewarded based on the development of others rather than undermining or blaming poor performers. When supervisors are incentivized to develop and elevate top talent the bully boss’s power is severely limited because now they have no choice but to develop and promote others.
Supervisors who use dominance, power and control to lead need to be identified then coached up or out quickly. Or better yet, hiring practices need to be examined to include ways to uncover bully bosses to prevent them from joining in the first place.
It isn’t always easy for an organization to identify a bully boss. Often it is up to the workforce to come forward and make it known. If you are the victim of a bully boss or a bystander who witnesses it, you have an obligation to bring it forward.
The consequences of allowing a bully boss to stay employed are catastrophic. Bully bosses breed bullying and more bully bosses. Employees report to work late and slow down work. Employees will often not follow bully boss’s directions. Bully bosses create a team of sub-par performers and will not coach them up out of fear of them being better than they are. Ultimately turnover will increase.
Share your signs of a bully boss in the comments below.