Raising the level of your leadership

Corner Office Bullies

On January 14, 2010, a fifteen year old girl in South Hadley, Massachusetts, hanged herself after months of merciless bullying by nine schoolmates. Though she took her own physical life, it was the bullies who had crushed her spirit and will to live. Unfortunately, I have seen this happen in organizations where corner office bullies crush the spirit of employees who for some reason get in their crosshairs.

The characteristics of a bully-run organization are:

  • A climate of fear. Corner office bullies are always threatening to fire people. Duh—no wonder morale stinks.
  • Employees walk on egg shells. People are afraid to say anything. Even when the emperor is buck naked, no one will tell him/her.
  • Frequent explosions. Bullies are thin-skinned and anger is never far from the surface. They especially love to explode at those who are defenseless.
  • Paranoia. Bullies are afraid of being exposed. They become paranoid—believing everyone is against them.
  • Self-deception. Bullies have a posse that will always tell them what they want to hear. In effect, they are always drinking their own bath water. Not a healthy leadership habit.
  • “No Fault” zone. Every issue, mistake or confrontation is somebody else’s fault – never the bully’s.

If your organization is suffering from low morale, high turnover and no dissent or honest discussion about issues, there is a good chance the leader is either a bully, or a boss (see blog post: Boss Is A Four Letter Word, November 9, 2009), or both.

If it is you, get help! You need it.

If you work for one—get out as soon as you can—before your spirit is crushed! Life is too short to work in an environment of fear, egg shells, explosions, paranoia and self-deception.

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