Workplace Mobbing. Workplace “Little Mobsters”. By ABC


Workplace Mobbing, Workplace “Little Mobsters”. By ABC

Re-blogged 4/26/15


“Workplace Mobbing, Workplace Little Mobsters” which is about the second part of “the workplace bullying and mobbing phenomenon”,  was originally published in June 2008 before most Americans even heard these terms.  For most Americans who have never experienced this problem, or observed it close-up, it is very hard to both explain, and for others to believe.  Having both experienced and observed workplace bullying and mobbing, as well as thoroughly researched it, I developed a knack for explaining it, in a way that most people can understand.  After publishing the article “Tactics of a workplace serial bully boss”,  which is about the first part of the bullying and mobbing phenomenon, also written in 2008, I’ve received hundreds of comments thanking me for writing it in a way that people could understand.  It also closely reflected the experience of other targets who read it, some having copied it, to support their own claims of this hard to believe type of abuse.   The “Tactics” article continues to be the most read article on my website daily, making me grateful to God for helping me to reach so many others about bully boss tactics.  Unfortunately,  “Workplace Mobbing, Workplace “Little Mobsters”, never attracted as much attention as I had hoped, possibly because the terms and key words were unfamiliar or because the subject matter is both complicated and hard to believe.  Now that more of us in the  United States have heard of  these problems,  I’m hoping that by republishing, people may gain a better understanding of mobbing, just as the “Tactics” article, helped others to understand bullying better.  If you have not yet read “Tactics of a Workplace Serial Bully Boss”, read it first, before continuing..

Workplace Mobbing.  Workplace “Little Mobsters”. By ABC.. 

Originally published 6/2008

Before becoming a “target” of “workplace bullying and mobbing” I was actually an “unwitting little mobster” for lack of a better term. While writing about workplace bullying and mobbing, I started using the term “little mobster” to indicate individual coworkers who choose to support the bully. So, “little mobsters” are those who participate in hurtful behaviors against targets as a result of being influenced by the bully. The behaviors of more than one little mobster is more commonly referred to as “mobbing” in anti-bullying literature. There are two types of mobsters that I have observed, although not specifically described but referred to in the literature that I have come across. So I started using my own nomenclature.

There is a “bully wanna-be little mobster” and “the unwitting little mobster”. Both are very dangerous and capable of very hurtful behaviors when influenced by the primary instigator known as the “bully”. The difference between the two is the underlying motivation in their participation, and their knowledge or lack there of, of the bully’s true nature.

The “bully wanna-be” is someone who recognizes the true devious nature of the bully and admires this as a quality in the bully. They may become the bully’s first hand man and may look upon the bully as a mentor. “Bully wanna-bes” have the same underlying mental or emotional disorders as a true bully but have not yet become as skilled at utilizing bullying behaviors as the true bully and initially lacks the significant power they need in which to abuse. Often times the bully gives a “bully wanna-be” a measure of power they would not normally be able to achieve on their own merit. Such as promoting the wanna-be unofficially by giving them responsibilities over subordinates, most likely, the bully’s target(s). Once on this path, they are impervious to reform and move on to become true bully bosses in their own right, given time and nurturing by the established bullies.

The “unwitting little mobster” is unaware of the bully’s true nature. These little mobsters have never seen the devious side of the bully. They have only observed and are only aware of the bully’s positive attributes which literally fool them. The majority of little mobsters are this type of mobster. The bully is very careful to pay attention to the little mobsters under his/her control and makes sure not to show their devious side to their unwitting little mobsters. Instead, they gain the trust of the unwitting little mobster by feigning special attention and by sharing what the unwitting mobster perceives to be the bosses confidence. It makes the average staffer feel special when a boss shares their confidences. The only problem is that some of these confidences are in fact lies about one or more coworkers who are in fact the bully’s targets.

The bully boss needs to be extremely smooth to fool the average staffer and uses a number of methods to succeed as well as competence. The first is to swear the unwitting little mobster to secrecy. A little mobster who is sworn to secrecy will never repeat what the bully says and therefore never hears a varying interpretation from that of the bully.

The second method which reinforces the first method, is to feign concern about sharing these confidences by saying just enough against a target, perhaps a half truth, or may feign an undefined deep hurt perpetrated by the target, to shed a negative light on the abilities and/or loyalty of their target. The rest is left to the little mobsters’ imagination. When the imagination is left unfettered by truth, and multiplied by the coercion of a number of other little mobsters, the stage is set to support malicious lies and rumors against the target by the mob comprised of both “bully wanna-be” and “unwitting” – “little mobsters”. Sometimes it’s what is not said which causes the most harm.

While this drama is going on in the background, the routine of the work continues driven by external factors. The bully boss often demonstrates competency, intelligence, wittiness and general ability in her usual duties as observed by most people in public areas of the workplace again literally fooling unwitting little mobsters and most everyone else. Unwitting little mobsters continue to receive preferential treatment and are made to feel special by the bully, as long as they continue to do the bully’s bidding without asking too many questions.

Being the unwitting little mobster that I was, I know this is when people become the most capable of doing malicious things against a bully’s targets, things that they would normally be incapable of, if it were not for the influence of the bully. Using the right mix of charisma and confidence, this influence is often grossly underestimated.

Subordinates who gain the preferential treatment of a charismatic leader are easily hypnotically lured into the bully’s fold often following directives based only on their unquestioning trust and a vague promise of sharing in the bully’s successes, while the real motivations behind their directives are far from noble. These unwitting little mobsters will go down fighting in defense of a bully who knew how to make them feel a little bit better about themselves, and a little bit bigger, all by simple association and unquestioning loyalty to the bully.

Learning the truth can be devastating to an unwitting little mobster whose feelings of privilege are lost when the truth is known. Feeling the profound fool is also a defeating emotion that comes to mind when I remember learning the truth about my own bully. How could she have fooled me for so long? How could I have actually participated in mobbing behaviors by believing the lies of my bully boss even after hearing the perspective of the target? Was I out of my mind?

Although closet bullies do their best to hide their bullying behaviors, the unwitting little mobsters who are actually involved in carrying out the bullying agendas, begin to see the truth. When an unwitting little mobster first sees the bully for what they are, they doubt themselves, not really wanting to know the truth. After all, it had until that moment, been their association with the bully that had been making them feel good about themselves and the job.

Once an unwitting little mobster begins to question themselves and others, the truth begins to snowball into the undeniable and they are no longer unwitting. They wittingly come to the realization that their situation is more complicated than they ever imagined. Learning about the bully becomes a dual effort of learning not only about their own bully’s motivations but about the bullying phenomenon and related topics as well.

Suddenly they are in a crisis unlike any experienced before and one that others know little about. Once they learn about the bully, their less than admirable motivations, and realize their involvement in these activities, a choice must be made. To become a true bully wanna-be, and step up their efforts to follow the directives of their bully? or, not.

Not, is not easy, and often means becoming a “target”. Once an unwitting little mobster knows about the bully, it’s a matter of a short time before the bully knows they know. Once the bully tests their suspicion that the unwitting little mobster is no longer totally loyal, and they fail that test, usually by asking questions of the bully for the first time, then they are no longer an asset to the bully, but instead, the unwitting little mobster has become a threat.

Anyone who is a threat to a bully, becomes a bully’s “target”. Being the “target” of a workplace bully is an entirely different subject, but it is a surprising fact that “targets” of workplace bullies often started off actually supporting them and participating in mobbing behaviors.

Many former or reformed mobsters quietly find other positions before their bully even knows they learned the truth. Most say nothing, only alluding to their loss of respect for their bullys’ and themselves, and their need to move on and away from all of it. Away from the memories of the behaviors of the workplace bully, and from the memories of some of their own behaviors, behaviors that they are not proud of, behaviors they would not have been capable of, if it weren’t for the influence of the workplace bully. ABC


“basil de roche” <bderoche@.. .> wrote: > > very good !! > > ‘Successful’ big bullying has much to do with skills in drama > acting up, playing the ‘local hero’ for the little ones, for whom special > treatment, even just a small favour, or a smile might mean much. > > One of my ‘little’ ones was so convinced by The Big bully that as well as > becoming > his loyal and unfailing supporter, hanging on his words, learning them by > heart, > .. she became anxious to counsel me, so that at any > opportunity, I might be persuaded how to understand, > and be kinder to her hero, and to urge me to see that he was good and wise > person, > a friend to everyone. She was quite sure that I had misunderstood him, > (although I never discussed him with her) and that I was breaking his heart > of gold. > > His skill in acting the immensely gentle, kindly, poetic confidant to all, > was > truly remarkable. I have never seen anyone, before or since, > appear, (in public), to be such a thoroughly likeable person. > He was ‘gifted’ in this respect. > > She wasnt ever there, of course, when for no reason that he ever explained, > and refused to discuss, he screamed foul abuse at me, or when he smashed the > place up. > Although he is far away now, I still feel the same kind of fear coming back > again, as if Im an > animal caught in a trap, whenever circumstances remind me.


Prefer not to identify, on July 4th, 2008 at 10:19 am Said: Edit Comment Wrote:

  1. Thank you for the information found on this website. Early this week, I resigned from a director-level position at a mid-size software company after having turned from an unwitting little mobster who had begun to ask questions about the ethics of management behavior, to a full-blown target over the past 8 weeks. Nature of this bully boss is extremely manipulative and sexism was a factor (he is male, I am female). But that was just one of the ways he subtle demeaned and abused. After reading this article, I’m convinced the real issue was his manipulative, bully style.HR was not my friend and my bosses boss also did not support me. Not knowing where to turn or who to trust, I spoke to two of my subordinates about my concerns of recent abusive behaviors, which made them uncomfortable and gave the bully an opportunity to get a full-scale mobbing underway.On Monday, I was called into a senior executive’s office and with HR present, was advised there were two problems. Problem one was me and my unprofessionalism and lack of confidentiality in speaking with my subordinates, and problem two was alleged abuse by my boss, which I had yet to prove. To address problem one, they asked me to sign a performance development plan that detailed expected professionalism from me to avoid termination. To address problem two, they indicated they didn’t see any problem with the behaviors I’d explained and that if I had proof in email form, I could forward that to them for review.I said I didn’t feel good about this solution and that there was another option. I could leave. They asked me why I wouldn’t want to resolve this peacefully instead and provide them with evidence for problem two so that they could address is. I said because when one sees themselves heading toward being a victim, one has the choice of staying on that path or getting off. I have no interest in remaining a victim and allowing it to get worse, just so I can prove it is true, particularly in an organization that doesn’t appear alarmed by the indications of poor conduct.They asked me to go home and think about it for a day, come back Tuesday to address. I went home and wrote them an email that I resign effective today. Within an hour, my access to company email, buildings, and voicemail was cut off. Companies can become unwitting little mobsters. This is absolutely my experience, 100%. I am not perfect, it’s true. I did have some professionalism slips in all of this, both in being an unwitting little mobster and in being too honest with too many people about my experiences when they started to go south. This article really, really helped me clear in my head why I ended up having to abruptly leave a job I was otherwise successful and satisfied with. Thanks, and although I have learned from my bully boss, I vow never to become one.

4 Responses

  1. This sounds very similar to something I read in the Bully Chapter in the book, Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Boss? Anyone who works for a bully boss can get help for free at that book’s Web site


  2. I like the title of your blog. Feel free to come by and visit my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved this article. It bring a lot of detail to what happened to me at NASA and to a lesser extent the Air Force

    Here is a link to my site:

    You can download my story for free.


  4. Excellent Article, confirmed a lot of what I suspect from a serial bully boss !!!!!


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