Lies and Shame, more about bullying tactics.

LIES AND SHAME, More About Bullying Tactics


Some bullies become bullies because of childhood issues of inadequacy and shame. With this type of bully, allegations about poor work performance are rarely the primary tactic used against their target, because it is precisely the typical target’s GOOD performance that draws a bully’s attention in the first place. Bullies often feel threatened by the good performance of their targets. Their feelings of inadequacy intensify when they compare their own performance with that of a good performer and they are also fearful that others will be more likely to see their inadequacies as well.

Bullies deal with this fear of being exposed as inadequate in a number of ways. If they are the target’s immediate supervisor, they may deny their target opportunities in which others will see first hand, their positive attributes. For example, targets will not be chosen to participate in special assignments or committees in which others will see their better than average abilities. They will isolate their targets in any way they can. My bully boss once told me to never initiate conversation with upper managers, naming one upper manager specifically, because as she explained, “they are old fashioned” and prefer “the chain of command” style of corporate communication. Since the centralization of my department to the branch where this specific manager works, I found quite the opposite to be true. This manager has approached my coworkers and I, a number of times, always very friendly and engaging.

Instead of alleging false work performance issues, these bullies make false allegations about the target’s character and ability to get along with others. They will tell a target that no one likes them for example. In my case, my bully boss said that I “intimidate subordinates”. They actually lie about what coworkers say about them, relying on the target’s shame, not to check the validity of the allegations made. Targets who have no understanding of the “bullying and mobbing phenomenon” may actually believe the lies of the bully, not understanding that their manager, or anyone for that matter, is capable of intentionally lying in this way.

Against the common sense of all emotionally healthy people, bullies often instigate interpersonal problems between their subordinates. This serves the bully well by taking the attention away from the bully’s dysfunction onto the dysfunction of their subordinates. An example in my own case was when my bully boss accused me of flowing out work that was incomplete, then told me to ask the coworker who was really at fault, for the details. You can imagine the fireworks that caused!

Just as targets don’t understand the way bullies think, bullies don’t always understand how emotionally healthy people think. That’s what my bully boss didn’t count on. A coworker, having emotionally healthy self esteem, didn’t believe the lies of our bully boss. She had no shame as our bully assumed that she would. She therefore didn’t hesitate to repeat what our bully boss said, thereby validating that what the bully said, were all lies.

It is important for Human Resource professionals to know that when a manager makes allegations about a subordinate’s character, or ability to get along with others, devoid of work performance issues, workplace bullying should be suspected.

Sometimes it’s important to notice what isn’t said. Let’s all learn more about work place bullying and mobbing and be alert and able to Recognize it, Name it and End workplace bullying and mobbing together! ABC

Tactics Of A Workplace Serial Bully Boss. By ABC

Tactics Of A Workplace Serial Bully Boss


Some bully bosses have no shame and make no effort to hide their bullying behaviors. These are the screamers, ranters and ravers. They may have tantrums, throw things, pound on desks and fire subordinates on a whim. Often they remain in their position because there is no one in a higher position in which to take them down. These are the CEOs of both small and large companies or owners of small businesses. A frequent example is a physician’s or a dentist’s practice in which the doctor bullies his receptionists, nurses, billing clerks, and even the cleaning crew. Most people would agree that people who behave this way are “bullies”.

Then there is another type of bully boss which most people would not even perceive as a bully. The “closet” bully boss is actually much more prevalent and more dangerous than the ranter or raver described above. This type of bully boss is very cleaver in their ability to hide their bullying behaviors and to manipulate the perception of bystanders against the “target”. Most bullies possess excellent emotional intelligence. The thing that needs to be kept in mind is that true “psycho bullies” are motivated in ways that normal people do not understand. Bullies use their emotional intelligence to cause conflict intentionally. They are not interested in building positive relationships, only ones they can manipulate. Much of their bullying behavior is premeditated. They do not possess empathy.

Closet bully bosses are often also “serial bullies” who choose one target at a time. One study showed that after successfully eliminating a target, they chose another target within two weeks. These bully bosses are capable of behaving normally towards all other subordinates and will even behave normally towards the target, whenever there are witnesses. This method serves the bully boss well, making it difficult for others to believe a target. Often, only the bully boss and the target know the true nature of the bully.

Simply stated, “targets” are good at their jobs and therefore cannot be taken down based on poor job performance. Therefore bullies rely on character assassination, twisted, half or outright lies, rumors and innuendo to subjugate or eliminate their target. Read my article “proud to be a target” to understand how bullies choose their targets.

At the beginning of a bullying campaign the target may actually feel favored by the bully boss. The bully boss often befriends their target at first. The target begins to trust the bully boss and may share information about their weaknesses that the bully boss then uses against the target. After the bully boss gains useful information about the target, the bully may try a few “pass-by nibbles” (read the article about pass-by nibbles, on this blog) to test the targets reaction. Then a full blown bullying campaign begins.

In my first emotional assault, my bully called me into a meeting with her and a Human Resource Rep to “discuss my needs”, only to reprimand me for “intimidation of subordinates”, a grossly twisted, half truth. My bully boss knows how strongly I feel about treating everyone, especially subordinates, respectfully. Knowing this about me, she knew it would be especially hurtful to accuse me of just that. It upset me horribly and I couldn’t stop crying at my desk for most of that day.

This reprimand happened behind closed doors. I was warned not to discuss it with coworkers. My coworkers didn’t hear my boss’s lies or hear her calling me a liar. They didn’t see her disrespect me as she rolled her eyes and clicked her tongue at my responses. They only knew I was reprimanded so severely I cried all day. Bullies delight in observing the pain and chaos they have caused and marvel at their ability to get away with it. Next comes the “mental health card”.

After the Bully boss’s first emotional assault the target reacts emotionally as I did. The bully boss then manipulates the target’s coworkers into feeling privileged to be in her confidence. The bully then feigning concern for the target tells of half or twisted truths, placing the targets mental health, competence and/or loyalty into question. It is often what the bully doesn’t say that causes the most damage. For example: The bully boss brings coworkers into her privileged confidence. The bully then cites a half or twisted truths about the target or will imply that the target caused the bully some kind of deep hurt. The bully then mimicking deep hurt or confidentiality concerns, refuses to share details, leaving everything to the imagination. It must be remembered that they are “masters of deception” and can easily convince others of the target’s negative attributes and how the target has caused them personal concern or injury of some kind. They can be so convincing, some convince themselves into believing the lies that they themselves have fabricated.

Coworkers feeling privileged to be of assistance to their deeply hurt boss will do anything the bully boss asks. This is called “mobbing”.

A full blown bullying and mobbing campaign could be a very critical period for the target who has no understanding of the “bullying and mobbing phenomenon”. Targets who are typically good performers and well liked by coworkers are stunned by the first emotional assault, which is often the first reprimand in their careers. They become obsessed trying to understand why first their boss, then their coworkers turned against them, when there is no valid reason at all!

Suddenly the target’s world is a different place, for reasons they don’t understand. Most targets have enjoyed decades of appreciated successes on their jobs, only to be left in isolated despair. Most targets are forced out of their positions within two years of a bullying and mobbing campaign. Forced out by being fired, resigning, becoming ill, committing suicide or going postal!

All of this could be avoided if every working person had a knowledge of “workplace bullying and mobbing”. If this is the first time you have heard of it, learn more about it today. Who knows, you might be the serial bullys’ next target. Hopefully, someday, every working person will learn to Recognize it, Name it and End workplace bullying and mobbing together! ABC

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