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
Filed under: A) WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW / INFORMATION, AFFECT ON "TARGETS" | Tagged: bullying tactics, character assassination, closet bully, emotional intelligence, half-truths, lies, serial bully, tactics of a workplace bully, Tactics of a Workplace Serial Bully Boss | 221 Comments »