Three Signs You Are A Workplace Bully and What To Do About It

Being assertive or competitive are not synonymous with bullying. It has been my experience over the years that bullies in the work place or without are actually weaker than their prey. Perhaps I am over zealous with respect to leadership. I happen to believe leadership is a calling designed to harbor the weak so they might become more than they expected.

How can you tell if you’re an executive bully? Here are three warning signs:

  1. There is little disagreement or debate within your leadership team.
  2. Your direct reports rarely tell you bad news.
  3. You fall in love with an idea, position or deal.

Here are steps you can take:

  • Create a charter that lays out the values, behaviors and expectations for individual members and the team as a whole.
  • Take a look in the mirror: Try to see yourself as others see you, and then ask, “Is that the way I want to be perceived?”

Ask yourself honestly:

  • Are you willing to accept harsh realities and confront the problems direct reports bring to your attention?
  • Did you respect the ideas of others? Did you encourage thoughtful debate, or did you squelch it?

Adapted from 13 Signs You’re a Workplace Bully |


Jim Woods is president of The Jim Woods Group. A management consulting firm. Go here to see his work He advises and speaks to organizations large and small on how to increase top line growth in times of uncertainty and complexity. Some of his speaking and consulting clients include: U.S. Army, MITRE Corporation, Pitney Bowes, Whirlpool, and 3M. See more at his website

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