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Dealing With Workplace Bullies: "There are a Lot of Fake Tough Guys Around Here"...

Workplace bullies.  Whether it's the playground or the office, you've got to find a way to stand up for yourself.

You don't really have a choice.  Either you find a way to stand up for yourself in a politically correct way, or you have tiretracks on your back.   Bully

One of the top five skills in any role is to use the leverage you have (or what you can create) to get the bullies off your back.  Bullies come in all types of flavors in an organization, including but not limited to:

-The deadline bully (creates false deadlines and then pressures you to die on the hill attempting to accomplish them)

-The resource bully (sucks up all the resources for her own purposes, leaving you with not enough manpower to get things done)

-The attention bully (craves attention for himself and perhaps his team, to the point where there's limited recognition oxygen for the rest of the organization)

-The budget bully (also known as the sandbagger, budgeting so he'll hit his number by September, leaving you to deliver on real numbers and all the pressure that comes with it)

So what are you going to do?  Just accept it?  Play nice?  Or find a way to confront the bully?

Need some motivation? Try these two clips:

-This scene from a Christmas Story, where Ralphie beats the hell out of the neighborhood bully.

-This reaction from NBA Star Kevin Durant, when Miami star Chris Bosh dared to impose his opinion on a private conversation Durant was having with a teammate:

“I was talking to my teammate and [Bosh]  decided he wanted to put his two cents into it,” Durant explained after the 108-103 setback. “I am a quiet guy, laid-back guy, but I’m not going to let nobody talk trash to me. He’s on a good team now so he thinks he can talk a little bit. There are a lot of fake tough guys in this league and he’s one of them.”

LOL. There are a lot of fake tough guys and gals in your company.  The question is, what are you going to do about it?


MIchael Manchester

Great post. I forwarded a link to the post to my wife who is a VP of Learning and Development for a Fortune 500 company.

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I have been unwell since quite some time now. The various treatments did not seem to work on me to a great extent, but after reading your article and after following the instructions given by you, I surely can feel the difference.

refuse to be a victim

This article doesn't really give any real constructive advice on how to deal with bullies. There are several in our office - loud and aggressive and they somehow have buddied up to the manager and the Executive Director; both have political ties and most people just succumb to their whims because they are afraid of them. They through their weight around (figuratively, although they could do it literally) and use intimidation, gossip and relentless negative criticism to sling crap. I found it is best just to avoid them. You can not win with these people - don't let them push your buttons, ignore them and try to have as little to do with them as possible.


An organization has to be really dysfunctional and devoid of leadership to permit bullies. Here is the reality, plain and not so pretty: If the HR Director is not helpful, or the business owner is part of the problem, you can try building relationship with the bullies in the interest of surviving.
But honestly, if the bullying mentality goes that deep, the best approach is to find another job. Nothing will change in that environment unless someone at the top sponsors a change.


Check out and "Workplace Bullying - A Management Primer" (either posted on the CEO Refresher or

More info on this on-going problem.


Yancey the BasicEmployeeRights Advocate

Yes, "The question is, what are you going to do about it?" The article also mentions, "...the leverage you have (or what you can create) to get the bullies off your back."

In the absence of federal discrimination protection, the #1 weapon any career seeker and employee can use to STOP bullies in their tracks is this.....Learning and applying Your Basic Employee Rights!

For example, Suzie Q, accepts a job with ZYX Corp. After the "honeymoon" is over she discovers the workplace is a minefield of discrimination, sexual harassment, unfair job evaluations and of course bullying!

Since Suzie didn't take the time to Learn Basic Employee Rights before seeking and accepting employment with YXZ, she has no clue what to do.

If she had she would've been armed with knowing how to prove disparate treatment and discrimination in issues like FMLA, FLSA, gender, race, disability and more.

Also she would probably be aware of the latest initiatives in fighting workplace bullying. So, when asked "what are you going to do about it?"

Even a workplace bully will think long and hard about trying to intimidate an employee that's armed with the knowledge of their workplace rights.

Learn Your Basic Employee Rights before, during and after setting foot into any workplace!

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If they think they are going to win over us by refusing to make any concession, they are mistaken~

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