The Bullying Boss

Research indicates that adults who bully have personalities that are authoritarian, combined with a strong need to control and dominate.  As managers, these bullying individuals often pay a very high price for abusing their subordinates. At work, employees can always find interesting ways to even the score with such a boss.  Here is a true story.

Ed Macklin was a conniving, scheming and devious supervisor who took great pleasure in manipulating his staff to do most of his work. He often screamed and raged at the various individuals on his team over insignificant issues.  He indulged in long lunch breaks, reading magazines during work hours, and engaging in extended personal phone conversations with his many girl friends. He seized all the credit for his staff’s ideas and then acted as if his people should feel privileged to work for him. Ed’s very professional and skilled staff was more than fed up with his behavior.

Ed’s people had been working on an important project which was to be presented to the entire company at their big anniversary kickoff for the coming year. Two staff members wrote the speech, two others made the presentation slides and selected the music, three worked on the handout material and so on. When completed, it was a beautiful, very professional and dynamic presentation. Ed wanted all the credit so he removed any mention of those who had helped create the presentation from the documentation. He then announced to his staff that he alone would make the presentation.

So, there Ed was, standing in front of the podium on an empty stage, speaking to an audience packed with his colleagues from all over the country, holding forth as if he alone was responsible for the excellent presentation. His hostile staff was seated together in the fifth row center back. Suddenly, Ed’s staff stood up holding a very long, narrow sign which in large letters said:

Your Fly Is Open.

Ed’s body language reacted to this (untrue) message by collapsing inward toward his mid-section. His face turned beet red. He began to stutter. He could not continue his presentation and went staggering off the stage. Afterward, no one spoke about the incident but there was a decided change in Ed’s behavior toward his staff.

If aggressive behavior in a child is not confronted by the parents during childhood, there is a real danger that this hostile behavior will become the child’s permanent behavior pattern for life.  In fact, there is research evidence to indicate that bullying during childhood puts a child at risk of criminal behavior and domestic violence in adulthood. Childhood bullies have a much higher likelihood to being incarcerated as adults.

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