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N. Elizabeth Fried, Ph.D.

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Office Bullying

Office Bully


After having escaped grade-school and maybe even high-school, we often think our days of being bullied are over and done with. Unfortunately, there is such a thing as office bullying. As an executive coach, sometimes I have to work with leaders who are guilty of bullying.  Many times they are simply unaware of their behavior and  may be giving others a hard time or generally making the work environment an unpleasant one.

How to Identify a Bully/Bullying Characteristics:

  • Distorts truth and reality
  • Charming in public - two faced
  • Blames others for errors
  • Bullies tend to be insecure people
  • A bully doesn't want to hear the other side of the story
  • Does not try to understand or get another's point of view
  • A bully needs to control people
  • Makes inappropriate comments about appearance, lifestyle
  • Takes credit for others' work

What to do if you are being Bullied:

  • In the heat of a bully's aggression, keep your cool
  • Know what to say--prepare statements so that you are less nervous when he/she's trying to push you around
  • Remember, if you cannot figure out the words at that moment, you can simply walk away. Try saying "You seem a bit tense, let's talk another time"
  • In the heat of a bully's aggression, keep your cool
  • Get it documented
  • Report it
  • Don't be an easy target--if you are naturally quiet and passive, try to be more assertive, especially when in the presence of a bullying personality

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