DR. E. CAROL WEBSTER’S
ARE YOU A BULLY BOSS?
E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Original Copyright © 2008
Workplace bullies cause an organization to suffer poor morale, low productivity, and loss of talent. As this connection is being realized, more employers are taking steps to rid their offices of this blight. So look out. If you’re one who is prone to yell at staff in meetings, call them names, insult their competency, or otherwise behave in a manner brings them to tears – whether literally or not, chances are you’re a bully. Up to now, you may have been allowed to get away with this abusive behavior because your superiors value your expertise and rainmaking. But what they’re slowly beginning to understand is that you’re costing them more than you’re making for them and this is motivating them to clean house – not to mention to adopt smarter risk management practices. So do yourself a favor and get your toxic behavior under control before you’re shown the door.
Accept That You Are the Problem
You probably don’t realize that you’re responsible for depressing staff morale and causing people to leave by the droves but everyone else in the company sure does. It is likely an established fact that you’ve had tons of employees, but that most of them quit soon after they started working for you and no one in house ever applies to take their place. Sure, you believe that these people are all idiots and incompetents – but all of them? And what about the fact that no one speaks up in your meetings or volunteers for your projects? All lacking initiative and creativity? Everyone? You can hear a pin drop outside your office because people would rather take the long way to get wherever they’re going rather than risk running into you. Those who are forced to deal with you try to cope with the mounting rage they feel about your insults by overeating, boozing it up, using other drugs or self-destructive means of making their contact with you tolerable. As the emotional toll mounts and they feel they must get away from you, many get physically ill, requiring them to spend more and more time out of the office at doctor’s appointments or at home getting well. This costs the company money in time wasted as staff avoid you, feel demoralized, and fail to be able to work up to capacity. Ultimately, many just don’t have the emotional energy to deal with it and go out on disability, take personnel action, or leave the company altogether, resulting in huge costs to recruit, rehire and retrain replacements.
Listen to Feedback
Expect to start getting negative feedback about bullying behavior. Employees are being encouraged and empowered to let you know when you’re speaking to them in a demeaning manner or are otherwise treating them with disdain and contempt. Some companies have formalized procedures in place to deal with abuses of power in the workplace so expect to receive formal discipline if you persist – and ultimately to lose your job if you don’t get it together. So don’t wait for this to happen. Grit your teeth and listen to what’s being said to you. Learn how you’re coming across to others and which of your behaviors are offending so that you can do something about this. Typically, workplace bullies are unhappy individuals who are taking their issues out on those they work with, so it’s in your best interests to get a grip.
Take Steps to Change
Once you’re forced to see the negative impact that you’re having on the workplace, take steps to change your behavior. Whether you’re only motivated by the fear of losing your job or genuinely want to become a more decent human being – just make the decision to change. Accept executive coaching if it is offered to you or ask for it yourself so that both you and the company can fare better. And don’t hesitate to take advantage of your company EAP to work on the issues that are motivating you to treat others abusively. If you really don’t care about the havoc you’re wreaking in the workplace and actually like yourself as you are, you must consider a different type of position. Get career counseling. Look at other employment options. You’ll probably feel better in a new job. This will enable your company to put someone in your place who has the better temperament for dealing with others, who can bring out the best in their work capabilities, and create a more psychologically healthy workplace overall.
Workplace bullies are a drain on an organization and need to go. People don’t come to work to be abused and they can’t work productively when they’re seething with anger because of demeaning insults and power plays. Bullying bosses often aren’t confronted because they are viewed as high value players who fatten the company’s bottom line. But more and more organizations are realizing that they pay a greater cost in terms of lost time, productivity and talent by keeping bullies on board so don’t wait to be disciplined. Put your ego in check and stop the bullying today or give everyone a break and move on.
About the Author:
Dr. E. Carol Webster is a clinical psychologist consultant in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
She is author of the book for those dealing with the stress of success ―
Success Management: How to Get to the Top and Keep Your Sanity Once You Get There,
The Fear of Success: Stop It From Stopping You! ―
the book to help you overcome fears that may be holding you back in your life and career
The Private Practice of Clinical Psychology in: Voices of Historical & Contemporary Black American Pioneers
To contact Dr. Webster visit online at http://drcarolwebster.com or call 954.797.9766.
E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology Consulting
Mailing Address: 7027 West Broward Boulevard, #262 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33317
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