The Bully in the Manager's Office
Bullies don't just exist on the playground. They also sit in the manager's chair or the CEO's office. Bully leadership is sharp, authoritative, angry, and feels uncomfortable to those in contact with it. Bully leaders believe that they are rallying the troops, getting everyone on board. But that is not what happens. The bully leader barks out orders, threatens consequences and uses strong, harsh statements to motivate people to do what the leader wants.
The motivation that results is limited. And that is what the "Bully Leader" doesn't realize. Bully Leaders are scary for people so they do what they need to do but there is a sacrifice. The sacrifice occurs in the work performed. People do what needs to be done and that is all. They don't go above and beyond. They don't share their knowledge and ideas with the leader. The Bully Leader wants and needs to be the one with the great ideas. They don't want to share the limelight.
The bully leader believes their approach is working because they see results. They don't see the limitation or the impact of their style. What they see are results. The results are what needed to occur. The Bully Leadership style is reinforced and continues on. What they fail to see is the results that could have happened with a more open, empowering leadership style. They fail to see the impact of their leadership on their staff. They fail to recognize the negative effects. These negative impacts are costly to the company. As a result:
People are not empowered.
Bully leaders miss out on the great ideas of their staff.
- People respond with decreased motivation, interest and commitment or loyalty. This can lead to decreased productivity and quality.
- People may have physical responses that increase absenteeism.
- People may have their emotional responses that mirror the leaders creating a bullying atmosphere that permeates the organization.
What motivates the Bully Leader?
Bully Leaders want control. They lack trust in other people. They believe that no one will or can do the job as well as them. Out of their fear and lack of trust comes their assertion of aggressive behaviors. They also have a history of using bullying techniques to control their world. It has a history of working for them, feeling empowering to them and maintaining their own safety.
The results of the bully leader are far less than that of an empowering coaching leader. This effective leader trusts that people can and will do their job. Through their empowerment, staffs exceed expectations. The leader has time to create new business opportunities, nurture existing client relationships and pursue greater results.
A bully leader can shift and become a empowering coaching leader through intentional focus and work. There are several steps they need to take to make this shift:
- Recognize that their bullying approach is not effective
- Commit to the change
- Work with a coach to learn: coaching skills, creating a coaching work environment and empowerment strategies
- Work with the team to transition from being bullied to being coached. This step is the hardest because it requires trust on both sides and trust has not existed for this team in the past. The leader will have to build trust and be patient during this transitional time. Their commitment to change will have to extraordinary to demonstrate their trust of others and their willingness to risk their own vulnerability.
- Recognize accomplishments of the team and each success.
Bullying behavior can be shifted to that of a collaborative leader with focused work on the part of the leaders. Organizations continue to recognize the negative impact a bully has their overall outcomes and work to shift the leader's behavior or move bullies out of the organization. Take action today to shift your organization to one of empowerment and collaboration and see the results within the company change. The benefits are astounding. You will see increases in employee performance, loyalty, idea generation and sharing, team work, focus, and implementation of strategic goals. These all contribute to improved overall success of the organization.
Donna Price is a strategic planning facilitator, business coach and team building expert. She works with business leaders and teams to improve overall performance as well as team functioning, reducing workplace conflict, and stress.
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