How to Recognize Bullies in the Workplace
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue


Bullying is not always a blatant action that can be recognized over and over again. It may be so subtle that it is hardly recognized, such as a simple manipulation that gets you to do most of the work on a project, etc.

It is important to identify the types of bullies you may have in your life in order to combat them. As a manager it is even more important to recognize the bullies in your team who may be affecting productivity. Janine Popick, CEO of Vertical Response and contributor to, categorizes bullies she has encountered as a manager. This is how you figure out which bully you have and how to deal with them.

The Actor

This person isn’t always a bully, perhaps they’re only a bully behind the boss’s back, and when you’re in the room they’re sweet as pie. How do you combat this bully if they’re fake to your face? You need to have relationships with your team at every level so no one is afraid to tell you the cold hard truth. Then you need to confront your bully and tell them you’re very aware of their misbehavior. If it doesn’t get corrected they need to go, as it’s not worth losing great employees.

The Martyr

This bully makes it a point to tell their team to hurry up and do their jobs or else the bully’s job is on the line. These are the same people who will use your name to get what they want instead of having a relationship with colleagues and working together for a common goal. If you see this behavior nip it in the bud, it’s making you look like you’re the tyrant (not them) and more often than not it’s probably not true.


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