How to Spot and Stop the Bully at Your Business


When we all went to grade school and high school there always were bullies – when we entered college, they were there too as they are in every business in America. But since social media and a trend in politics, bullies again seem to be on the rise and in many organizations and parts of our society, in fact may be a preferred method to get what you want. What can we do about it?

This week on The Small Business Radio Show, I discussed solutions with Bill Eddy, Chief Innovation Officer of the High Conflict Institute. He is the author of “Our New World of Adult Bullies: How to Spot Them, How to Stop Them.”

Here is what we discussed:

The Rise of Bullying Behavior: Societal Influences

Bill discussed the increasing prevalence of bullying behavior in society, attributing it to various political and social influences. The pandemic, political polarization, and social media have all contributed to a culture where bullying can thrive. Understanding these influences is crucial for small business owners who want to create a healthy work environment.

Characteristics of Bullies

Bill highlighted that adult bullies often exhibit traits associated with personality disorders. These characteristics can include:

Narcissism: A sense of entitlement and a lack of empathy.

Borderline Personality Disorder: Intense and unstable relationships, along with impulsive actions.

Antisocial Personality Disorder: A disregard for the rights of others and a propensity for deceit and manipulation.

Recognizing these traits can help in identifying potential bullies in the workplace.

Effects on Individuals and the Workplace

Bullying can have severe consequences for both individuals and the workplace. Victims may experience stress, anxiety, and decreased productivity. For the business, bullying can lead to high turnover rates, a toxic work environment, and potential legal issues.

Strategies for Dealing with Bullies: Recognizing Patterns

One of the first steps in combating bullying is recognizing the patterns of behavior that bullies exhibit. This includes:

Frequent Criticism: Bullies often criticize others to undermine their confidence.

Isolation Tactics: They may isolate their targets from the rest of the team.

Manipulation: Bullies can manipulate situations to their advantage, often at the expense of others.

Unplugging from Colluding with Bullies

Not Participating: Refusing to join in on gossip or negative behavior.

Setting an Example: Demonstrating respectful and inclusive behavior.

Setting Limits and Imposing Consequences

Setting clear boundaries is crucial in dealing with bullies. This involves:

Establishing Policies: Implementing anti-bullying policies and ensuring they are enforced.

Documenting Incidents: Keeping detailed records of bullying behavior to support any necessary actions.

Imposing Consequences: Ensuring that there are real consequences for bullying, such as disciplinary action or termination.

Standing with Others

Solidarity is essential in addressing bullying. Encouraging employees to support each other and speak up when they witness bullying can create a united front against such behavior.

Challenges of Confronting Bullies

The Difficulty of Speaking Up

Confronting bullies can be challenging, especially in a small business where relationships are close-knit. However, it is essential to:

Encourage Open Communication: Create an environment where employees feel safe to speak up.

Provide Support: Offer resources such as counseling or mediation services.

The Importance of Setting Boundaries

Setting boundaries is not just about imposing rules but also about creating a culture of respect. This involves:

Consistent Enforcement: Ensuring that boundaries are consistently enforced.

Leading by Example: Leaders should model the behavior they expect from their team.

Listen to the entire interview with Bill on The Small Business Radio Show.

Image: highconflictinstitute

Small Business Radio Show As a small business expert, Barry Moltz gets owners growing again by unlocking their long forgotten potential. With decades of entrepreneurial experience in his own business ventures as well as consulting countless other entrepreneurs, Barry has discovered the formula to get stuck business owners unstuck and marching forward. As a small business expert, Barry applies simple, strategic steps to facilitate change.