Management: Besting the Workplace Bully

Marianne Ryan


If you’ve ever encountered a workplace bully, you are not alone. Statistics show that bullying has been steadily on the rise and has taken on a variety of different faces.1 Once upon a time, the term “bully” typically conjured up the image of a playground aggressor—someone who used physical force or intimidation to victimize others. In that simpler time, retorts such as “pick on someone your own size” or “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” were common. However, workplace bullying shows little correlation to the physical size of the perpetrator and, among other things, it can involve words that are destructive. The havoc it wreaks can be as bad as—or worse than—what used to happen on the playground. Bullying presents a serious management challenge.

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