Bullying can have many actors. Here we focus on the business supervisor bully.

Many traits combined, give rise to a supervisor bully. Some of the most salient ones are listed in the table below.

No. The characteristics of the nature of bullies Evaluation


Increased self-confidence


Blunt, direct, harsh without considering the effect on others of their sayings or deeds –they order instead of asking


Carrot and the Stick mentality only they lean toward the stick and the threats


Ego: They believe to be all the “Sun and the Stars”


Some may derive a kind of secret enjoyment from the acceptance of their misbehaviors


Superior technical/functional abilities: the reason they survive


Trust in themselves


Poor in Emotional Intelligence


Low trust in others


Want to do things their own way


Equate their harsh manners with their personal efficiency


They carry on like this because they perceive it as their personal style that has been accepted and has not been effectively challenged historically

It is true that the nature of the characteristics of a bully, often makes him productive and overtime can sometimes turn him into an indispensable employee.

It is also true that that comes with a cost. Bullying hurts colleagues and often damages the company’s long investment in culture.

We should, of course, be careful as to whom we identify as a bully. The measure should be our guide.

Nor should we allow the problem to reach a state of dilemma, it is either him the bully or the group and its culture, by leaving the problem unattended.

Leaders must make a continual effort to spot any bullying tendencies early and take a series of actions, such as presented in the table below, to correct behaviors and preserve the culture.

No. A series of Actions by the leader  Evaluation


When Hiring:

Make evident the desired culture of your workplace

Identify difficult controversial traits and incongruities of the candidate

Weigh culture more than technical abilities


At the workplace:

Spot early bullying

Counsel the bully

Offer training in Emotional Intelligence

Seek situations where you can set yourself as an example to inspire him to change

Encourage his colleagues to speak up to preserve the culture


Talk to the bully in his own language:

Give him clear feedback about the consequences

Make him see that when promoted his ability for collaboration would be more important

than his technical skills

Explain clearly how his behavior hurts his prospects for promotion

Offer assistance in whatever area he thinks he needs


Warn of separation:

Explain the hard work and assiduous effort made by the organization to create its culture

Make it clear that If it comes to choosing between culture and a very competent employee, it will always be Culture


Dare to separate

The earlier, the process starts the easier and if for any reason a leader in spite of his actions cannot effectively remedy things, he should not weigh the bully’s technical contribution more than the cultural damage he is causing and should dare to perform the final act of divorcing the bully from the company.



For those with further interest in the topic or in other management services: Panikos Sardos is the Managing Director of P&E Sardos Business Solutions Int., a management consulting firm that offers advisory services, coaching and training and can be reached by email: psardos@sardossolutions.com or telephone: +357 99640912, +357 24400884, www.sardossolutions.com