Would you recognise the most common types of bully?
Let’s examine the bully, and what guises they come in; before I get shot down, I should say that any type of bullying is not acceptable and has no place in our working culture. It devastates lives of the victims and their families. It’s toxic spreads through organisations undermining trust, performance, engagement and often safety, mental health and wellbeing.
Too many organisations either don’t acknowledge the problem or bundle it all under one heading. Tackling the problem is much easier, and the results more enduring, if we understand the root causes.
Not all bullies and bullying problems are the same – although they may be equally damaging for staff and your organisation. There are several different types of bully and each type of bully can be tackled in a different way. That is not, for one moment, to suggest that the victims in each case don’t also need help and support first and foremost.
Here we look at the most common types of the bully – and how to deal with them!
Accidental (one friend termed this the “Mortified Bully”)
Actions: The accidental bully needs to be made aware of the effects of their actions on others and be willing to accept the need for change. They may well require coaching to help remove this trait. So long as they are willing to work on things, they may well be able to become a valuable team player over time.
Actions: Whilst the referred bully needs to be made aware of, and commit to, working through their behaviours, the organisation itself needs to show greater self-awareness of wider shortcomings. This may be in areas such as resource allocation, target setting, and central management behaviours and expectations.
Malevolent (also possibly Narcissistic Bully)
Actions: The Malevolent Bully often has deep behavioural issues at the centre of their actions. They may, in some cases, be recoverable as team players. However, this will require personal commitment to change which may not be forthcoming. It will also need a considerable period of coaching/behavioural intervention. If you decide to persevere with this sort of employee, extreme care needs to be taken before they are put in a position of authority over others. It just isn’t fair to other team members – whatever you feel they may deliver to the organisation.
Actions: Have clear values and expected behaviours which include respect and fair treatment of colleagues. It should be noted of course that the above are neither exhaustive nor mutually exclusive.