How to Know if You’re a Bully Boss

Jan 28, 2022 | Blog

How does your garden grow

Don’t Be a Bully Boss

How to Know if You’re Behaving Like a Bully

I’ve talked about what makes a good leader versus a bad one, what a leader should and should not do, and told you that sometimes the problem is you. But how do you know if the problem really is you? What characteristics might make you a bully boss? Have you used your influence for things you shouldn’t have? Do you sometimes treat your employees in ways that are questionable? Not sure where the line between being a strong boss and being a bully is? Let’s talk about it.

You might be a bully boss if you do any of these 5 things:


1. Threaten Your Employees:

You should never use your power to threaten to fire, refuse to promote, or deny someone an opportunity simply because you can. Threats made in the office are still threats, and are not only inappropriate, but harmful. Instead, set clear boundaries and communicate your expectations effectively.

2. Get Away With Inappropriate Behavior:

Harassment takes many forms. If you’re treating someone differently because they have a different background than you – don’t. It’s not funny, cute, or charming – it’s an abuse of power.

3. Yell at Your Employees:

Even if your words aren’t inappropriate, your tone of voice is. Yelling or screaming at someone in the office is never okay. There’s literally no reason you should raise your voice at an employee – ever.

4. Need to Ask Employees to Do Favors:

If you ask employees to do work outside of the scope of their job, that’s a problem. You should have a natural influence that makes people want to do their job well, and not need to ask people to do the work of others. Respect people’s time and boundaries.

5. If You Tell Inappropriate Jokes:

You’re not Ricky Gervais from The Office, so you shouldn’t be telling off-color jokes at the office. Not about racism, not about blondes, not about any of it. Sure, your employees may laugh at an inappropriate joke, but they’re pretty much forced to. Laughing doesn’t mean the joke is funny, it means they want to keep their job.

If you think you might be a bully boss, or have bully boss tendencies, it’s not too late to change. Learn about servant leadership and consider getting a mentor to help you along with the process. If you’re an employee and you have a bully boss, let HR know. Old school office culture often condones this type of behavior, which makes good people quit and contributes to a toxic workplace. Let’s get rid of the bad apples and make room for diverse teams.

Do you have some bad boss tendencies you’re looking to kick? Join my Kickstart Leadership Course and learn how to lead effectively in my Lead Like a Hero Leadership Mastermind program!


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