Leadership Bullying is Not Appropriate

Ron McIntyre
2 min readMay 31, 2024

In a 2014 National Survey, Workplace Bullying by workplacebullying.org, it was defined as repeated mistreatment, abusive conduct that is threatening, humiliating, intimidating, work sabotage, or verbal abuse.

The consequences of workplace bullying are severe, often leading to the victim’s economic downfall. Shockingly, in the absence of legal measures, employers are shirking their responsibility to prevent and address this issue. The data presented below serves as a wake-up call for every leader, urging them to act now!

The bully tends to be someone skilled at manipulating and controlling. While they see everything as a competition, they often do not feel competent enough to compete on their own merits. Bullying becomes a futile attempt to feel more powerful.

Often, the bully strives to create a perception that they are strong by putting down, shaming, and blaming others. Frequently, leadership understands that bullies are “unpopular” but thinks that the organization cannot do without them and makes “allowances.” The bullying is framed as “personality conflict with the bullied person being moved to reduce the conflict.”

Unchecked bullying breeds isolation and erodes department trust, leading to an undercurrent of rumors and discussions. This can significantly hamper the quality of services and products, ultimately affecting customers. The negative impact on your organizational culture is undeniable.

The worst-case scenario for allowing bullying to exist is the litigation that can result. In many cases, it can be interpreted as harassment. The financial implications can be extensive but very subtle when unaware of what is happening. Monitoring your culture will help by providing an early warning system.

Takeaway: As a leader, it’s crucial to understand and shape your company’s culture. By fostering an environment of openness and transparency, you can significantly reduce the risk of a bully emerging within your organization.

Leadership Question: What do you do to keep your culture open and aware of the symptoms of leadership bullying? How do you empower a process for dealing with any accusations that arise in a fair and high-integrity fashion?


Keys: |Application: Leaders and Employees |Status: Tactical |Duration: DNA Embed |Impact: Medium



Ron McIntyre

Ron McIntyre is a Leadership Anthropologist, Author, and Consultant, who, in semi-retirement, is looking to help people who really want to make a difference.