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Chapter 8. Bullying Managers > Emotional Intelligence Approach to Bullying Mana...

Emotional Intelligence Approach to Bullying Managers

Dealing with Superiors Who Bully

The first step in dealing with a bully is to be sure that you are in fact dealing with a bully—a person who is sadistic and enjoys intimidating and hurting people. Sometimes a manager who both lacks reasonable social skills and feels overwhelmed by work pressure can look like a bully. There is not much to lose in initially assuming that the manager is irritable and overwhelmed and seeing if he will respond to an intervention designed for this situation. You can start by telling the abusive boss that his raising his voice, calling your basic intelligence into question, ripping up your reports, and threatening you is not necessary to get your attention. In fact, it creates an atmosphere that interferes with rather than fosters motivation. You can then suggest alternative ways of getting your attention. If this fails and the evidence mounts that the primary motive for attacking you is the fun involved in pushing people around, it is time to move on to interventions for bullies.

Dealing with bullies calls for an integrated game plan. You need to decrease their desire to engage in bullying, decrease their interest in selecting you as the victim of choice when they do bully, and strengthen yourself against potential attacks. You can sometimes decrease their urge to hurt you by helping them to attain their goals. You can also make yourself less of a target by avoiding them during the times of day that they are most explosive and by putting in extra effort on those aspects of work that are a trigger for them to explode.


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