Ten signs you might be a bullying boss


Being a successful leader means earning and retaining your team’s trust and respect and effectively managing and incentivising them. While pressure can get effective results, negative behaviours can also develop into outright bullying, with extremely negative consequences for the team and for the business.

Writing in SmallBizTrends, Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead identified ten signs to watch out for that you might be a bully (while in conversation with Tremendous Leadership’s president Tracey C. Jones).

  1. Delivering destructive criticism: The aim of feedback is to make things better. If you’re just tearing down your staff then you’re not helping. And if you’re humiliating them in public, it’s just sadism.
  2. Being insecure: Many negative behaviours stem from a lack of confidence. Be sure of yourself in your leadership and responsibilities. And if you can’t do something then work through it rather than covering it up.
  3. Making people quit: People leave for lots of reasons. Make sure it’s not because you’re treating them badly, though. If you’re the source of a company brain drain, you’re killing the business.
  4. Violating the workplace behaviour policies: If you’re crossing the lines of what’s written in the rulebook, you’re probably going too far.
  5. Poor role modelling: If you’re doing things or behaving in ways that you would reprimand employees for, then stop.
  6. Losing respect: Yelling at people might get your point across, but it’ll cost you respect. And if your team don’t respect you, things will soon fall apart.
  7. Stealing credit: Taking credit for other people’s work will make them hate you. Instead, recognise and reward contributions in order to incentivise performance.
  8. Lying: If you feel the need to play people off against each another, you’re creating a toxic workplace – and it’s not conducive to getting things done.
  9. Undermining staff: And if you prioritise personal vendettas over performance, you’re pushing against everyone trying to make a success of the business.
  10. Removing responsibilities: Altering roles or taking away responsibilities without reason is simply running interference on someone’s career progression. If you want them to enjoy their job and feel like they’re getting ahead, help them develop their skills and responsibilities.

Don’t Be a Bully Boss! 10 Signs It Could Be Happening to You