You know who you are, we are seeing so much of this, and although, in our case, we must make the choice to ignore it, I still felt that it should be addressed in such a way that we do not add any more fuel to the fire.

As you know, a bully can and will devastate a small employer and or organization. The cost almost certainly comes in loss of morale and lost attention to business. While you might think that bullying at work is rare I assure you it is not.

Bullying can take many forms. It doesn’t matter whether the bully uses sarcastic remarks, rudeness, public criticism, yelling or sabotage and outright lies, it all hurts. Although not a simple matter, small business owners and organizations should take steps to identify and stop bullying behavior before it gets out of hand.

The first step is to recognize the bully, this may be difficult because bullies often have strong communication skills, a bully at times is extremely likable in the moment but as time goes on that personality changes. They may be charming, may get others to produce and may have been promoted over and over again. This may sound like a strong manager but a bully differs from a good and even in some cases a great manager. Bullies can be recognized by how they act toward employees and co-workers. Bullies seek to control others. They use intimidation, criticism and threats to get their way. Bullies try to divide staff and even board members and organizations officers so that it seems no one works well together. Other bullies choose one target for isolation and work to turn everyone against that person.

While strong managers will point out performance errors, they also take steps to coach employees and encourage improvement. With a bully, improvement never seems possible. To further confuse matters, this may keep an employee or team working harder and harder to earn praise or at least stop criticism.

Many employers will ask the target to “work it out” with the bully, just as many parents send children back to the school yard to stand up for themselves. Other employers turn a blind eye toward bullying behavior, especially if the bully gets the team to perform.

Many targets of bullies lose their voice. They can’t talk about the abuse because the bully has attacked their sense of personal empowerment. One bullying tactic is to complain about the target. Employers may believe that the target really is incompetent, a complainer, or just trying to make trouble for a co-worker or supervisor. One bully delighted in changing the target of her criticism during weekly meetings. By doing this she kept employees working to avoid being her target, which made it virtually impossible for them to confront the behavior by using the power of the group.

I sent this out in our newsletter this past year when we addressed this very issue within our own organization and I happened across it while sorting through files and thought that you can never hear this to often because even now we still experience this from people outside our organization from people that are hired by small to large firms that should be promoting diversity but in their effort to promote it, they promote what they know, not how the diverse business functions and because of that … the diversity they were meant to protect … is gone, and we are left with mostly narcissistic people that use their position representing major companies or the community (and very few people are aware that it is going on) and sometimes its hard to tell the difference between a bully and a narcissist, narcissists share many common traits with bullies, but due to their ability to project a compelling false, idealized self image, and high intelligence, are more likely to “get away with it”, and escape accountability.

So be aware of your surroundings, in a narcissist’s world, It’s all about them, as Narcissists possess no real empathy, they feign or act empathic, while they delude themself that they are entitled to special treatment, and to not having to bother with detail or drudgery (Babiak: 2006). These narcissists often gather a following of helpers or “sidekicks” to manipulate into doing any effort based work for them. Instead they spend their time managing their “image”, being a “visionary”, being “strategic”, establishing key “contacts”, that they argue only they are able to successfully do.