How to talk to an intimidating boss dating in the 1960

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"Only the underlying economics make it a dysfunctional behavior." While bullies inhabit the middle ranks of large concerns, they are positively thriving at small companies."There are lots of bad bosses out there,' says Atlanta-based management consultant Neil Lewis, Ph. "In smaller companies the quality of management is not as good as at large companies. D., the dean of organizational psychologists and head of the Levinson Institute in Waltham, Massachusetts.They constantly put others down with snide remarks or harsh, repetitive, and unfair criticism.It's too costly in the face of managed care." Occasionally, bullies do get to the very top.Levinson points to Harold Geneen, the legendary head of ITT, and coach Vince Lombardi."It affects the efficiency of the entire organization." Intimidation tends to be more polished.While it's no longer cool to throw around your authority, counterforces are leading to greater tolerance of negative behavior.

This fosters emotional distancing from employees, an excessive focus on transactions; it does not foster a positive relationship mode.

"It spells out desired behavioral changes in a positive way--not 'people are complaining that you are a bully' but 'if you make these changes you'll have a reputation as someone who is considerate.'" It gives honchos 90 days to shape up--or else. Any activity that repeatedly demeans you or is discourteous. It has no place here." It can be startlingly effective. Some external controls may force them to back off" says Levinson.

It's never easy to make headway with an office bully, observers agree. "Whenever you're dissed, you're dealing with a bully," says Levinson. "A bully can't bully if you don't let yourself be bullied." o Conduct the confrontation in private--behind dosed doors in the bully's office, at lunch outside the office. o Specify the behavior that's unworkable: "You can't just fire from the hip and demean me in front of my staff or others." o Don't play armchair psychologist.

They verbally abuse you, humiliate you in front of others. Trouble is, organizational psychologists are often called in at the highest level of management; nowadays, most bullies are weeded out before they get to the top.

Maybe it's because power hovers in the air, but offices tend to bring out the bully in people. If the schoolyard is the stomping ground of bully boys and bully girls, then the office is the playground of adult bullies. Nevertheless, says Levinson, 40 years of consulting have given him some idea of what they do and why.

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