• LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+

The telltale traits of a bully

Get PDF file
Cal Butera

by on
in Workplace Communication,Workplace Conflict

Do you know anyone in your workplace who has the following traits? If so, they just might be a bully. When negotiating with someone who’s overly aggressive or an outright bully, definitely take note of the following characteristics:

Bullies tend to be egocentric. They have to be the center of attention in order to satisfy their need to appear superior to others. As such, they will belittle, demean, and put others down to maintain the appearance of their superiority.

Be watchful of who a bully associates with. Bullies tend to bring those who are weaker and like himself into his fold; he uses the former as foils in the plots he perpetrates against others. The caveat being, the bully needs to be the leader and will only allow in his immediate sphere those who will subjugate themselves to him. As such, you should be mindful of the fact that when you’re negotiating with him, you’re also negotiating with his minions.

A bully alters facts to make them fit his view of situations. Doing so is a way to psychologically arrest the logical thought process of others in an attempt to bend their outlook to his will and perspective. When negotiating with him, be selective as to the points in which you choose to engage him.

Loyalty between a bully and his associates is good as long as there are no threats in his camp. Once threats occur, loyalty loses its two-way appeal (the appeal is revealed as the smoke and mirrors that the bully employs from his bag of tricks). He will throw supporters under the bus! Loyalty becomes one-way, and that way is in favor of the bully. Loyalty to his supporters becomes muted because of the bully’s need to maintain a hold on his power and its sources at all costs.

A bully seeks constant praise from others because that feeds his ego and his need for self-aggrandizement. It serves as validation that he’s superior to others. Therefore, seek ways to praise a bully. That will endear you to him. Just make sure not to fall into his attempts to pull you closer to his views than is necessary.

Bullies lie incessantly because their view has to be the predominant one. Thus, they attempt to alter the outlook of others to make them conform to his perspective. This action of the bully is very dangerous because one never really knows what to believe when a bully speaks.

The only way a bully can rise to his perch is to do so by keeping others subjugated to his will. Once he loses any appeal that makes others bow to him, he can become more aggressive in his attempts to reacquire the power he’s lost. That’s when he’s most dangerous, because he may engage in activities that are very far outside the realm of rationality.


Greg Williams is the author of Body Language Secrets to Win More Negotiations. He is an internationally known and sought-after consultant and has appeared on numerous television and radio programs.

Leave a Comment