Managing people is difficult. Period. There are personalities, moral codes, needs, and then their personal lives to be dealt with. What makes a good manager a great one? One who can find the hidden talents in each of their people and help them grow as individuals and team players.
It would be wonderful if we could eliminate the word “bully” and replace it with “warrior”. I used to tell my children that bullies were people with a lot of pain inside of them. This is true as children, but as adults this is a behavior that has been allowed, therefore, they have never had to change their ways of reacting. At the core of their issues is that they have a general lack of trust and a need for control. What are their positive attributes? Bullies – or Warriors – tend to be organized, tenacious, strong, charismatic, over-achievers, and great at what they do. They can protect the weakest of the group and be the cheerleader for the underdog.
Think of them as the warriors of old. Generally, warriors come in two types. First is the shadow warrior or mercenary. They will do what they are told and don’t have much of a conscience. They are in it for themselves and trust no one. They see vulnerability as weakness and never want to seem weak or insecure. These are your hardened individuals who have lost their compassion and acceptance of themselves and others along the road called life.
The second type is the light warrior. These individuals are all about the tenets of loyalty, trust, honor and integrity. They protect the weak and those that can’t protect themselves. They have high expectations of themselves and others. They stand with strength and true confidence. They can be gentle and kind. Wise and true.
A great manager will see that their bully and mercenary behavior is a front. Their truth is that they have the potential to be your poster children for integrity, honor, trustworthiness, truthfulness, and loyalty. When you model a high level of these qualities and require them to do the same, they will stand in a new and positive way. By trusting them and others on your staff, you are mentoring the positive aspects of releasing control. It is essential that your bully understand that by releasing control, abundance can come their way. Holding their feet to the fire whenever they stray from the light warrior characteristics will reinforce their positive qualities and truth. Because of their charisma and desire to meet their superior’s expectations, they make great sales people, and are perfect to work with your best clients.
The key with managing the bully is to gain their trust and respect. Do what you say you are going to do. Be respectful, trustworthy, and honest at all times. Go back to the basics by using skills to enhance trust and team building exercises where they learn to play well with others. These are essential to bring out the best in this employee. Once they trust you, they will stay loyal and true to you – always.
Bold Yet Sensitive
The bully has bravado. They seem confident and strong. However, the bully’s heart is one that has been betrayed over and over. Betrayal is their biggest fear and keeps their huge heart hidden. Their heart is so big, in fact, that it is exceptionally sensitive and can be bruised easily. But a bruising of the heart is normal when working with imperfect people. This is an important life lesson. As a manager, it will be up to you to have their backs if someone on their team betrays them. If not have their back then give the offending team member a chance to apologize and clean up the mess they made. Underneath it all a bully’s true desire is to stand for their team and have compassion for all people. By understanding that the bully has bravado but is incredibly sensitive and by nurturing their true desire to be a part of a team, they will help your department and company grow exponentially.
Working with all personality types is a challenge for any manager. At times it can be difficult to see the hidden talents in any individual. Setting your intention to find and nurture these latent pieces of your staff will take you from goodness to greatness as a manager.