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Follow Up to “Is Your Boss a Bully”


Last Wednesday, I was the guest expert on "The Bill Handel Show", featured on KFI640 AM Radio here in Southern California.

Bill Handel is the #1 radio show in Southern California and recently went into national syndication.  He is VERY good at what he does and, if he picks a subject, it must be an important one to him and to his listeners.

Imagine my surprise when Bill invited me on the show  and then told me that the segment was titled, "Is Your Boss a Bully" – and that he was going to ask people to call in for advice or tell their story AND answer questions.

From the feedback I have received from listeners, from Bill and his producer Sheron, as well as how many people called or visited my sites, the show was a hit.  I am very grateful to Bill for inviting me on the show and thankful I was able to help people deal with the subject of bullying.

There was one thing that Bill mentioned on the show that we were not able to address – and many people have written or called, asking me what my thoughts were on the subject.

In case you missed what I am talking about, Bill mentioned a study done by a pair of academics in which the premise of the study concluded that bosses bully due to a combination of feelings of insecurity and having a position of power.  In short, they are scared and to cover up the fact they are scared and don't feel up to the task, they lash out at co-workers and employees to keep them inline.

Bill asked me if I bought that, and I said, yes – to a certain extent.  What I added was that the REASONS that the boss may feel inadequate were more important; if you discover WHY they boss acts the way he does, it makes it much easier to figure a strategy and approach to deal with it.

Which, brings me to the part of the study that cracked me up and I could not DISAGREE with more…

As a strategy to deal with a bullying boss, the authors of the study suggested that you flatter your insecure boss, compliment him, make him feel more secure about himself and try to "build him up" so you would not be seen as a threat and to help fight the boss's insecurity.

Stop…my sides…I can't breathe…you're killing me…

This sort of "Ivory Tower Thinking" is the very reason why bullying is such a problem in the first place.  The problem is one of dealing with reality – with things as they ARE, not as we WISH them to be.

I understand why they think the way they do.  When you are an academic, professor or other Ivory Tower Type, everything is about how many books you have published, are you tenured or not (tenure, by the way, is one of the most seperated from reality and the way the world works concepts that is still in existence), how many studies have you authored, what do the statistics say,what date did the computer models prroduce, etc…

In short, it is all based on logic, math and the way "Things Should Be".

The problem with that approach is that very often, it leaves out the ONE thing that throws a "monkey in the wrench" – and that is PEOPLE.

Human emotion is the one variable that is impossible to calculate for.  While the models, numbers, statistics, math, studies and everything else may indicate one thing, when you throw in human emotion and psychology into the equation, the outcome can change dramatically, in a direction that might not make logical sense at all, but it happens nonetheless.

You WANT to believe if you are just nicer to your boss, if you help him with his self-esteem position yourself as no threat, that he will stop bullying you.

Just like you WANT to believe that kids and teens know it is a crime to stomp another kid in the head and hit him with part of a railway tie while he is motionless in the street, killing him – but they do it anyway.

You WANT to believe that if you just "turn the other cheek" with a bully, that they will lose interest and you will be the "bigger man" for it.

Many of these "Wants" are based on the type of thinking that, "This should work this way because it would be nice, it's the right thing, etc.etc."

But – the reality is – it does NOT work that way.

The "Proof is in the Pudding" as they say.

Bullying has been around forever and, even though it is twenty five years later, the problem is bigger than ever.Most people are STILL teaching the same techniques and philosophies when it comes to bullying that they did twenty five years ago, and they didn't work back then, either.

Being nicer to a bully or, "Turning the Other Cheek" doesn't work – the bully is experiencing a feeling of control and empowerment by getting you to react certain ways.  If you continue to act in a manner that makes him feel as if he has control over you, nothing will change.

If your boss bullies you – and you do nothing or worse, you coddle him, try to compliment him or suck up in any way – you will only make things worse.

Bill Handel said it himself; he can tell when people are buttering him up and he hates it; makes him lose respect for whomever is doing it.  Bullies can tell, too.

What is MOST important was what I mentioned on the show – having the guts and willingness to stand up for yourself to the bullying boss, regardless of your fears about losing your job, getting in a confrontation, possibly being outcast or more.

To be happy, you have to "Take Back Your Power" and give yourself permission to stand up for YOU.

You are worth it.

To your best,

Sensei Harrison Huff

P.S. – My first product, "How to Bully Proof Your Child" is a great starting point for anyone to get introduced to the philosphies and principles you can use to stand up to the bullies in your life.  You can learn more about it at http://www.bullyproofkids.com/index1.html.

P.P.S. – There are more products in the pipeline coming up for adults; "Bully Proof Business Skills" is one and another titled, "9 Ways People Attract Bullies, Energy Suckers & Negative B.S. into Their Lives and How to Fix It".  If there is a problem or topic you would like to see addressed, send a note to Sensei@ HarrisonHuff.com.

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