One of the hottest trends in management in recent years has been the realisation that embracing your inner bully is an excellent strategy if you want to progress through the ranks.
Bullying for too long has had a bad press, with all the wet lettuce human resource types trying to con us that bullying is bad. It is not! Bullying is excellent! Bullying gets results, and if you don’t agree YOU CAN GET OUT!
I write this as the poster boy for bullying, D. Trump, is supposed to be quitting Washington in a couple of days time. Of course, given recent events, who knows what will have happened by the time you read this.
However, surely a significant part of his legacy will be his unabashed embrace of bullying, reportedly in his business dealings, then publicly on the TV show The Apprentice, which was merely an appetiser for the main game in Washington.
Humiliating colleagues in front of baying crowds, whether in real life or via social media, Trump (ghost) wrote the book on bullying. Of course, everybody recoiled from his abhorrent behaviour. Well some did. About 75 million Americans chose to overlook it, and more than a handful of advisers, cronies and hangers-on managed to look the other way, or saw no evil.
People’s reactions to Trump are not unlike their reactions to bullying. Those who find him or bullying objectionable seemingly find it almost impossible to understand why others tolerate the person or the behaviour. Critics attempt to apply logic or reason to the problem, but rarely come up trumps.
The sad fact is that bullies tend to get away with it most of the time, and the higher the office they occupy, the more likely they are to be excused. Rarely do bullies rise to senior positions or prominence as a result of their bullying alone. Rather they have intelligence, a keen ear for a hungry constituency, rat cunning or a combination of these “qualities”.
People often freeze in the face of out-and-out bullying. They can be shocked into acquiescence, or self-preservation kicks in and they make a Faustian pact, believing that acceding to the bully will in some way advance or at least protect their interests. They can often rationalise that the emotional cost of standing up to or reporting a bully is greater than simply tolerating the behaviour or silently walking away. They may admire the bully for being strong when they feel weak, they may feel protected, or enjoy the bully taking on their own nemeses.
Bullies love conflict, most of the rest us do not. We are more than likely going to walk away from the fight, or worse under some circumstances get brainwashed into doing the bully’s bidding.
Even in those companies that have bullying policies, making a complaint can be daunting, career-ending and too frequently, even if it does end in vindication, it is so long after the fact, the impact is rarely as severe on the bully as it is on their victims.
Whether you like or loathe Trump and his ilk (and I am in the latter camp), they don’t get into positions of influence without the support of gatekeepers: boards, senior executives, shareholders or senior political party figures. They have perceived value, and, sadly, as long as the ends-justifies-the-means argument is allowed to hold sway, unlike Trump, bullies will be not be going away any time soon.
Jim Bright, FAPS is Professor of Career Education and Development at ACU and owns Bright and Associates, a Career Management Consultancy. Email to [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @DrJimBright
Source: Thanks smh.com