Are You a Bully of a Boss?

Small business owners need awareness to stay true to your leadership ideals.



A small business owner’s values are never to be over-rated. Recently a partner/vendor said to me, “I am always grateful for the respect you show me. Many people have forgotten business etiquette…”

Of course I loved hearing those words because like many of you, I go out of my way to treat people with honor. I pay attention to appreciating what anyone does for me or for my company.

And I have compassion when people I do business with make mistakes. But it also made me think about how common it is to not keep our word, or to disrespect one another, or to fail in appreciating the people that serve us, whether it is someone taking our order in a restaurant or an employee busting their butt to get their job done.

Of course, these are minor infractions compared to those involving acts that cause another to suffer as in, for example, workplace harassment.

And we certainly are getting an earful in the media lately about harassment on the job, especially sexual harassment! Let’s be clear, harassment of any kind violates the business values we all uphold as dear to our core system of professional etiquette and leadership.

A company or small business owner whose leadership lacks professional etiquette

A company or small business owner whose leadership lacks professional etiquette or fails to uphold the core values that our society has deemed appropriate for a working environment is sure to fail in the long run unless that leadership is replaced.

We are seeing many high-powered leaders in large organizations and even public offices being called out, ousted and replaced because of behavior that is unacceptable in a professional environment. But what if that company is a small business or a Mom & Pop where the very ones that are the leaders are also the owners accountable only to themselves and cannot be replaced?

What if those leaders are abusing their power and treating employees with disrespect?

I believe leaders in small or large companies that abuse their power have gotten away with unacceptable behavior for too long. Thankfully, social media is helping to expose these individuals, transforming the landscape of business conduct forever.

In the almost twenty years of recruiting

In the almost twenty years of recruiting that I have enjoyed throughout my career, I have found that the number one reason why a candidate is willing to talk to me and consider a move from their current position, is that they feel unappreciated and/or undervalued by their boss.

But much worse than being undervalued, is being bullied. I am always shocked when I hear stories of bosses that treat employees with disdain, disrespect and even violence. As a career coach, I have heard it all.

Bosses often yell at employees when they are unable to contain their personal problems, seemingly thinking that anyone on their payroll is a good target for venting and unleashing whatever emotional instability is plaguing them that day. For many employees that are being verbally abused or in any other way mistreated, the stress can cause illness on many levels.

While there are many degrees of bullying in the workplace, the impact can be severe, especially in cases where the employee may be “stuck” or unable to make a move to another job for any number of reasons.

What amazes me most is that many bosses that are bullies do not realize what they are doing, and much less comprehend the damage they are causing!

Although actual abusive behaviors may be hard to identify, particularly if they are subtle, here are 5 signs that you are in all probability, a bully of a boss and what to do to prevent yourself from exhibiting unacceptable behavior:

Next page- 5 signs that you are in all probability, a bully of a boss and what to do


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