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Thursday, 31 October 2013

How to deal with bullies

Last week I talked about Bullying in Business and introduced our client Melinda from Applied Leadership.

Thanks everyone for all of the great feedback on this article. It really seemed to touch home with some people.

What came out of that conversation is that there are many ways to deal with bullies . . .

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Physical bullying at school, as depicted in the film Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s a story about that.

We had designed and developed a really modern, smart looking website for this client.

He approved the design and then handed control over to his 2IC to manage the delivery.

This 2IC guy was a home grown “website expert”, having put together their previous website.

I think that he was a bit put out that we were called in to build the new website, because he promptly set about requesting a long series of changes to the new website that made it look pretty much like the old website again.

The upshot of all these changes was that not only did the website start looking like the drab old out-of-date website, but it was getting late on delivery as well.

Perhaps understandably, the client was not happy, but this was down to the management of the 2IC.

So the client rang and left a voice message with several F-Word expletives.

“What the F#@k is going on with our website?”

Not sure how to take control of the situation, the client resorted to bullying to establish control and dominance of the situation.

But after dealing with the 2IC guy for several months now, the fixed-price project had gone way over budget, and we were less than impressed with this outburst from the client.

So I remembered something that I had learned in communication seminar years ago . . .

Meet a Force-10 argument with a Force-9 response.

You are not escalating the argument with a Force-11 response, but you are making a stand that says “don’t mess with me”.

Bullies in Business are just like schoolyard bullies.
They usually lack confidence themselves, and use the bluster of bullying to cover their lack of confidence and get their way.

My response was along the lines of . . .

Yes I totally agree with you. I am not F-ing happy with the website either and it is all down to numerous changes requested by your 2IC. He has taken our modern design and made it look like the old website and wasted a lot of our time in the process.

Oddly enough, or perhaps not, after that we had no more problems.

So the moral of the story, and the advice for people feeling bullied, is to meet a Force-10 argument with a Force-9 response.


Well, that is quite simple in the end !


What should you do now?

  1. If you feel that you are being bullied, stand up to the bully.

  2. If you think you might be the bully, then take a deep breath and look for another way.

  3. Want some help or ideas? Just contact us at Hotpink Websites now.



Drama is Drama. bullying is bullying.
No matter what reasons people do it for, it will usually be out of self-interest or for their own enjoyment.
~ Isaiah Harden

Remember – How to deal with bullies


How to deal with bullies

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