6 Types of Workplace Bullies

Learn to identify the types of bullies you may encounter


Bullying is not limited to schoolyards and computer screens. It occurs everywhere including the workplace.

Bullies at work use different approaches, but they are all after the same thing. They want power and control in the workplace. Here are six of the most common types of bullies you will find in the workplace.

The bullying boss. It seems counterproductive that a boss would bully his employees, but it does happen.

In fact, some bosses feel they need to maintain their power and control over the team and will resort to bullying to do so. For many, they want to be sure that no one questions their power so they create a sense of fear in others.

For instance, they might intimidate their employees, put an employee on the spot in front of others or may derogatory remarks. The result is that most of the boss’s employees walk around on eggshells hoping to stay out of the line of fire. If you find yourself in this situation, there is a good chance you have a bullying boss.

The cyber bully. Most employees falsely assume that cyberbullying is a teen problem. But it is not. In fact, there are a number of employees who do not think twice about flaming their co-workers through social media. Even e-mails can become a method for bullying others.

Examples of workplace cyberbullying might include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures and videos distributed electronically.

Oftentimes, cyberbullying can feel more painful than other types of bullying because there is no escaping it when five o’clock rolls around. Cyberbullying is always there, even in the comfort of your home. Additionally, cyberbullies tend to be crueler because they can hide behind a screen.

The gossip.

This type of bully thrives on workplace drama and gossip. For instance, this type of bully is “in the know.” She can tell you who is dating the boss, who is not really out sick and who is fudging their expense reports. The problem with this bully is that she will use this gossip to further her agenda.

For instance, she may use gossip to gain favor with the boss. In other words, she may share gossip with the boss prefaced by the words “I just thought you should know.” Or, she may use the gossip to manipulate others or to pit two people against each other. No matter what her methods, gossip is her way of maintaining power and control in the workplace.

The backstabber. This bully will be your friend when it helps him gain an edge in the workplace. He will appear very nice and helpful, all the while fishing for something he can use to propel himself to the top. As a result, he is not above selling you out to the boss if it benefits him. In other words, this type of bully is always manipulating the situation to his benefit. He has no loyalty to anyone but himself. And he will stop at nothing to get where he wants to go.

Be careful around this type of bully. Do not share private information or anything that can be used against at a later date.

This bully truly does not care about helping you, but is only interested in helping himself.

The intimidator. This bully is the most obvious type of bully. He is loud, rude and downright mean. Most people want to avoid him anytime they see him. He is typically confrontational and will bully just about anyone who gets in his way.

This type of bully uses mean words and threatening behaviors to gain power and he loves being feared. He is not above making fun of the way you look, act, dress or talk.

The master manipulator. This type of bully is the most insidious type of bully in the workplace. In fact, you would never guess that this bully is truly not your friend.

To your face, this bully is your confidante at work – the one person you go to vent – because this bully seems to know just what to say.

But these bullies are controlled and calculating. On the outside, this type of bully appears charming and charismatic. But on the inside, they are plotting on how to gain more control. Master manipulators also are skilled liars. Keep in mind that their super nice persona is just another way to manipulate situations. They are able to twist facts and situations in such a way that they always come out looking good.

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