Crazy Bosses

The Bully

Office Bully

Strategies on how to deal with your crazy "Bully" boss.


  • Default emotion: rage.
  • Extremely inconsistent, vast emotional swings depending on mood, often seemingly unrelated to external circumstances.
  • Capable of great affection and loyalty, which may be withdrawn at any time.
  • Manipulative and self- pitying, highly aggressive personality that has no problem asserting its priorities over those of others.
  • Extremely insensitive about feelings of others while at the same time extremely solicitous of his or her own.
  • Requires enemies in order to function properly; if none are handy is not averse to creating them.
  • Contagion factor: 96.
  • Level of difficulty: 100. Bully management is perhaps the most difficult of all tasks for those who wish to survive in a world filled with the impressive variety of sick senior officers.


Be ostentatiously loyal

Rationale: Bullies demand a visible show of fealty, day in and day out. This means looking out for his interests and bringing matters that could cause him discomfort to his attention before anyone else does. In political struggles, it may involve conveying other people's planned machinations against him to his attention. Offer him juicy tidbits of scuttlebutt as liberally and as often as you can, creating the very public impression that you and your supreme commander are one. Ask his advice often and take it literally. When it becomes necessary in hostile meetings, take a bullet that was meant for him.

Effectiveness: High. But make sure he sees you do it. Loyalty is one thing. Loyalty with no prospect of return is just dumb.


Provide excellent operating assistance.

Rationale: Bullies are in almost constant pain. It hurts to be aggrieved and angry all the time, particularly at people you like and who might like you if you weren't such a toad. If you know he likes to read the trade news while on the road in order to stay informed, see if you can make sure he's the first busy nabob to get his info at the Allen Conference. If he likes toys, buy him a pen that is also a flash drive. Any small attempt to ease his troubled way - with no professional agenda at all - will pay off in spades.

Effectiveness: High. But keep it cool and relatively free of affect. You're not offering affection, just a little bit of comfort on the hard road.


Withhold your love.

Rationale: Bullies get maudlin now and then, and may even close the door and tell you their life stories. Don't be fooled. The flip side of his bogus emotion is resentment that he has revealed his soft underbelly. He'll take it out on you later. When the giving vein is upon him, it's easy to think you've crossed over into some warm, wet land where life is soft and comfy. There is no such place. So play hard to get. He'll respect you more in the morning.

Effectiveness: Not particularly effective as a short- term tactic - a hug may some- times do you better - but absolutely essential to one's long-term sanity and dignity.


Stay out of striking distance.

Rationale: Not being around is a terrific way to avoid being killed by flying shrapnel when he goes off, as he inevitably will. Those who aren't killed immediately will often be hauled off to prison for torture and, sometimes, execution. Have you got a field operation out in the boonies somewhere? Another office across town where people are into production, instead of planning? Go there periodically. Establish the fact that you are at times out of the office on real business. Then get lost when you see he's in the killing vein. If you must remain in physical proximity to the bad dude (like in a grumpy budget session), establish psychological and emotional distance immediately upon noticing the darkness is upon him. In other words, shut up and speak when you're spoken to, softly. This is not the time for honesty or self justification. Survival is the name of this game.

Effectiveness: Just common sense, but effective.