A Bullying Researcher Weighs In on Donald Trump’s Mean Behavior

by Sep 19, 2015

Everybody has seen just how mean Donald Trump can be.  The business mogul has displayed behaviors that doesn’t seem to match our ideas of a “traditional” presidential candidate.  In fact, he comes off more like a bully than a potential leader of a country.  So far, we’ve seen the presidential hopeful launch verbal and rather offensive attacks against people that would criticize him or those that he believes treated him unfairly.  Interestingly enough, no one seemed willing to address or punish the outspoken businessman for his unpleasant conduct.

However, Trump’s behavior and everybody’s response to it are classic signs of a bully and how people would typically react to one, according to an expert.  Jaana Juvonen, a psychologist at UCLA, bullying researcher and co-author of a book about bullying in schools, found that Trump’s mean behavior seemed to fit all the prerequisites of a bully.

“Not that bullies are a uniform, homogeneous group, but the sort of classic bully is one who is narcissistic, is after power, often charismatic, and therefore popular,” Juvonen explained.

To compare, Trump can be narcissistic at times, although he sometimes also displays a charismatic side.  The businessman is running for president, so the power part is checked off.  Lastly, he is immensely popular.  Trump is the current leader in GOP polls and is the first candidate to reportedly break 30 percent in polls.

So we all know that Trump is behaving like a bully, but what’s bad is that everyone is reacting in a “classic bystander effect,” says Juvonen, wherein people are afraid that if they take on the bully, their reputations will be at stake and that they may become the next target.  How then do we deal with Trump’s behavior?  The expert shared that in a school context, the best way to address a bully would be to present a united front.

Perhaps this may be a good way to handle Trump’s mean conduct.  The only question is, if would people be willing to do so and who will take the first step to address his bullying.  Let’s wait and see.

To learn more about bullying behaviors and suggestions on how to address it, click here to read the full article.

About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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