Moment of Truth: Are You a Workplace Bully?

by Aug 30, 2017

We seem to be trapped in a cycle of violence and hate that we can’t escape thanks to technology. The news is full of many, many acts of bullying and incivility, and if you turn your television off to escape it all, you’ll find it coming through your Facebook feed instead.

I can see that this spotlight on bullying has inspired employers to pause and look around their own work environments. Indeed, my business has been booming lately as the fact that adults can and do bully has become frighteningly crystal clear for those who didn’t already know that.

But let’s talk about workplace bullies.

Contrary to popular belief that people who bully can’t change, my own experience coaching “bullies” finds that people who bully can – and want to – change. They bully because they want to be seen as uber-competent, and they mistakenly believe that aggression allows them to achieve that goal. They may also be annoyed by perceived incompetence of those around them, and lack in the social and emotional intelligence to work through that.

And here’s the kicker – they don’t know how damaging their behaviors truly are. They are intimidating, embarrassing, and insulting others with a complete lack of self-awareness.

As I think about this, it makes me wonder, how many of us are wandering around engaging in behaviors we shouldn’t?

Part of my coaching process is to interview 8-10 people and understand perceptions of my coaching client. What would 8-10 people say about me? What would they say about you?

Am I a bully? Are you a bully?

Sounds far-fetched, I know. But just to be safe, I created this assessment to ensure we are all doing our best to make the workplace a better, more positive place.

I’m all about solutions, so if you’re interested in how to get rid of your inner workplace bully once and for all, you can check out my Forbes article, Seven Steps You Can Take If You Think You Might be a Workplace Bully.



Do you know how much money chronically bad behavior costs your company? Spoiler alert – it’s a LOT higher than you want it to be. Download our data and worksheet to see how it’s costing your organization and what you can do to fix it.

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.

5 Steps for an Efficient Succession Planning

What happens when the CEO of your organization suddenly resigns or retires? Are you confident that there is someone ready to step up and fill the leadership gap?  That is why succession planning is vital to every organization. Succession planning can help ensure a...

How to Establish a Budget for Training and Development Initiatives

Training and development is a vital aspect for any organization that wants to invest in its employees' growth. Over here at Civility Partners, we often receive inquiries from people seeking guidance on developing their training programs and wondering how we can help....

The Connection Between DEIB and Mental Health

In today's ever-evolving work landscape, it's refreshing to see organizations finally acknowledging the pivotal role of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) in cultivating a thriving workplace. At the same time, the growing recognition of mental health's...

Rebecca Del Secco: Six Years With Civility Partners!

We would like to take a moment to celebrate and recognize the incredible contributions of Rebecca Del Secco, our exceptional People & Culture Consultant, who has dedicated six remarkable years to Civility Partners.  Rebecca began her journey with us as an intern,...

Recognizing 5 DEIB Influencers in Unexpected Places

Picture this: a world where workplace culture is transformed not just by well-known DEIB influencers, but by unexpected heroes who wield the power of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) in their own unique ways.  DEIB are increasingly recognized as...

10 Songs About Inclusion to Play in your Office

In a diverse and inclusive workplace, it's important to create an environment where all employees feel welcome and valued. One way to promote a sense of unity and acceptance is through the power of music.  Playing songs about inclusion in your office can help inspire...

It Starts with You: The Power of Being an Upstander

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you witnessed behavior that made you feel uncomfortable or uneasy, but weren't sure how to respond? Maybe it was a situation where someone was being bullied or harassed, or perhaps it was a situation where someone was...

Three More Brilliant Tips for Dealing with an Angry Boss

A few years ago, we shared five simple tips on how to deal with an angry boss, and the response was overwhelming! We're back with even more tips to help you navigate this challenging situation with civility in mind. According to a survey conducted by the Workplace...

Insights from the Craft Brewers Conference

Last Sunday, May 7th, I had the honor of being a keynote speaker at the THRIVE pre-conference, which was a roadmap to a safe, inclusive, and equitable experience at the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC). As a conference held in Nashville, TN, a city known for its musical...

3 Tips to Leverage Positive Psychology at Work

In the world of traditional thinking, the notion that success leads to happiness is a commonly held belief. We're taught that if we work hard and achieve our goals, then we'll be happy. However, research in positive psychology has revealed a new perspective: happiness...