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Workplace Bullies Come in Four Toxic Flavors

Workplace Bullies Come in Four Toxic Flavors

When you experience the perplexing games of a toxic manager or coworker, it is helpful to know the bully or jerk category they fit within. Bully DNA is amazingly consistent, regardless of the organization.  It helps to be prepared, if not predict, their behavior before you experience your next toxic encounter.

Knowledge is power if you want to survive a toxic workplace.

According to our good friend Dr. Gary Namie, founder of the Workplace Bullying Institute, based in Bellingham, Washington, there are four categories of toxic bullies scouring the workplace.  Dr. Namie developed these descriptive four categories after exhaustive research and his very own close encounters with the inhumane kind.  According “Busting the Workplace Bully” by Kie Relyea, The Bellingham Herald, the four types are the Screaming Mimi, the Two-Headed Snake, the Constant Critic, and the Gatekeeper.

  • Screaming Mimi is “the fist-pounding, vein-bulging maniac who chooses a public setting.” She yells. She cusses. She points her finger in your face. Think of her as the sales manager who shrieks at you in a meeting.
  • Two-Headed Snake is the “smarmy Jekyll and Hyde back-stabber.”  He steals the credit for your work. He smiles into your face, then shares private information about you with your co-workers or other bosses. “It’s really about rumor, innuendo and damage of reputation. Their goal is to control others’ impressions of you,” Gary Namie says.
  • Constant Critic gets you behind closed doors and tries to erode your confidence in your own competence. He’s the negative nitpicker who accuses you of getting it wrong. He’s not above doctoring documents to pin “mistakes” on you.
  • Gatekeeper withholds the resources you need to succeed.

We recommend the Workplace Bullying Institute website to find advice on how to deal with these bullies.

Image Credit: HK Pro Club

Kevin Kennemer is founder of The People Group based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Kevin is driven by his passion for company owners and their need to earn a profit, employees' desire for a positive and fulfilling work experience, and the community that benefits when both groups do well.

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  1. […] The mob usually has a ringleader who directs the bullying “agenda.” Extroverted ringleaders will actively participate in mob actions and are bold about their contempt for the target. Introverted ringleaders are considered more threatening because they do their “dirty work” behind the scenes, sometimes presenting a pleasant and friendly face while causing mayhem behind the target’s back. This type of bully has been referred to as the “two-headed snake.” […]

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