Customer Experience News & Trends

3 bullies in your midst — and how to handle them

You may not have to deal with feuding NFL lineman, but you can almost rest assured that you have a bully or two lurking around. Here’s where to find them — and how to put an end to the nonsense.

Some bullies are subtle. Some are outright mean. All of them need to be redirected, perhaps even out the door, says Bill McBean, author of The Facts of Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows That You Don’t.

“Regardless of who’s doing the bullying, at the end of the day it is (your) responsibility to have the backbone, and the guts, to stand up and protect (your) entire staff, even if it means firing good individual performers, and on occasion, good customers,” McBean says.

Stop the behavior

So keep an eye out for these three bullies, and take steps to stop them:

  1. Customer bullies. They harass employees, usually demanding more than they deserve and belittling everyone they deal with. They’re a drag on morale and productivity — which is a solid enough reason to fire them. If you have several reports of a customer behaving badly, remind him to treat employees with respect, and they will do the same for him. If he doesn’t improve, recommend another supplier.
  2. Managing bullies. Some managers think the best way to lead is with an iron fist. They don’t listen to employees, and they demand more than they’re willing to do. If there’s a lot of turnover in one area, it’s likely an issue with a manager that needs to be addressed from the top.
  3. Employee bullies. Unfortunately, some people never grow out of the school yard bullies. Instead, they continue to intimidate and taunt those who are similarly situated in attempts to raise themselves up. Leaders must discipline bullies immediately when they witness an incident and follow through quickly on any reports of bullying. Punishment should include termination after a certain number of documented incidents.

Subscribe Today

Get the latest customer experience news and insights delivered to your inbox.