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5 guidelines that save you if you supervise a bully employee

By Lynne Curry  bio

Do you supervise a bully employee? An employee who sees your job as a promotional opportunity and will stop at nothing to get you out of the way?

If you supervise a bully employee, you know the angst. Supposedly, you have more power, and so should be able to handle the employee’s antics. Except the bully employee might have the protection of physicians who don’t see the bully for what he is. Your bully employee may have special talents hard to replace and that your organization needs, or has been working in your organization for years, thus making firing hard without significant negative consequences or even an ugly lawsuit. Perhaps worst of all, this employee has more time than you to connect with coworkers and spends that time poisoning your other employees against you, making every day a challenge that you face alone.

If you supervise a bully employee, you can survive—if you keep five guidelines in mind.

Don’t expect a bully to have your values

Bully employees feel few qualms. Like other bullies, they bully because it brings them success. They enjoy watching you back down when they bully you. They create uproar without feeling any remorse, hoping to topple you or make your life harder.

You run the show

Don’t allow bully employees to run the show while you accommodate their problem behavior, giving them free rein to act out. As the supervisor, you need to lead and manage. Never allow an employee an unchecked carte blanche bully pulpit.

Don’t let them separate you from your employees or your physicians

No matter how large your workload, invest time in your relationships with each of your employees and physicians. Bully employees cultivate covert relationships with their peers and those in positions of power and then attempt to poison your employees and leaders against you. They can’t accomplish this if your employees and physicians know and like you.

Let fairness guide you to take the right action

Is it right and just that your bully employee get away with bad behavior? If not, what do you need to do? What would you do with any other employee with bad behavior? Now do it.


The longer you wait, the worse things get. Bullies destroy a work environment with toxic behavior, driving out good employees and frustrating you to the point where you might react instead of acting. Don’t wait until things spiral out of control. Once you’ve figured things out, act justly yet swiftly.

Lynne Curry, PhD, author of “Beating the Workplace Bully,” AMACOM 2016, and “Solutions” regularly presents to the Medical Group Management Association, Alaska Chapter and provides services to multiple medical practices and hospitals. You can contact Curry @

Want to learn more about how to create a bully-free workplace? Medical Office Manager is pleased to welcome Lynne Curry as presenter of our December 7, 2016 webinar, Outsmarting Workplace Bullies: A Tactical Guide to Taking Charge. Registration is now open.  (Remember: Registration is free for premium members.)

The above information is shared by a guest contributor and does not necessarily reflect the views of Medical Office Manager.









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