Beating The Sales Bully

I’ve unhappily borne witness to bosses that are bullies. Pressure cooker sales environments can cause the unacceptable to appear mundane. Yet it needn’t become pervasive.

When I’ve seen sales management resort to bullying tactics it’s difficult to rein it in. Especially when the protagonist is answerable to no-one. Here’s why researchers believe bullying occurs in the workplace, as entertainingly reported by The Telegraph as the Basil Fawlty effect:

“Incompetence alone doesn’t lead to aggression. It’s the combination of having a high-power role and fearing that one is not up to the task that causes power holders to lash out. And our data suggest it’s ultimately about self-worth.”

Worryingly, the professor went on to say that,

‘the only way for a boss to permanently stop bullying was to either work hard enough to improve their competence or to resign’.

In terms of solutions, that could sound pretty bleak if you’re the victim, but at least one type of remedial action is absolutely not to be recommended, which I’ve also noted that people try to use. Do not placate the bully. As hard as it may be in the pursuit of self-preservation;

“excessive flattery — long the refuge of the frustrated subordinate — may not work in the long run because it might ultimately cause the boss “to lose touch with reality”

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