How to become a Corporate Bully- aka- Assertive
You may have the yearning to correct the heading, arguing that there is a glass-ceiling difference between being a “bully” and being “assertive”. In which case, I urge you to enlighten us all. For now, I will dedicate this article to the glorious world of bullies and those who toil for them.
Being a leader means you have to take tough decisions, negotiate with fear-mongering messiahs. I am not saying Bullying is good but being a bully certainly makes your life easy. As it is; “you are alone at the top”, so why care!
If you type in google, “bosses are ….” you will definitely find “bully” in the top 3 suggestions, which suggests that there lies a definite causality between being a bully and becoming big in the corporate world.
Warriors working in sales (Business development) crave for one weapon— the bargaining power. Being a bully gives you an illusion of that and if the other player is naive, he will succumb to it, well most of us do.
I was a disciple of Dale Carnegie and his book “How to influence others and make friends”. The secret mentioned in it is that you should listen more and speak less, empathize, and genuinely take interest in others. With this time-consuming, hard work you will win friends and be in everyone’s good books. However, the same people might take you for a ride.
In any business setting that is shortsighted and transactional, or where the talent is commoditized, effective management is a synonym for getting more work for less by hook or by crook. Unfortunately with technology reducing more and more qualified professionals to mere unskilled indiscriminate corporate rats, 80% of us will end up in the abused quadrant.
“Pie” is shrinking and the mouths are rising exponentially and hence we see a rise in competition, hyper-nationalism, protectionism, etc. Relative grading is here to stay, which means scoring 90% is not enough in a class with a 90% cut off, what matters is how do you score relative to others.
Homo Sapiens after burning their hands with dictators in the first half of the 20th century relied on democracy.
But are we evolved enough to be civilized?
Only after a few decades of euphoria, we are back to autocrats, the only difference this time is that we elected them!
Just read about the present world leadership and politics. About one-man startup onto the insatiable stock market rage. Machoism is back, Heroism is back, and chest-thumping is definitely back.
If you can relate to this cacophony and want to reap the benefits of being “assertive”, here is a practical guide to becoming one:
- Create a Villainous persona
The cliched statement, “the first impression is the last impression” holds true. This is why all the tall, big, fat, boisterous brats who love to take low-angle, larger than life portraits of themselves are natural Bullies. And if you don’t have any of these natural features you can surely cover up for these with high heels, loud branded accessories, and quintessential satirical dialect. Be Villainous, and whatever you can think of by that word.
While in the movie, having someone at gun-point is convenient, in real life we don’t have that luxury. Without it, you have to make the other person nervous within the first 10 seconds of a meeting and that’s called power posing, for instance-
- taking a dominant position in the room- center, grand chair, subordinates at your back, etc.
- calling out names or making a joke out of him — options include appearance shaming or picking something from the person’s past. The idea is to establish your authority.
- making him uncomfortable — making him/her wait unnecessarily, etc.
- Taking offense, creating a scene, and being fussy about everything. Creating unnecessary urgency helps you earn the “demanding boss” title.
2. Have your own army of slaves
What’s a dictator without his army of slaves! A good bully has a knack for spotting spineless cadets straight out of college, domesticating and robotizing them in probation. Few of them might have their minds maligned with free-thinking and self-esteem which are weeded out easily. These hardworking, loyal, sycophants, and yet stellar individual performers now become your greatest asset. The next step is to maintain your terror by power posing(abusing) them from time to time.
NEVER appreciate. NEVER miss an opportunity to point out their silly mistakes and chastise them regularly. NEVER let them realize their worth. ALWAYS sell them short in front of everyone and at times console them in private just so they don’t commit suicide, or worse, resign. And the moment you feel someone is not capable of handling the pressure and is about to commit either of those escape tricks, blame the next blunder of yours onto him so that he gets fired and you get to set an example and hire a fresh team member, start the delightful process all over again.
And the last thing to be embossed on the walls is “having to work with you, learn from you is the best thing that has happened to them in their entire life and the salary they are getting is a bonus. Never let them doubt that.
3. Be a hero in your head
Words like confidence and self-esteem are for losers who are trying to get their act right. Bullying is all about over-confident. You need to believe and establish that the universe revolves around you. Egomaniac, Narcissist, and self-proclaimed should be your personality traits. No one should ever be above you, in competition with you, or aim for your position. ELIMINATE everyone who is not subscribed to this idea.
4. Storytelling— Bluffing!
Storytelling is the most important skill of a bully. You have to make everyone believe that you are dangerous, and can do actual harm to them, professionally as well as mentally. You have to set an example once and repeat it 1000 times. Every story should end with you coming out as a savior, as numero uno, as a nemesis to everyone else. And no one can sell you better than yourself. You should breathe out your glory every second. The world can’t function without you at the center. It was always and will always be a one-man show. All your teammates are incompetent, all your customers are hard to appease and your working condition is just impossible. It is just you throughout.
Also, you cannot afford to take blames for anything not even for hiring them. If anything, save it for the PR stunts once you reach the top after crushing a million heads. While you are in action, a mistake being confessed is the last mistake you will ever commit.
It may sound controversial but a good bully has to have a touch of sadism. After all, you need to have decent sleep after performing such an ardent task the entire day. A good at heart person can’t do all the above things and have a good night’s sleep.
Reading through this might give you a dystopian feel so here the silver lining. You can always be a good bully for example;
- you can be a bigger bully and save the “population” from the other bullies as we see in every Bollywood movie,
- you can grow into a position of extreme power and create a welfare autocracy. What you do with your success is your decision after all.
To influence and affect many you need to rise through the ranks, where you will have to face many bullies, I am just saying being assertive will make it a lot easier.
Wish you a happy Hustle!