Dr. Renee Thompson: What if YOU Are the Bully?

Dr. Renee Thompson: What if YOU Are the Bully?

“People were always talking about how mean this guy was who lived on our block. But I decided to go see for myself. I went to his door, but he said he wasn’t the mean guy; the mean guy lived in the house over there. ‘No, you stupid idiot, ‘ I said, that’s my house.

I had to laugh when I read the above story because as humans, we are all so good at pointing out everyone’s faults yet we rarely recognize our own. I see this often when doing workshops on bullying. At some point during the workshop, someone will approach me quietly and say, “I’m sitting right next to our bully and I hope she gets it!”

The bullies can’t be everyone else. Sometimes we have to look in the mirror and take a good, honest look at ourselves.

Ask yourself the following five questions:

  1. Has anyone told me that I intimidate other people?
  2. Do I sometimes ridicule a new or inexperienced coworker?
  3. Do I go out of my way to help some of my coworkers and not others?
  4. Do I secretly enjoy confrontations with people I know I can dominate?
  5. Do I sometimes justify behaviors that help “toughen up” new nurses?

If you honestly asked yourself these questions and answered yes to any or all, I’m not saying you are bullying. What I am saying is that you need to go deeper down the rabbit hole to find out. Click here to take a full assessment.

Three ways to find out if you’re considered a bully by your peers:

  1. Ask someone you trust at work to be honest with you about your behavior.
  2. Admit to your coworkers that you’re concerned about how your behavior is being perceived and that you want your coworkers to be honest and direct with you.
  3. Ask your boss – chances are, if your coworkers think you’re a bully, they’ve said something to your boss. The problem is, managers don’t always know how to address the issue so don’t assume that just because nobody has every said anything to you that there haven’t been complaints.

See yourself through other people’s eyes and then adapt your behavior to treat others the way you would want to be treated. Ask yourself this question at the end of every shift, “Did I do my best to be kind, supportive, and professional to my coworkers?”

Admitting that you might be the bully takes moral courage. But just like your bicep muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets!

Thanks for reading. Take care and stay connected.


Dr. Renee Thompson is a keynote speaker, author, award-winning nurse blogger, and professional development/anti-bullying thought leader. Renee spends the majority of her time helping healthcare and academic organizations address and eliminate workplace bullying. To find out more about Renee, please visit her website. American Sentinel University friends and family can get 25% off Renee’s great anti-bullying products – simply enter in the code: AMSENT16.

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