Back To Career News

Workplace Bullies Are More Successful Than You


Psychology Today has an interesting series on the benefits and, believe it or not, pitfalls of empathy. Contrary to what you might think, it turns out that being obnoxious is an effective way of being more productive and getting ahead.

(Photo Credit: francisco.j.gonzalez/Flickr)

For better or for worse, intimidation, bullying, and fear are effective ways of controlling other people.

Do You Know What You're Worth?


It makes some intuitive sense that intimidating your competition can help you get ahead, but how much is too much? Physical violence will get you arrested, and making false threats could put you in the difficult position of having your bluff called.

But some degree of being rude to your competition may cause them to stay away from you, which may be what you want. Want time with the boss alone? According to Psychology Today, just snarl at the competition.

Grabbing Power

The Wall Street Journal reports on a study that found workplace bullies often target co-workers, but cozy up to supervisors and end up getting great reviews. Expressing anger or meanness is often an effective way of elbowing workmates out of your way up the corporate ladder. Instead of being sad about a group failure, look angry. It comes across as more powerful.

Being rude is essentially breaking the social rules of etiquette. Those who break these rules are sometimes seen as powerful, because those of us who are working our way up, theoretically, can not afford to break rules. Little things like putting your feet up on a desk make you look like you have already made it, and therefore, don’t need to worry about conformity.

What Do You Want

The evidence that being a jerk can help you get ahead is out there, but the real question is, “what do you want?” If all you want to do is climb the corporate ladder, then you may not care about the people around you.

There are managers and owners out there who may agree that all that matters is success. The Workplace Bullying Institute discusses that some people get promoted for bullying, because it is interpreted as ambition. There are others, however, who prefer to have pleasant work environments. While some may look up to you for an ability to be downright nasty, if the manager doesn’t like it, you may find yourself laid off. Some people still believe that quality of life at work is important, and even contributes to group productivity.

Tell Us What You Think

Should workplaces have “no bully rules?” We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Notify of
What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.