The Screaming Mimi, the Two Headed Snake, the Constant Critic and the Gate Keeper......Are
you a bully boss? Ouch.
We Begin. The Screaming Mimi.
totally get how the anguish-the emotional ambush-the desolation- of work place bullying-and leaving it behind- can lead to
creativity. While on my leave from work and after researching workplace bullying (love the Namies’ website!) I created
a play. I didn't know I had it in me. A rainy afternoon just led to this. I had fun. I hope you do too. I
laughed. I hope you do too. I hadn't laughed with such mirth for a long while. So, here we go-I present to you- Mr. Bully
Boss and Captain Effective Leader starring in…..
Ouch! Are You A Bully Boss!?
story begins as the brutish Mr. Bully Boss, in pursuit of universal domination of all things everywhere (or at least domination
of all females working for him!) attempts through nefarious means to have limitless power through acquisition of the all powerful
“Key to Effective Leadership”! Nothing will stand in his way! He has formed alliances with the lethal “Region
Legion” (think bosses of bosses of bosses!) and is thus aided in his unscrupulous pursuit. Our Mr. Bully Boss was raised
in Bullyville-a place of snarling and sniping, lies and litigiousness (that’s lawsuits for us lay people). And frankly
my dear,-HE DOESN’T GIVE A DAMN!
(Enter Mr. Bully Boss)
Mr. B.B-“See? It’s not my fault! There’s
nothing I can do about my lack of empathy, my cruelty, my capricious control or my arrogance. I see nothing wrong with preying
upon people who work for me. So what if I see employees as objects to make me look better?! So what if I suck up to my superiors?!
I’m smarter than everybody else! Can I help that? People should know better than to stand in my way. I have a reputation
of scaring people to uphold. And by golly I’m going to do it up right.”
M.E.- “Please stop! I need
to get on with this. I promised today we would take an in depth look at Drs. Gary and Ruth Namies’ “Screaming
Mimi” bullying leadership style….
Mr. B.B.-” JUST WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE???!!!! THE SUPERINTENDENT
OF SCHOOLS???!!!! WHO MADE YOU AN EXPERT ON BULLYING LEADERSHIP?!!
M.E.-Well, actually Mr. Bully Boss you did--or at
least working for you put me on this path. I just think others need to know they are not alone. And why, by the way, do you
treat me so unjustly and disrespectfully?”
Mr. B.B.-Hello! Honey- I’m an insecure, narcissistic jerk,. I
can barely contain my terror of losing control. That’s why I pick public places to humiliate people who work for me.
It makes me feel powerful, remember?! That’s why I scream. I like to see people squirm.”
Oh! Thanks for clearing that up! Hmmmm…..I wonder what effective leadership looks like……..?
for Captain Effective Leader’s entrance)
C.E.L.- Kim, Great job on this blog! It’s evident you’ve
put a lot of work into this. I am learning a lot. Thank you.
M.E. (to M.Y.self)- wow…….
Mr. Bully Boss will introduce us to The Two Headed Snake. I'm thinking of posting each Sunday. OK with you?
Two Headed Snake
M.E.- The Workplace Bullying Institute identifies the Two Headed Snake Bullying leadership style as one
that, on the one head, excuse me, I mean hand- minimizes an employee’s contribution and works at diminishing her self-esteem.
On the other head, so sorry, I mean hand!-takes credit for her work…….oh no……here he comes again.
(Enter Mr. Bully Boss with his cell phone)
B.B.-Ahhhhh, Ms. Werner, you know how much I support your work. Ummm, ah, just what are
M.E.- well….I am presenting on how to identify and prevent bullying
leadership. I understand how important effective leadership is for children and employees of schools to
truly feel safe.
B.B. (makes a phone call)-
Hello Region Legion? Yes, this is Bully Boss. Yes, that’s right. Right
now in fact I am leading a seminar for my colleagues on how to identify and prevent bullying leadership. I understand how
important effective leadership is for children and employees of schools to truly feel safe.......why, thank you!
Yes, it is an important topic.
M.E.- What?!!! You are taking credit for my work! Why do you treat me so contemptuously and
I’m a ssssssnake! So what that I make fun of your efforts in private! It’s
all about me! Because of my fragile and inflated ego, I will do anything to look good to my bosses!
M.E. (perkily)- Oh! Well
that does make sense! Thanks! I wonder what effective leadership looks like?
(cue for Captain Effective
Leader with his cell phone)
Hello? Region Legion? Yes, this is Effective Leader. Yes.
Right now I am participating in a seminar about how to promote effective leadership. Hmm? No,
although I fully support her efforts, this is Ms. Werner’s idea-not mine.
M.E.-(to M.Y.self)-wow.........Captain Effective Leader, why do you treat me so respectfully
C.E.L.- Because I am confident. Because I trust that I have put people ;in place that want to
do their very best. Because I know that when I help you do your best, I do my best. Thanks
The Constant Critic
“Let’s get back to the business of identifying bullying leadership styles. We’ve
taken a look at “The Screaming Mimi” and “The Two Headed Snake.” Today we’ll
take a look at “The Constant Critic.”
(enter Mr. Bully Boss)
B.B.-‘IT’S ABOUT TIME! CAN’T YOU DO ANYTHING RIGHT?!
Do you really think anyone is actually READING THISSSSSSSS?! A kindergartener could do a better job than
you. I may have to write you up. We’ll talk later. I‘ll make certain no one else hears that
conversation. Deny, deny, deny. That‘s my motto.”
Bully Boss, I am confused. Today we were supposed to talk about Drs. Namies’ “Constant Critic”
bullying leadership style. You however are, in addition to criticizing me, screaming like a Mimi and hissing
like a snake.”
B.B.- “That’ssssss right sssssweetheart. The Namies say I’m talented!
I can do all four of the bullying styles with ease. Back and forth. Over and over. I
am skilled that way! I’ve had lots of practice. I must say however that “The
Screaming Mimi” is my favorite. The “Two Headed Snake“, though, can be quite satisfying.
HEY, IT’S NOT DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND! A KINDERGARTENER WOULD HAVE GOTTEN IT BY NOW!”
M.E.- “Mr. Boss, I know I
have asked this before. Why do you treat me and others so duplicitously and poorly?”
B.B.- “How many times do I
have to tell you? I am a lying and aggressive jerk. I nitpick. I
distort. I really don’t want you to succeed.”
M.E. (perkily)- “Oh, yes. Now
I remember!” (to M.Y.self-wistfully) What would it be like to work in a place
(enter Captain Effective Leader. He’s smiling)
C.E.L.-”I continue to be impressed with your
efforts. It takes courage to address these issues head on. Thank you Kim.
What can I do to help?”
M.E. (to M.Y.self)-”Wow. Thank you Captain Effective Leader. I needed
The Gate Keeper
M.E.- Thank goodness, The Gate Keeper bullying leadership style is the last one.....I really
don’t think I can take much more. The Namies tell us this bullying leader is not above using performance
evaluations to “concoct incompetence”. This is a huge concern to me. I work in public schools.
Many school districts are now using principals’ evaluations to determine their employees’ salaries.
(enter Mr. Bully Boss)
B. B.-“Ms. Werner, I’m disappointed with you. You were needed at the school to file
very important papers. You should have known. That work did not get done.
M.E.-But, but Mr. Bully Boss.......I was not aware...
B.B.- interrupts me. “This is very
concerning to me. We will discuss this later.” (He snickers)
M.E.-Mr. Bully Boss, what can I ever do to please you?
Are you kidding?! Haven’t you learned anything by now? You should know that I’m a petty little
power tripper. You should know you can’t do anything right anyway….unless of course I need to sssssssuck up to
my bossssessssss…. You should know that I love putting obstacles in your way. Haven’t you learn anything?! It
doesn’t matter that you do excellent work! Who cares?! I don’t want you to succeed.
I exclude you from important information and then hold you accountable for not knowing. It amuses
me! I love watching you squirm. It’s fun.”
M.E. (not so perkily. I mean really, there‘s only so much one
person can tolerate!) Oh. Yes. I remember. Sigh…….
Captain Effective Leader! SAVE ME!!!
(enter Captain Effective
will save you Ms. Werner. I will save you and everyone here from tyranny and abuse. You’ve
had the……. (drum rolls)……… “Key to Effective Leadership” all along. He turns
to Mr. Bully Boss and asks, “Do you want the key?” He turns to M.E.--”Do you want the
key?” He turns to Y.O.U.-Do you want the key……..?”
Stay tuned! Captain
Effective Leader will reveal the elusive “Key to Effective Leadership in next Sunday’s post! Until
then--Let’s remain bullying free…..
B.B.- WHAT?! I WANT THAT KEY!! I
WANT IT NOW!!!!! GIVE IT TO ME! I AM NOT WAITING! YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS!
curtain closes…..thank goodness.)
The Key to Effective Leadership
The moment we've all been waiting for: The Key to Effective Leadership! Take it away Captain Effective Leader!
C.E.L.-"Thank you Kim. Leaders, you’ve held the potential for true and effective leadership all along.
Your employees, like all people--no matter their age--want you first to be a person of your word. They know you are
not perfect. They will forgive you many things if, even in your imperfection, you demonstrate honor, courage,
integrity and a good sense of humor. Always remember this acra.....this acro....what's that word Kim?"
M.E.--"It's acronym Captain."
C.E.L.-"Yes. That's it. Thanks. Leaders always lead with.....
U. nderstanding. Effective Leaders take time to listen.
R. espect. Effective Leaders, even if they
do not agree, always demonstrate respect.
A. uthority. Effective Leaders are confident.
J. enuineness. Effective Leaders are authentic and jenuine individuals.
(M.E. to Y.O.U)--Hey, he’s Captain Effective Leader, not Captain Effective
E. nthusiasm. Effective Leaders create
R. esponsibility. The buck
stops with an Effective Leader.
Effective Leaders are patient, caring and compassionate people.
M.E.- "Er....excuse me Captain Effective Leader, you have spelled genuineness incorrectly. It’s
spelled with a “g”.
C.E.L.- Oh, that’s right. I’m glad you’re
here! Hey, my name's Effective Leader not Speller! Thanks Kim. (he laughs at himself and moves on.)
M.E.-to M.Y.S.E.L.F.-"Wow. I like and respect him even more now....."
C.E.L.- Remember this. U.R.A.J.E.R.K. Repeat it. Many times. U.R.A.J.E.R.K., U.R.A.J.E.R.K., U.R.A.J.E.R.K.
Captain Effective Leader looks at M.E..
Captain Effective Leader looks at Y.O.U.
"Do you understand?"
Captain Effective Leader looks at Mr. Bully Boss.
C.E.L.-"'Do you understand?"
Bully Boss pauses a moment. He scratches his head….."THAT’S THE BIGGEST BUNCH OF C%^&#@P I HAVE EVER HEARD! GIVE ME THE &^%$#* KEY! I WANT THAT KEY!!!"
Captain Effective Leader and I look at each other. We shrug.
and M. E. together--"Some people will never get it!"
(Curtain closes. Finally.)