Oval Office

How a Bully Boss Turns Subordinates into Bullies: White House Edition

There is a classic workplace bullying dynamic at work in the White House. As Donald Trump bullies his subordinates, they become bullied bullies and bully others. Trump communications specialist Omarosa Manigault was guilty of this recently when she tried to intimidate veteran White House reporter April Ryan, according to a report in the Washington Post. Just steps from the Oval Office, Manigault physically intimidated Ryan, made verbal threats and asserted that Ryan was among reporters on whom the Trump administration had “dossiers” of information. According to Ryan, the physical behavior was so extreme that it almost warranted Secret Service intervention.

In my new book, From Bully to Bull’s-Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire, I deal extensively with how people who are bullied become bullies themselves. For many it is a way to cope and survive in a toxic environment, for others it gives them a license to get results through fear.

I keep pointing out the work of Stanley Milgram in The Perils of Obedience where he observed: "...ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority." My book is a resource so employees don’t become "agents in a terrible destructive process by resisting authority."