12 Signs You Might Be A Bully

There has been a great deal of attention focused on the issue of bullying among children. The news media frequently highlights cases of bullying among children that at times result in a child that has been bullied committing suicide.

Bullying among adults especially in the workplace also happens more than it should and is drawing more attention. From my experience becoming an elected official no matter how low on the political ladder, often brings out the worst in people. It is amazing what just a little bit of power can do to some people.

Meghan Casserly, has put together a great series of slides under the title 12 Signs You Might Be A Bully, it should be required reading for all new leaders in government, and in particular elected leaders.

I really do respect how difficult it is to be an elected official and there are some great elected officials that are hard working, innovative and treat people well. There are many elected officials, however that I have encountered and worked with who according to the list put together by Ms. Casserly are bullies.

Am I being too harsh towards elected officials, or has your experience been similar to mine?


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Peter Sperry

I would say that gaining power can bring out the worst in some people regardless of how the power is obtained. Elected officials, TSA agents, law enforcement, political appointees, corporate executives, mid grade military officers, DMV clerks etc tend to produce the most visable petty tyrants but I am not sure they are unique and the vast majority of individuals in each of these jobs are good solid professionals who are a credit to their career field. Also, some of the nicest people on the planet in the morning can become the nastiest bullies you have ever met by the end of a long frustrating day. I seriously try to schedule my interactions with all of the above types of people early in their work day for just that reason.

Corey McCarren

In my college town the local police department had committed several severe abuses of students. I interviewed the Mayor about it and when he gave me a handshake he basically tossed me from one side of the room to another in what was a clear grab for power in the situation. I found it very obnoxious. I’m sure there’s plenty of elected officials who don’t behave that way, but that was my experience.

Nicole Schultheis

I would worry about low blood sugar and dehydration as primary causes of nastiness among otherwise tolerable people, particularly late in the day. Observed same in children who rapidly recover after an infusion of a little cold water and a piece of fruit. Seriously. It works.

Janina Rey Echols Harrison

Nicole, you are so kind to think they have low blood sugar. Someone who behaves badly all the time isn’t having a continuous low blood sugar issue, they are having a power issue. I have two magnets on my fridge:

It’s nice to be important, it’s more important to be nice.

Some people miss opportunities because they come dressed in overalls and look like work.

My children had to look at these pretty much eveyday of their lives. Everyone I meet who knows them tells me how hard they work and that they are the nicest people. They both have excellent leadership skills and they know how to deal with bullies and stand up for themselves and others. People naturally follow them. In grade school my son did something in the class and the whole class followed. Teacher said he had natural leadership and needed to corral it. When we talked about it, he said he didn’t want to be a leader. We told him he already was, if he liked it or not, and he needed to always use that power for good and never for evil.

Most bullies back down when confronted but too many people are not taught proper coping skills. They are more afraid of the possible outcome (black eye, punitive action, bully getting extra help to bully) to stand up for themselves.

Maybe some people will see themselves in these 12 traits and change their ways, but most don’t/won’t. You and your friends are to be commended in seeing that you were bullies and issuing an apology. Most will just view those who do not stand up for themselves as weak and deserve what they get.


Way too many licensed drivers and adults become ROAD BULLIES as soon as they get “behind the wheel.”

This uncontrolled behavior causes needless injuries and deaths.

According to the GMAC Insurance DRIVER TEST survey, the New York City to Washington, D.C., California and Florida regions have, for the last several years, large quantities of licensed drivers lacking “Knowledge of Basic Road Rules.”

Marian Henderson

Some of the nicest people I’ve worked with turned in to bullies when they became supervisors. It’s just like the article implies – that a little bit of power sometimes brings out the worst in people. I go out of my way to make sure I’m not using my authority over others inappropriately. A little humility goes a long way in the workplace, and I guess in most areas of life.

Gabriele Wenzelow

It’s applicable at my work also,lead tech is temporary supervisor,no sup.experience or training,lies,plots,bullies,and lets’ her pets act the same way.If someone complains,she covers for them, Me,don;t know how much longer I can take it,I know GOD makes us suffer to make us stronger,but it’s literally kiling me.