Bully Leaders

Posted on December 4, 2009


I’ve been watching the KU football coach Mark Mangino story with much interest. Mark Mangino was accused of being a bully leader. That is not exactly what the phrase was…According to a story filed by Doug Tucker (AP) “Athletic director Lew Perkins, who accepted Mangino’s resignation after ordering an internal review of allegations of mental and emotional abuse of players, declined to say what money settlement was reached. If fired without cause, he would have been due $6.6 million.”

There are many out there I would assume who have worked at some time for the leader who is a bully. And, if you are a driven worker naturally, you’ve probably mentally debated with yourself if the boss was really a bully, or simply very demanding. I know, because I worked for one.

Bully leadership is not simply on the playing field of football teams, it is also in nonprofit leadership, corporate offices… And being somewhat of a control person, I found irony in that. For the subordinate, there is much risk involved in confronting and trying to deal with the bully boss. And I can tell you from having experienced it, there are a number of good articles out there with various strategies. In my case, none of them worked, but I was actually blessed by losing the game. Truly you learn a lot from the experience. I learned to research and try a variety of strategies to be able to work with the least of bullying I could. Some worked short-term and some where complete failures, but I tried, and I learned that it is the act of trying that is most important.

So, I have no idea if the accusations are true or not against Mangino, but I know that he brought much success to KU (the team I love) and I also know that the player who brought the original accusations is very brave to do so.

If you find yourself working with a bully boss, seek advice from the good resources out there, your friends and even a counselor who can provide outside insight into the situation, and best of all good luck. At some point you will need to make a decision into whether you want to stick it out or not.

And if you find yourself possibly being a bully boss, seek advice too. You can turn that into collaborative management and see far greater results from your staff.

“Fear in the Workplace”

“Is Your Boss a Bully”

Posted in: Leadership, Sports