Interlude 1Coping with Bullies

WE LEARN FROM VICKY'S CALL TO PETER that she has some of the right stuff for a successful management career: she does her homework, she's thoughtful about career decisions, she has developed and maintains strong networks and workplace relationships, and she's willing to ask for help. She's tapped her colleagues to research the Dallas job and sees that it could be a setup for failure. She recognizes that the company's offer is a mixed bag, has done her best to think through all she knows, and tests her judgment with a trusted mentor. Senior leadership wants her to step up to the plate in Dallas, and she wants to make the right career choice. She can confirm that she's a team player by accepting the challenge, but it won't help her or the company if she strikes out. With Peter's encouragement and promise of support, she concludes the opportunities outweigh the risks.

Vicky's first meeting with Michael reminds her of just how hard the challenges will be. Her image of drowning while Michael ignores her cries captures her fears and disappointment in a boss who seems willing to let her sink—or even throw her to the sharks. Michael is a classic bully, and bullies are a nightmare for everyone around them. It's even tougher when the bully is the boss. How can Vicky cope with Michael and move the relationship onto more positive and productive ground?

Bullies represent a growing and troubling workplace phenomenon.1 Examining how Vicky handles her initial ...

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