Episode #78: Hidden Blockers to Accountability Caused by Leaders Who Bully 

Picture this: you step into your workplace, a space where you spend most of your waking hours, only to face subtle threats, overt hostility, or being outright ignored by your leader. Instead of feeling supported, you have a leader who resorts to bullying behavior to either make themselves look good or to get things done. While some leaders believe behaviors like yelling and dressing you down for a minor mistake are a sign of strength, more often, it’s about control and insecurity. So why does this happen, and why is it normal in many organizations? 

Usually, it’s because of a lack of leadership development and emotional intelligence and because the culture allows it. When they don’t know how to consciously manage performance, they overpower, thinking it’s going to motivate. 

And the impact it has on accountability is measurable. Instead of motivating, it backfires, and this type of leadership behavior causes employees to shut down, not level up. Other effects – increased stress, anxiety, reduced job satisfaction, and a significant hit to both morale and productivity in the workplace negatively impact productivity, accountability, reduced innovation, and elevated staff turnover.

In this episode, we explore the impact of bullying leaders on accountability. In addition to showing some of the ways bullying occurs, we’ll provide insight into the reasons behind some leaders’ unintentional use of bullying behaviors.  

Join us in this episode in the series on accountability so that bullying and other dysfunctional leadership behaviors don’t become ‘normalized’ in your organization. Changing your approach to leadership can revolutionize your and your employees’ work experiences. Don’t miss out on this crucial conversation!

If you want to know more about leading effectively, check out our book, “So, You Think You Can Lead?”: www.amazon.ca/dp/B07QMVKNSV/  


  • [01:58] Episode Introduction
  • [03:12] Why Do Leaders Bully?
  • [05:19] How Does Bullying Show Up?
  • [36:08] The Negative Impact of Bullying
  • [38:14] Episode Gem
  • [42:05] Episode Wrap Up


  • Employees subjected to bullying endure emotional turmoil, including stress, anxiety, and depression, leading to decreased job satisfaction, engagement, productivity, and increased absenteeism, as well as potential physical health issues. Bullying by leaders significantly impedes accountability.
  • Leaders might resort to bullying due to a desire for absolute control, an inability to handle opposition or criticism constructively, or as a response to their own internal pressures and stress. Such behavior can create a culture of fear where employees are more focused on avoiding negative outcomes than on contributing positively.
  • A culture of bullying can lead to high staff turnover, with skilled employees leaving to escape the toxic environment. This turnover not only disrupts workflow and continuity but also places a strain on resources due to the constant need for recruitment and training of new employees. And the reputation of the organization can suffer, making it harder to attract top talent.
  • Whether you’re a seasoned leader or a new manager, join us in this enlightening Accountability Blockers series on the Dismantling Dysfunction Podcast as we pull back the curtain on what’s really going on. Remember, if you need help dealing with dysfunctions at work or in your personal life, reach out to us.



"Deciding to compensate for poor performance instead of managing it is an act of self- disempowerment."
episode 18 quote tile 2 - "When acting from the Victim Leadership Persona, our power and sense of personal agency is taken away by seeing situations through a  lens of helplessness."
episode 18 quote tile 2 - "When acting from the Victim Leadership Persona, our power and sense of personal agency is taken away by seeing situations through a  lens of helplessness."

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