50: Workplace Bullying with Matt Paknis

Unfortunately, bullying is not limited to kids and playgrounds.

This week’s guest, Matt Paknis, is a senior management consultant who focuses on lessening bullying in the workplace. He was a former assistant coach at Penn State under Joe Paterno and has spoken publicly about being abused as a child. He is the author of Successful Leaders Aren’t Bullies and has over twenty-five years of experience helping global clients embrace healthy management practices.

Warning: The content of this episode is likely not appropriate for young audiences.

Matt and I talk about what makes a person act as a bully, what bullying is, what to do if you are bullied or observe someone being bullied, the legal stuff and more.

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Read the related blog article: Dealing With A Workplace Bully


  • Bullying in the workplace is repetitive, intentional, very negative, even derogatory language and actions that undermine motivation, capability and trust.
  • Bullies are often afraid that you’ll outshine them so they set you up to fail.
  • The best employees are often the targets of bullying because they’re the ones that are most apt to trigger the incompetence fear of the boss.
  • A tough boss sets high expectations and then supports you, even if it’s with tough love, to meet them. You always know they’ll go to bat for you and you’re on the same side even when they’re being hard on you.
  • Organizations without clear goals, roles and processes are primed for bullying. Bullies take advantage of the lack of clarity while victims don’t have the structure to back up their concerns.
  • One of the best things you can do as a manager to prevent bullying is to be clear about roles, goals and processes. Encourage other managers to do the same.
  • 5% of the people in an organization will be perpetrators of bullying. 10% will be targets. 85% will be bystanders.
  • If you are experiencing bullying or observe someone else being bullied, report it to HR and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In most states, recording is legal with one party consent – be sure to check your state’s laws. If you’re being bullied, you’re the one person that’s consenting to that recording so you can record the conversation. Then bring that to a labor attorney or the EEOC, or the human rights commission and they’ll refer you to a reputable attorney in the area.

Other resources:


Website: http://www.mattpaknis.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mattpaknis?lang=en
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/matt_paknis/

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