There’s an arrogance attributed to bulls that is self perpetuating.

Very few people want to go head to head with a bull which results in giving the bull power and a superiority complex.

The bull quickly learns that no matter what it does it won’t be challenged which leads to more bullish behavior and even less likelihood of being challenged or held to account.

What is a ‘bull’?

In the workplace, the bull is not a team player. They are only in it for themselves and are confident in their ability to stare down any challenge when their attitude or behavior is contrary to the team objectives.

  • To the bull their projects are the only important work going on,
  • they demand preference on all the resources,
  • their opinion is the only one,
  • they may pretend to consider others,
  • they don’t respect authority,
  • they require all the information yet share nothing.

When challenged a bull will sidestep a discussion, when being held to account for behavior- quite likely will stomp their feet and charge away, gets extremely defensive in an offensive manner, will be dismissive.

In short, a typical bully.

How do you deal with this?

You have to become something similar to a cross between a mule and a matador.

Knowing a bull will distract and deflect in a behavior challenging discussion you have to be mule like and stick to addressing and dealing with one point at a time in order to get resolution.

At the same time you need to be matador agile to defend against ‘blame’ being scattered like wild flower seeds, “whataboutery” and probably as hominem attacks.

Holding the conversation to one point at a time will infuriate the bull but you can’t allow them have the power in the discussion.

At some point you may have to decide on either “breaking in” the bull ( never trust or turn your back to the bull even if you think they’ve changed) or putting it out to pasture.

Sometimes putting the young bull out to pasture is the safest way to deal with it.

What has been your experience of dealing with a bull in the workplace?
S. Conroy Project Management , , ,