Troll Heroes – New Perspectives For Responding to Bullies

Bullies are a fact of life. Often there are hidden benefits to your interactions with a bully that you might miss because they are so effective at “finding your buttons.”

Try to think of the bully as serving a purpose in your life that might be subtle. For example, what if he’s bad to you? He wants credit for your work, he wants to sabotage your project, and he is prepared to say bad things about you to important people.

Don’t get mad.

Assume that this person is your hero. Granted, he or she still looks like a Troll.

It’s your job to figure out why.

Think hard about the role this person is playing. In what way could the very existence of this ugly personality being serving your life’s purpose?

Perhaps this person is actually offering an alternative target for others. By stepping in to get the credit, he or she actually assumes the blame if anything goes wrong. That allows you to fly under the radar. Unless you are absolutely certain that all will go perfectly, this “cover” may be the best thing that could happen to you.

Are you worried that the other person will get ahead at your expense? Try to be just a little philosophical. Perhaps he or she will get ahead, temporarily, but if the person really did take the credit without doing the work, at some point the Troll will have to perform. If the person has never done the work, it is only a matter of time before that becomes clear to others as well. Remember what they say, “He will get his.”

Are you afraid that this person is going to hurt your reputation?

Get clear about your priorities. You will never be able to control what others think of you. Stop trying to do so. Worry about your work, what is going well (and what is not) and take your mind off your popularity. It is not really relevant in the long run.

If this person is able to sway others against you, ask yourself if that serves some purpose for you. Assume that whatever influence the Troll has is pushing you in a direction you would not otherwise go. If you are seeking some recognition, tangible or intangible, perhaps you are not so ready for whatever it is you think he or she is taking away.

This Troll is keeping you from being accountable for getting ahead of yourself. Don’t let fear or impatience spoil your ability to recognize when you are being protected from yourself!

Toni Lynn Chinoy has written multiple texts on leadership, bullies, power games and more. She is the founder of Harlan-Evans, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in effective organizational change and coaches senior leaders on how to respond to crisis. Her book, Handling Critical Moments with Grace which takes the reader through many examples of how to handle critical, life defining moments with GRACE, can be found, along with her other books on the Harlan-Evans, Inc. web site leadership books.

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