Your Team Knows…Why Don’t You??

The Office Bully

Is a bully lurking in your dental practice?  It may sound absurd, but someone you work with every day may be the one causing unnecessary stress in the work place for your other employees; your good and valuable employees.   Right now, many of you are nodding your head as you read this, because you have fallen victim to this type of bully now or in the past.  She accepts credit for the success of the entire team, she finds it necessary to point out meaningless imperfections in the work of others and knows everything about everything.  This is the passive-aggressive employee who builds her own confidence by stripping others of it.  And did I mention that her ways of doing things are the best?

It doesn’t stop here.  This personality will often align herself with another employee to create the dynamic duo that no one dare cross.  Is this happening in your office?  If it is, your team is well aware, but hasn’t the courage to come forward.  You see, the bully is cunning and focused.  The bully makes certain that in the eyes of her boss, she only shines.  And her favorite cohort can do no wrong.  Together they can stir the proverbial pot into a murky soup making your office setting uncomfortable for your employees and sputtering at a fraction of its productivity. 

Doctors and Office Administrators need to be ready to recognize these traits and act on them in an effort to protect the investment of your great employees, patients and practice.  Actively involve yourself in the management of your office to be certain you are not losing great employees to these passive aggressive bullies.

A few things to watch for:

  • Consistent turnover in one particular department
  • An employee who brings to light imperfections or faults in other employees.
  • One who objects to change or new ideas
  • Can be long term employee
  • Speaks disparagingly about “difficult” patients


  • Meet with individual team members offering confidential, safe conversation
  • Listen to what they tell you about their working environment
  • Establish an office culture guide and implement immediately
  • Creates a clear channel for dealing with conflict
  • Give consistent public praise to each member of the team when deserved
  • This reminds employees they are part of a team with no allegiance to one
  • Hire a consultant or counselor with organizational/team experience
  • Can be a worthwhile investment in your business and team
  • Most importantly, be ready to make necessary changes…even if that means dismissal.

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