You Can Spot a Bully by the Choices They Make

Force is the choice of those who lack influence. Force is the choice of those who lack the ability to produce results through positive methods, like influence and character.

Force is the choice of bullies, the choice of the truly powerless.

The person who threatens others, no matter how much they try to veil that threat, is a bully. Bullying isn’t only the threat of physical violence, it is also the use of psychological threats.

Leaders and people of influence don’t use threats. They don’t need to because they achieve results through positive means.

The person who uses intimidation to get what they want is a bully. They choose intimidation because they believe they lack any real ability to produce the outcome they want. Usually, intimidation is employed by cowards, many of whom were taught to use it by other cowards.

Most of the time the bully uses intimidation to impress other people. They try to find love, connection, acceptance, and approval by entertaining those whose approval they seek. They’re trying to replace something missing, employing methods that never provide it in a healthy form.

People worth following would never consider intimidation as a choice for producing results.

Bullies make other people feel small. They mock other people, sometimes to their face, and sometimes behind their backs. Either way, they are doing harm to others. Bullies try to ostracize other people, making them feel like  outsiders, like they’re excluded. They hope to ingratiate themselves to others by eliminating people they believe to be weak, or people who threaten their significance.

People with true character never tear other people down; they build them up. In fact, leaders, people with real influence, see something in others that they don’t see in themselves and challenge them to become the best version of themselves.

Physical force, no matter how small and insignificant, is bullying. Even if that physical force is so minor that no real damage is done, it produces the damage via psychological impact. Those who feel the need to dominate others resort to force when they are at their very weakest and most desperate.

You condone bullying when you allow it to exist in any form. You have a duty to protect those who are being bullied and do not have the strength or power to defend themselves—especially when you are a leader. In fact, defending others from harm is an act of leadership and an expression of your values.

Real power exists in compassion, not force.

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