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Friday, August 9, 2013 - 3:40am

WORKING: Bullies Get Ahead

A study published earlier this year in the Journal of Managerial Psychology reported that workplace bullying is prevalent.

What’s worse, those bullies get ahead in the office and their careers: They get good performance reviews and achieve high levels of career success.

“They have very high levels of emotional intelligence – they can read people very well – and they use emotion to manipulate people and get what they want,” says Brandon Smith, a workplace consultant and Emory University business professor.

“They’re really good at managing up,” he says. “They get their boss to love them.”

And: “They’re very aggressive and not afraid to kick other people down.”

Smith says bullies have always been around and always will be.

“It’s a way for people who have insecurity to get ahead, to be aggressive and intimidate other people,” he says.

Smith says the only effective way to deal with a workplace tormentor is to find the other people he or she is bullying and go as a group to the organization’s human resources department.

Brandon Smith teaches about leadership, communication, and workplace culture at Emory University's Goizueta Business School. More of his advice is on his blog and at While you’re there, ask him your workplace or career question. We might answer you in a future radio segment.

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