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When does strong leadership become bullying?

Gordon Brown has denied ordering any briefing against his chancellor, after Alistair Darling said "the forces of hell" had been unleashed against him. How tough should a manager be on their staff?

On Tuesday Chancellor Alistair Darling said "the forces of hell" had been unleashed against him when he forecast the worst recession for 60 years, in 2008. But he went on to reject suggestions that he had ever been bullied by Mr Brown.

On Wednesday Mr Brown was asked again whether he had bullied anyone. He replied: "No. I get angry sometimes, doesn't everybody? I get impatient. I'm driven to do the things." The interview followed allegations that staff in his office contacted the National Bullying Helpline.

Have you had a manager who is demanding of you? Does strong leadership motivate you? At what point does it become bullying? Can you be a bully and an effective leader?

Brown denies unleashing 'forces of hell' on Darling


Nick Robinson's Newslog


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Published: Monday, 22 February, 2010, 11:37 GMT 11:37 UK

All comments as they come in

Added: Thursday, 25 February, 2010, 17:11 GMT 17:11 UK

David Cameron, who was educated at a school where "fagging" (bullying the junior boys to the rest of us) is a tradition that is encouraged, should be an expert on this subject.

[billyhano], United Kingdom

Ah, the classic Labour attitude! Bullying is bad unless you bully someone who has done well for themselves in which case you should tear them to shreds based on where they come from and what school they went to. You should join the Labour party, you'll go far.

C B, London

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Added: Thursday, 25 February, 2010, 16:15 GMT 16:15 UK

Strong leadership means leading by example.

Weak leadership is turning a blind eye to those who instill fear into subordinates.

Strong leadership gets people motivated

Weak leadership leaves chaos in its wake.

[virtualsilverlady], Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

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Added: Thursday, 25 February, 2010, 15:45 GMT 15:45 UK

"You and those who judge others by what they have or don't have are the problem and make up the vast majority of bullies. D Holmes"

And those that take the word of a woman who broken the confidence of the so called victims of bullying, as gospel truth, even though the accusations have not been verified, are also at fault. Two can play at that game, and what happened to the ideology that one is innocent until proven guilty.

[boingwentzebedee], Redhill, United Kingdom

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Added: Thursday, 25 February, 2010, 15:38 GMT 15:38 UK

a politicel leeder needs to show strong leedership or hes not a leeder.

this disnt mean that the leeder is a bully but somtimes he has to bully to get things done proprly or som peeple woold never do wot there told.

all this namby pamby lefty wishy washy bully line stuff is a waist for money, peeple need to nuckle down & folow oders.

we need a strong leeder like Nick Griffin to leed this grate country England out of the mess were in, he woold make the trains run on time.

True Britman

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Added: Thursday, 25 February, 2010, 15:26 GMT 15:26 UK

There's about 8 million people that could work but can't find jobs.
Only full employment can restore this country;after all they have to get fed,housing; might as well get some contribution out of them.

Ciniq, Aberdeen

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Added: Thursday, 25 February, 2010, 15:21 GMT 15:21 UK

In times of crisis we need strong leaders who have courage and wisdom Many Dems in US are complaining that Obama is too nice and wished that he was more of a fighter standing up to the GOP who bully the Dems to stop legislature from passing that would benefit the average US citizen The Dems intially wanted a peacemaker but when push comes to shove in hard times people want results not gifted oratory

angelica adams, cambrdige ma usa

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Added: Thursday, 25 February, 2010, 15:07 GMT 15:07 UK

He becomes a bully when he refuses a public enquiry into the Stafford hospital.

[JohnnyNorfolk], Mileham Norfolk, United Kingdom

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Added: Thursday, 25 February, 2010, 15:04 GMT 15:04 UK

It's a bit rich for the opposition leader to be making pompous demands- on an totally unsubstantiated allegation!
Even if he is demanding of his colleagues, Gordon is slowly beginning to seem almost dependable and sensible, at least, compared to the alternatives.

John Rieven, Leeds

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Added: Thursday, 25 February, 2010, 15:04 GMT 15:04 UK

The question again mixes toughness with bullying. Gordon Brown is categorically not a strong leader, leadership is about taking people with you not pushing them around.

Nobody can be in any doubt that he has been found out. A long time ago he forgot that he was in Parliament to serve us and not to make himself more important.

Hopefully he only has a few weeks left and we won't need his leadership any more.

Richard Astwood

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Added: Thursday, 25 February, 2010, 14:42 GMT 14:42 UK

With that record I suppose it is only to be expected that he will have little understanding in how to effectively motivate his staff either.

Rich Hemingway, UK

Can I remind you that not too long ago Brown was widely recognised as running one of the most effective Treasury teams ever. His staff were fiercely loyal and there were tears when he left. The accusations of bullying are one a year, from a suspect source and with no proof offered. Most managers would accept that!

Tom, Exeter

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Added: Thursday, 25 February, 2010, 14:28 GMT 14:28 UK

Taken from my dictionary:

"Definition of a Bully:

Someone who browbeats, discourages, frightens or intimidates with a domineering manner... "

Mmmmm. Sounds like a description of the 'Broon thumping fist'.
Who would want to work under someone with this demeanour? I wouldn't!. No wonder this country is going down the pan - everyone in the government is too scared to argue against Broon's marxist policies.

BobD, Reading

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Added: Thursday, 25 February, 2010, 14:24 GMT 14:24 UK

David Cameron, who was educated at a school where "fagging" (bullying the junior boys to the rest of us) is a tradition that is encouraged, should be an expert on this subject.

[billyhano], United Kingdom

Yes, and someone who would judge someone on the school they went to and imply that they are a bully by association because of their social background is a BIGOT!
You and those who judge others by what they have or don't have are the problem and make up the vast majority of bullies.

D Holmes, United Kingdom

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Added: Thursday, 25 February, 2010, 14:12 GMT 14:12 UK

When does strong leadership become bullying? When its not leading at all, and is merely abusive authority applying pressure from behind.

[twyfordshanks]

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Added: Thursday, 25 February, 2010, 14:06 GMT 14:06 UK

There are some extraordinary scenes being played out here against a flimsy back-drop of "bullying". It looks as if some people reckon that Gordon is "going down" in the coming election. And they mean him to stay down & not get up and run around again like the baddie in a Bruce Willis film.

humpty dumpty

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Added: Thursday, 25 February, 2010, 13:54 GMT 13:54 UK

When does a leader become a 'bully'?

When a bully becomes leader!

Tim Walker, London

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