How to Respond to Bullies When You Own Your Own Business

Conference, Courses, Misc., Tips


We all have come across bullies at some stage of our life. But dealing with a bully can make things a little more complicated when it is related to your business.

You can go many years with no problems in regards to your policy or your business, but eventually you may come across someone who decides to “test” it. And sometimes (though rarely) the “test” leads to having to dismiss them from your studio.

When you reach that point, it’s usually a decision that has not been taken lightly. It is not easy decision or action to take, but is usually necessary. Most people move on, but occasionally you will have those who can’t except for one reason or another OR want to punish you for doing it.

These are people that are usually known as “bullies”.


  • Quick Tempered and Impulsive
  • Feels Superior
  • Lacks Empathy or Compassion
  • Doesn’t take Responsibility
  • Blames/Targets (never at fault)
  • Controlling/Dominating
  • Passive or Aggressive (Passive tends to be insecure where aggressive is confident)


Find the Motivation– First figure out what the motivation to their behavior is. (Bullies usually get something gratifying from their behavior which a big reason why they do it.)

Be Professional– Stay calm and rational but firm. (Bullies are hoping you will re-act in fear)

Stand your Ground– It is very important to stay consistent in your policies and even more so with bullies.

Create a Win-Win– Occasionally there is a way to stand your ground but also create a win-win solution in the process. If there is a win-win solution you can think of, don’t hesitate to offer it. When you offer something that doesn’t require a sacrifice and both of you can benefit, that is a win-win.

Sometimes there is not a win-win solution, it is just what it is. So go back to “stand your ground.” Remember the saying, “If you give them an inch, they will take a mile”? You can bet this is VERY true for bullies. And trust me, you don’t want to go there.

End Conversation– Once you respond in a professional manner, end the conversation.

In some cases the best way to respond to a bully is to not respond at all. For example, if you are no longer teaching a student and the parent is trying to bully you after being dismissed. You can wish them well and then stop responding. Further response will just create more abuse and you do not need that. There is no motivation for them to be contacting you at this point except to hurt you in some way. If necessary, block them in being able to further respond.

Keep Records– It is always a good idea to keep records of any communication that is going on.

Contact Proper Authorities (if needed)– If you feel threatened by a bully, do not hesitate to contact the proper authorities. Your safety is #1.

Remember giving into bullies only leads to more bullying. When you stick with your policies and act professional, you will be better off and more respected.

Download Poster- Keep Calm and Stick To Your Policy


Could you use more help in understanding conflicts and creating resolutions? Do you need guidance in creating a policy and sticking to it? Check out the new course, Creating a Studio Policy and Sticking to ItClick the picture below to enroll.



  1. Swan

    Excellent! Exactly right. I had not one, but two this year in my studio which made life very stressful till I fully decided I could no longer keep them on. Professional, documented and to the point with no room for arguments is best!

    • Jennifer Foxx

      I’m so sorry that you had to go through this Swan! It’s so hard to deal with it when you are in the middle of it. But when it’s over shoulders are lifted!


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