Here is a profile of The Community Developer Bully. This is a profile that I have come across many times in over 12 years working in the social services, both in my own volunteer work, and in my own experience working under the governance of a volunteer board in a few instances over that 12 years. The Community Developer Bully, to me, is one of the most pathetic types of human beings alive.
The Community Developer Bully is the most toxic thing that can befall an organization or a cause. For the Community Developer Bully, the cause takes a back seat to their quest for power and coercion. They claim to be responsible for making impact, where in actuality, they detract from the organization in pretty significant ways. The Community Developer Bully negates the talents of others, especially for fear that they may be overshadowed. They allow environments of sexism, violence, and male dominance to enter the cause, perpetuate it, and justifies their reason for being there.
The Community Developer Bully takes up a lot of space, unnecessarily and without positive impact. They usually cannot find success in their work life, so they use volunteerism to compensate and find their power. The Community Developer Bully abuses the role of the volunteer, recognizing that you can’t really “fire” a volunteer. The Community Developer withholds information, sabotages others’ efforts, and takes action to trip others up, or humiliate them. It’s really crazy what lengths the Community Developer Bully can go to!
Community Developer Bullies are alive in well in my former city, and is a dangerous threat to otherwise good causes. I urge my former city to be aware of Community Developer Bullies, and to be cautious of the power they are given. There is nothing that can sink a cause worse than having toxic people around the table.
The Social Services sector needs to work better on setting rules of engagement and set standards that will not allow volunteers, Boards or other volunteer governance to abuse their power. There needs to be procedures within the Social Services that protect staff, other volunteers, and especially service recipients from the damaging effects of the ego of The Community Developer bully. How can we, as people who are actually working to do good, are not seeking glory, or power, but actually truly want to make a difference protect ourselves from The Community Developer Bully? First step is calling it out, and not allowing it to happen.
I urge everyone within the social services who has the misfortune of working with a Community Developer Bully to speak up, own their power, and help cleanse their organizations, and their causes, of the Community Developer bully. There is no place in social services for the Community Developer Bully!