Posted on

To Spot Bullies and Fraudsters – Watch the Eyes

                    ‘The people who have power over me, I give it to them’-Chinese proverb

In recent years across the globe we have instance after instance of business leaders and politicians falling from grace due to unethical behaviour. Bullying and fraud frequently go hand in hand. The causes of both behaviours are many and varied, and it is not my intention to investigate them here. My concern here is solely with spotting the signs and ensuring we do not expose ourselves to the pain and trauma of either.

Bullies and fraudsters invariably present a confident and often overpowering image. When we meet anyone like that who presents a proposition which claims to bring us great advantage or gain I strongly advise taking a deep breath and a step back to review.  Some key questions are:

  • Has this person clearly demonstrated their trustworthiness and credibility?
  • Who do I know and trust who can verify this?
  • Do I feel intimidated or pressurised?
  • Have I been fooled before?
  • Can I afford to lose my investment?

Remaining calm and relaxed is vital to ensuring we are not seduced by false prophets. We should also polish up our observational skills. Bullies and fraudsters are especially observant. Their eyes are alert for clues as to who will be a likely victim. Being calm and alert will allow you to spot them coming, and a key clue is in the eyes. In particular what we consistently see with fraudsters and bullies is a distinct coldness. Below is a series of eyes belonging to infamous characters from business and 1 from the world of sport. They share varying degrees of coldness, and one has an added dimension of anger. How many can you identify?

ABernardMadoff eyes

B Jeffrey_Skilling_eyes



ELance Armstrong eyes

The answers in order are: A) Bernie Madoff, B) Jeffrey Skilling, C) Ken Lay, D) Jordan Belfort, and  E) Lance Armstrong

It requires confidence to look someone clearly in the eyes and remain focused. Fraudsters in particular like to create doubt and confusion. It is always better to cultivate calmness, stay grounded and keep our intuition on alert – and practice, practice, practice your observational skills!

Joseph McGuire is the owner of Clearsight Communications who provide personal evaluation services and training in the areas of senior level recruitment/promotion, negotiations, sales and HR. Individual consultation sessions are available both in person and via Skype. He is also in demand for group presentations, private functions and conferences. For further information email: