Crab Bucket Mentality and Workplace Misconduct

You likely have Crabs at work!

If you’ve ever felt pulled down at work, you may have been stuck in what felt like a big vortex that you couldn’t escape. This is what’s often called a ‘Crab Bucket Mentality’ which roughly means,“If I can’t have it, neither can you.”

Think back to childhood, playing in a sandbox or playground, you probably witnessed something similar way back then.


What is ‘Crab Bucket Mentality’

Simply put, if you were to place a bunch of crabs in a bucket, there’s no need to put a lid on it. Here’s what happens:

When one crab decides it wants to leave the bucket and TRY to get free, the other crabs in the bucket will pull that one down.

If that one crab continues to try again and leave the bucket, then all the other crabs gang up on it, and eventually break its claws so it can no longer climb.

If you’ve been thinking about climbing out of the crab bucket… Keep reading, it gets better!

RITE crab bucket mentality signs

It’s interesting (and frustrating) to note, that there will always be people who will try to keep us from escaping mediocrity that lives within the crab bucket mentality. This is simply because our escape (getting out from complacency), threatens their comfort level.

Pulling us down, sabotaging our efforts, picking apart our great ideas – all of that keeps them feeling safe from what you may leave the bucket, to accomplish.

The crabs living (and pulling others down) in the bucket are living a mediocre, ordinary existence. This is typically caused by implicit issues that were likely created a long time ago, and were never addressed.


Points to observe in ourselves, and others:

  • Pulling others down
  • Sabotaging efforts
  • Picking apart new ideas

All of these points keep the mediocre crabs feeling safe, because that old proverb has a bit of sad truth, “To the unhappy it is a comfort to have had company in misery.”

Otherwise known as the proverb, “Misery loves company.”


The Crab Mentality in the workplace can be very destructive, even causing a hostile environment for employees.

The Crab Mentality in the public service profession, can not only hurt the department but also the community for whom that agency serves.


Destructive employees breed misconduct and will destroy trust in the department and in the community. It has potential to destroy trust at home as well. ~ Linda Webb


(10) Crab Liabilities that lead to Misconduct

  1. Un-ethical – doesn’t follow agency rules
  2. Self-serving – only helps themselves
  3. Use of profanity and acts unprofessional
  4. Displays anger more often than not
  5. Complains, complains, complains (about everything)
  6. Voices negative banter in the workplace
  7. Spreads rumors and gossip among co-workers
  8. Brags and Boasts (sense of Entitlement)
  9. Has multiple excessive use-of-force incidents
  10. Lacks Empathy and will Blame others


What if you could recognize those co-workers (the mediocre crabs) who are not supporting you, and found a better support group?


Use this Ladder and start Climbing Out! 

Imagine a group of crabs on the other side of the bucket building a ladder to aid your escape. This supportive group is aiding and abetting to help you get out of the bucket and live at the top of your ladder using Love, Gratitude and Joy to empower your climb.


Today, start looking for those employees who help you climb to success. Be brave enough to walk away from the Mediocre Crabs in your life.

Start looking for those supportive employees and co-workers that cheer you UP versus pull you DOWN. They are there. These supportive employees with help push you out of the crab bucket, so you continue to lead a Successful, loving, and enriched life.

Changing Professional Workplace Culture…

(Training for Crabs and everyone else that needs a boost up)

In today’s policing, executives are starting to address Communication and Implicit Issues, as part of their Professional Workplace Culture Training.  This builds department morale, and breaks down barriers for improved community policing. Change starts at the top, and Leaders need to buy into this as much as the lower ranks.


RITE Academy provides Professional Workplace Culture Training that includes take away tools that help improve communication, and address Implicit Issues. These RITE take away tools provide an accountability needed to reinforce the professional workplace culture, that the police executive can expect within the agency.

This proactive training helps employees address their Implicit Issues to decrease police misconduct.


About RITE Officer Training –  It starts with helping officers communicate with themselves, and the community more effectively. The RITE Ladder Tool teaches EI & SI that builds Career resiliency, improves Department morale, helps Professional workplace culture and reduces police misconduct to mitigate risk.

Check our EVENTS page for current trainings. For private classes where we come to you… Contact us below.


Do you have the Crab Mentality?