workplace bully posts
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January 08th, 2012
Remember that poll we posted about 6-weeks ago, asking you what type of workplace bully you’re dealing with at work? Well, the results are in.
The ONE question poll had 6 possible answers, which were;
- Takes credit for my work
- Nobody’s ever right except them
- Nice to me in person, but bad-mouths me when I’m not around
- All of the above
50% of you listed ‘all of the above’ as your response.
The reality is that it’s often not just one action a bully takes to
maintain power. Chances are, if you’re consistently feeling horrible
around a specific person at work, regardless of what you say or do, you
could be dealing with a bully.
This marks the end of our workplace bully blog series. Have you been able to resolve issues that were previously swept under the carpet? We’d love to get your feedback.
December 30th, 2011
Have you noticed a member of your team who seems to be hiding at the boardroom table? They seem to speak often, but say little? However, when it comes time to report on their own progress, they often perform a lengthy soliloquy of excuses and/or blame others for not doing their part? If you do not see a video below please click on this link.
If so, then you have a passive (why do any work myself), aggressive (it’s his fault) bully on your team. If performance reviews are not done effectively or peer-to-peer accountability is not in place, this type of bully can bully all day long, without consequences.
I recently worked with an executive team who had a passive-aggressive bully at the table. This team was steeped in the need to keep up their own ‘relationships’ and ‘kindred spirits’ at work. They found it really difficult to be direct and honest with one another. Therefore, the peer-to-peer accountability was not a realistic option.
Instead, I coached the bully’s boss to;
- Clearly articulate expectations,
- Measure ongoing results, and
- Use very aggressive 30- and 60-day timelines
Lucky for the team, this boss was ready and interested in following my direction to make a change. Bombarded with clear expectations and regular follow up, this team’s bully felt the pinch. Less than 30-days later, the passive-aggressive bully made a bold move; she moved on.
Using peer-to-peer accountability and effective performance reviews, this team is now bully-free. Are you? If not, call us now to sign up for your FREE bully coaching session.
December 15th, 2011
Bully behaviour refers to repeated, unreasonable actions of individuals directed toward another with the intention to intimidate, degrade, humiliate or undermine. These behaviours seriously impact team productivity. Bullies tend to see things in black and white, with very few shades of gray. They often have very little personal awareness of their own destructive behaviour.
A technique called SET allows co-workers, managers and leaders to address the person’s demands, assertions or feelings, while still maintaining a mandate for problem-solving and moving tasks forward.
It’s very important to do these steps IN ORDER, as each step builds upon the other. Before you learn this effective technique, think of a recent demand your workplace bully placed upon you. Here’s what you need to do:
- SUPPORT – Indicates a desire to establish a foundation for an interaction, such as “I want to try to help you” or “I’m concerned about the difficulties you are experiencing.” The support statement is meant to reassure the bully during this difficult moment.
- EMPATHY – Refers to communicating that you, the co-worker, understands the problem at hand. It’s not pity or sympathy, but rather an awareness and validation of the bully. “I see you’re angry” or “How frustrating this must be for you.” The goal is to convey a clear understanding of the uncomfortable feelings s/he is having. Without such a statement of empathy, the bully may feel that their feelings are not understood.
- TRUTH – Refers to a realistic assessment of the situation and sanctions the bully’s responsibility in solving the problem. Often the bully asks or demands something impossible or presents you with a “no-win” situation, but doesn’t take an active role or responsibility in resolving the issue. The truth statement is meant to clearly and honestly respond to the difficult demand: “This is what I can do…,” “This is what will happen…,” ”Remember when this happened before, we arrived at a solution by doing a,b,c.”
It’s important to use the support and empathy statements first (steps 1 and 2), so that the bully is better able to hear what you’re saying. Skip these first two steps and the truth statement, on its own, may be experienced as little more than another – and expected – rejection, which then creates even more defensiveness or anger.
Try SET and let us know how it goes. Need someone to facilitate the SET technique with your team? Give me a call to get started!
December 07th, 2011
By turning a blind eye to the bully in your company, you’re wasting money. Lots of it. If you do not see a video below, click on this link.
Many leaders get so stuck in their denial of acknowledging they have a bully on staff, that they lose sight of what’s most important for a successful company – the bottom line.
I was recently called in to work with a team whose manager was the bully. Her consistent harassment and negative judgement had created a negative work environment, which had worn down the motivation and confidence of her staff. Unfortunately, by the time I came in to work with this team, it was too late. Even with a plan to change the behaviours to get this team back on track, employees threw up their exhausted hands and quit their jobs.
What’s a bully costing you?
- Cost of re-hiring and re-training an employee is about 1.5 times their salary
- Loss of productivity (results) during the re-hiring/re-training process
- Long-term disability costs for staff dealing with significant health issues such as burn-out
- Reputation of your company
We’d like to know what type of bully you have. Please take a few seconds to answer this poll. We will post the results within the next week.
The only way a bully will change their behaviours is if YOU do something about it. Don’t wait too long to deal with the bullying behaviours on your team. Call us to find out how!
November 30th, 2011
Hopefully by now, if you do happen to have a bully at work, you’ve identified who the bully on your team is.
We’d like to know what type of bully you have. Please take a few seconds to answer this poll. We will post the results within the next week.
Have an issue that needs to be dealt with now? Contact us today!
November 16th, 2011
So often when we experience the negative and ongoing impact of a bully on our team, we want to fight back by giving it the old ‘eye-for-an-eye…tooth-for-a-tooth’ spirit. But does blaming a bully, when s/he has blamed you first really work? Not really. If you do not see a video below – find it here.
As one person on LinkedIn aptly commented,
“…calling them “bullies” is judgmental and detrimental on our part. It predisposes us to have little confidence in their ability to change or in our ability to help them change. When we call them “bullies”, we turn them into caricatures and something less than human. We need not accept their behavior, but quit labeling them and start prompting them (as ordinary people) to learn better ways.”
Remember, bullies are not all bad. Bullies often suffer from low-level emotional intelligence. Without having much awareness of how their behaviours impact others, it’s extremely difficult to manage themselves.
Not long ago, I was called in to work with a team whirling in a cloud of dysfunction. Their team leader chose bullying behaviours to assert his leadership by;
- Making bold statements of unilateral decisions
- Lacking curiousity about the impact his decisions might have on his team’s current projects and client relationships
- Sometimes being absent for long periods of time
- Displaying inconsistent and irrational outbursts
Understandably, these bullying behaviours left his team feeling confused, burnt-out, frustrated and downright pissed-off.
By facilitating a series of direct ‘critical conversations’, all team members (including the bully) put forward their personal challenges with one another and the impacts that those behaviours had on their working relationships.
As I prompted them to repeat back to one another the viewpoints expressed by their team members, I witnessed a dramatic shift in this bully and his team.
As each person realized the impact their behaviours had on others, their body positions softened, emotions of anger onto the other shifted into sadness for oneself. With self-awareness now at the forefront, each one of these individuals realized that controlling another person’s behaviour was far more difficult than learning about their own behaviours.
In managing themselves with new behaviours such as getting curious, communicating and showing patience, this particular bully let down his guard. At that point, his team realized that they, too, had reacted to the bully with their own bullying behaviours. Empathy and higher level emotional intelligence won the race on this day!
Can you share an experience where the bully increased their emotional intelligence to the point that the issues were resolved? If not, perhaps you could benefit from a FREE bully coaching session to discuss your next steps.
November 09th, 2011
If you’re still not sure if you’ve got a bully at work, remember that workplace bullies have many faces. If you don’t see a video below, find it here.
It could be;
- The employee who storms out of the boardroom in a fit of frustration
- The people who elbow one another at the water cooler while joking about their colleagues
- The leader on the team who consistently interrupts those talking in team meetings
- The group who always sits on one side of the boardroom table, arms crossed, and frown whenever anyone outside their direct circle tries to make a suggestion of doing things differently
- The boss who comes up with nicknames for staff members instead of calling them by their name
Companies have a duty to provide a healthy work environment and culture for their employees. They need to hold bullies accountable for their actions. When workplace bullying continues and a company does not take action, the entire company culture can be affected;
- An environment of fear, disrespect and low-level trust develops
- Co-workers have difficulty producing good work
- Co-workers feel insecure and tend to disengage
- Co-workers dislike where they work and being at work
- Physical, mental and stress-related issues evolve
Are you ready to take the next steps required to get rid of your workplace bully? Next week’s blog will outline a strategy to get you on the right track. Can’t wait until then? Contact us now for a free bully coaching session!
November 02nd, 2011
Conflict, as defined in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, is a mental struggle resulting from incompatible or opposing needs, drives, wishes or external or internal demands.
Conflict, such as a workplace bully, is a real team productivity killer. If you do not see a video below, click right here.
Individually, people don’t generally feel competent enough to navigate the murky waters of conflict on their own. They may behave in one or more ways to avoid conflict, such as;
- Doing extra tasks in order to avoid talking to the person on the team who’s creating the conflict
- Hiding or sitting quietly in meetings as a way to avoid confronting any difficulties
- Gossiping with their trusted co-workers about the ineffective behaviours
- Losing team momentum and motivation to produce results.
It’s often at this point that I’m called in to diagnose team conflict(s) so that team productivity can get back on track. However, just because I present a team with the critical issues at hand doesn’t mean those issues will be resolved.
Recently, I was called in to work with a highly dysfunctional team mired by a number of critical issues that needed to be resolved. The day of presenting my comprehensive diagnosis arrived. The general response I received was that I had uncovered the key issues and the team now knew what they needed to focus on. However, within 8-days of that presentation, I was called off the project.
In hindsight, I realized I had kicked the proverbial anthill. Why? Because the truth hurt. This team was more invested in keeping the status quo by stumbling along with their ineffective behaviours than finding the courage to confront the brutal facts, roll-up their sleeves and get busy resolving their critical issues.
What does avoiding conflict look like to you? By avoiding conflict, you are giving your workplace bully more power and control. If you’re fed up and are ready to take the bull(y) by the horns, book your FREE bully coaching session today!
October 27th, 2011
Bullying doesn’t just happen in the school playground. In teams, it’s an extremely toxic behaviour, but often goes unnoticed. If you do not see a video below, please click on this link.
Bully’s are most often really competent with their controlling and crazy-making behaviour(s). If you’re still not sure if you’ve got a bully in your midst, ask yourself these questions;
- Does team performance and individual effectiveness often get side-tracked?
- Do some projects seem to go nowhere?
- Are meetings a complete waste of time?
- Have you felt personally perplexed by your own feelings of inadequacy?
If you answered YES to more than one of the questions above, chances are, you have a bully in your workplace. It’s time to take a good, hard look around the boardroom table to identify who’s creating the difficulties that are propelling your team into a downward spiral.
Easier said than done. So many of the teams I work with suffer from the nice-disease. “Preserving relationships” is what one team described it as, which is to step carefully around the bully. Sadly, all the nice-disease actually does is further enable the bully’s behaviour(s).
Like anyone else, I tend to question my own abilities when dealing with a bully in the room. It’s the strangest, most insecure and fragmented feeling, but it’s with this trigger that I’ve learned to take a moment and question what is really going on. Am I truly incompetent or have I been impacted by the manipulative behaviours of a bully?
As soon as I clearly identify there is a bully in my midst, I confront the behaviour and move forward with my responsibilities. By doing this, I have chosen to no longer to give the bully room to move.
How does the bully on your team make you feel? Share your experience by commenting below or pick up the phone and call us at 778.280.3868.
October 17th, 2011
Firstly, please take this 10-second poll and let us know if you’ve experienced bullying in the workplace.
Secondly, what is workplace bullying? Thirdly, click here if you do not see a video below.
Wikipedia defines it as the tendency of individuals or groups to use persistent aggressive or unreasonable behaviour against a co-worker or subordinate. Bullying in the workplace takes a wide variety of forms and can be covert or overt.
According to the US-based Workplace Bullying Institute;
- 35% of US workers report being bullied at work
- 15% have witnessed bullying at work
- 68% of bullying is same-gender harassment
- 58% of targets are women
Bullies crave control and power and tend to focus their sights on people who are well-liked in the company. Often, these people are independent workers who are confident in their success and experienced in their chosen field. Bullies are often your manager, supervisor or fellow executive and have a low level of emotional intelligence.
We’ll post the results of the poll in next week’s blog posting. Need to tackle a bully now? Contact us to get started.