workplace bullying posts
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December 19th, 2011
We’ve received many comments from readers about experiences they’ve had or are currently dealing with in terms of workplace bullying. Some situations stand out more than others. Here’s one example of one reader’s reality of being stuck in a rut with a bully: (if you do not see a video below click on this link).
I am very reluctant to post anything publicly, but feel it’s my responsibility to begin a process that helps me and others deal with workplace bullying.
For the last 1.5 years, I’ve worked for a small organization. Within the first few weeks of working there, I realized I needed to find someplace else to work. I have yet to find new work and realize I’ve made a choice to stay in a situation where I’m completely miserable. It’s a chore to get up and come to work everyday.
My boss has been with the organization for over 15-years. On a daily basis, I witness my boss randomly humiliate people. Antics range from yelling and screaming (cursing) on the phone to taking small jabs at the employees and slamming fists on the desk. We are made to feel guilty when we want to take time off that has been earned.
There is a lot of turnover, but there are a number of staff, including the Board, (all of which have been here for at least 8+ years), who seem numb to it. For those of us who’ve been here for much less time, we’re dumbfounded by their loyalty and willingness to put up with this type of behavior.
The most recent incident is one that has me most concerned. The boss got into an “I’m going to humiliate you now” conversation with an employee and ended up physically assaulting the employee. This has not been reported and I don’t know who to bring this issue to. How does a small organization deal with the fact that the bully is the boss?
Lucy’s boss is in a power position and may have been appointed by the Board for a set term, so chances of her boss leaving are minimal. The Board has probably been bullied just as much as the employees.
There are two sets of people at Lucy’s company; those people who are loyal and put up with the bully and those people in Lucy’s position who feel stuck under the behaviours of the bully. After repetitive bullying, many people take on a “why bother” attitude. Her statement about the loyal camp being numb is probably right on. She, too, will become numb after more time under the bully’s control.
The good news is that Lucy still has some life in her; the bad news is that, if she continues to show up at work for the bully to bully her, she too shall deaden to the experience in order to cope and will retreat into her own numbness. Sounds delightful, doesn’t it?
These are the suggestions I had for Lucy;
- Go for a coffee with all the people who are stuck under the behaviours of the bully and come up with a plan. By speaking out as a group in the midst of an inappropriate behaviour, your current enabling of the bully (by not saying anything) will decrease as you work to match the bully.
- Contact an employee harassment lawyer. Find out what your rights are so that you can plan your own exit strategy.
- Review our SET the bully straight blog on how to build personal tools for interacting directly with your boss.
- Approach a board member you feel comfortable with and suggest they implement my How Your TEAMworks survey. This online tool and its diagnosis could bring forward to the Board the core issues that are halting productivity and bring to light their denial around the bully.
Unfortunately, until someone else is at the helm, nothing will change.
What would you do if you were in Lucy’s shoes?
* Name has been changed to protect the identity of the reader.
November 24th, 2011
Of course, there are times when people’s behaviours have nothing to do with being a bully. Instead, they’re simply rude and insensitive. If you do not see a video below, click on: show me the video.
According to our research, 91% of people regularly encounter these types of public displays of behaviour.
Ever asked someone to turn down their music or ringer? Their curt, loud in-your-face response may have more to do with their fear than with you. Don’t take it personally. Explore to find what’s behind the fuss.
When dealing with public displays of insensitivity, use these tips:
- Don’t rely solely on vague and prickly non-verbals. Your goal is to get the offenders to reflect on how their behaviour is obnoxious—not how you are obnoxious.
- Be gracious and ask permission. Ask for their permission to listen to your request.
- Keep your smile but hold your ground. Maintain eye contact, stay silent, and let them respond. Be assertive not aggressive.
- Accept a “No” and move on with your life. Unless the situation will continue for an extended period of time or your safety is at risk, you’re better off just moving on.
Next week, you’ll have a chance to let us know what kind of bully you’re dealing with at work. The remainder of the Workplace Bullying Blog Series will focus on examples of existing scenarios and how to resolve your bully issues.
October 26th, 2011
A few weeks ago, I gave you some statistics on bullying in the workplace.
Wanting to know what the statistics were like amongst my readers, I posted a quick poll in last week’s blog post. Thank you to everyone who took the poll!
In the poll, I asked readers 3 questions;
- Have you ever been bullied at work?
- Are you currently dealing with a bully at work?
- Rate your competence in dealing with a workplace bully.
Does it surprise you that 84% of you said you’d been bullied at work? It certainly surprised me, especially considering that the US-based Workplace Bullying Institute’s latest statistics listed that only 35% of their readers had been bullied at work.
Additionally, over 64% of you indicated that you’re currently dealing with a bully at work. Wow! This series on bullying in the workplace has come at an ideal time for many of you.
When asked to rate your competence in dealing with a workplace bully;
- 57% of you try to assert yourself in the face of the bully,
- 24% simply gets out of the way of the bully as quickly as they can, and
- 19% doesn’t know what to do.
If you’re one of the 64% who are currently dealing with a bully and you feel like your current strategy is ineffective, contact us now! Let’s get these statistics down!
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.