Bullying can happen when you are young, old, at work, school, or anywhere else
Dealing with bullies is nearly as difficult as dealing with a psychopath because so many of them are highly skilled at hiding their bullying personality from their supervisors. This piece is really just an overview, so if you think you have one or more bullies in your shop – or if you work with or for a bully – talk to a professional.
If you do need assistance, we can help you with identifying an outside professional who will be able to walk you through the situation or work through your employer to deal with both the bully and those who are being bullied.
To The Employer
Don’t hire a bully in the first place (duh)! To help ensure that you don’t:
- look for certain traits during the interview (see list starting on page 2)
- they usually interview well, so invite them out for an informed lunch or coffee and see whether they are empathetic (good) or brag about “cracking the whip” (bad).
The bottom line of businesses is impacted by bullying, through inefficiencies and/or “churning” of employees – which creates additional training costs.
Workplace bullying can cause severe negative effects, such as:
- absenteeism and low productivity
- lowered self-esteem and depression
- digestive upset
- high blood pressure
- relationship problems.
Which cause such “bottom line” problems as:
- high turnover
- low productivity
- lost innovations
- hiring difficulties due to “hostile work environment” reputation.
Work is stressful enough on its own, but adding a bully to the mix can make it unbearable.
We classify bullies thusly:
- finger pointers
- humiliaters – those who publically pick on people, point out mistakes and tell the world
- narcissists, who are self-oriented and usually score high in personality tests.
- 50% is the number of workers say they’re treated rudely at least once a week – up from 25% in 1998
- 66% is the number of victims who had to lose or give up their jobs to make the bullying stop
- 40% is the number of female bullies who pick on other women more than 70% of the time
- 9% is the number of people who are happy at their office
- 33% is the number of employees who are engaged at work.
To The Employee
If you cannot avoid the “hostile workplace” in the first place:
- question why the job is open and how long the predecessor was there, as high turnover is a side-effect of bullying
- ask about the attitude toward “workaholics” – if it’s expected, then you can prepare yourself if you accept the job
- ask about policies and codes concerning harassment and bullying.
Once you encounter a bully:
- avoid emotional outbursts because bullies like them
- don’t blame yourself – the problem lies with the bully
- do your best work. Always. Employers value good employees
- build a support network
- document everything
- seek help
- get counseling
- stay healthy
- educate yourself about policies
- do not expect to change the bully – they see you as the problem
- start a new job search.
Discrimination: 25% of bullying deals with discrimination – lawyers love that.
GENERALIZED TRAITS OF A “TYPICAL” BULLY
Trying to Succeed by Intimidation and Avoiding Others
- excitable – they expect to be disappointed in relationships – as a result, they are alert for signs that others may treat them badly. That which is most distinctive about these people is their emotional eruptions.
- skeptical – they expect to be betrayed, cheated, or deceived in some way. That which is most distinctive about these people is their suspiciousness, argumentativeness, and lack of trust in others.
- cautious – fear being criticized, blamed, or possibly disgraced; as a result, they are constantly on guard against making mistakes that might cause them public embarrassment and often discourage others from taking any initiative.
- reserved – seem indifferent to the expectations of others – especially their staff. They communicate poorly, if at all, they are unrewarding to deal with, and they have trouble building or maintaining a team.
- leisurely – they seem overtly pleasant and cooperative but are stubborn and independent, cynical about the talents and intentions of others – especially superiors – and insist on working at their own pace.
Trying to Succeed by Charm and Manipulation
- arrogant – they expect to be successful in everything they do, they believe in their own legacy, and when their expectations are frustrated, they explode with “narcissistic rage”. That which is most distinctive about these people is their self-assurance which often gives them a certain social presence – they are the first to speak in a group, and they do so with great confidence, even when they are wrong.
- mischievous – they are willing to ask for favors, exceptions, allowances, and to do so without incurring obligations. That which is most distinctive about these people is that they are bright, witty, and engaging, which is why they are able to extract favors, promises, money, and resources from other people with relative ease.
- colourful – they are good at calling attention to themselves—they know how to make dramatic entrances and exits, they carry themselves with flair. They perform well in interviews, in assessment centers, and other public settings but are also impulsive and unpredictable.
- imaginative – they enjoy entertaining others with their unusual perceptions and insights and enjoy the reactions they elicit in others. They often seem bright, insightful, playful, and innovative, but also as eccentric, odd, and flighty.
Trying to Succeed by Ingratiating Others and Building Alliances
- diligent – they are concerned with doing a good job, being a good citizen, and pleasing authority. that which is most distinctive about these people is their conservatism, their detail orientation, their risk aversion, but also the degree to which they are steady, dependable, and predictable.
- dutiful – they are alert for signs of disapproval and equally alert for opportunities to ingratiate themselves, to be of service, to demonstrate their fealty and loyalty to the organization. that which is most distinctive about these people is their good nature, their politeness, their cordiality, and their indecisiveness.
Before you undertake to deal with a bullying situation, please see the cautionary note at the beginning of this piece.
Remember, if you need assistance call us and we will help you find what you need.