Understanding Workplace Bullying

 

There is a silent epidemic filtrating the workplace; WORKPLACE BULLYING.

It is often misunderstood and easily confused with other forms of bullying.  It’s important to understand what it is and what it isn’t.

Bullying isn’t conflict between people with equal power.  It is not managing people.  It’s not about an unskilled leader that has good intention but good benefit from some personal development combined with 360 feedback.

Workplace Bullying is increasing and can be found in the workplace in addition to other organizations and institutions.  The Workplace Bullying Institute defines it as repeated, health-harming mistreatment that includes any or all of the following behaviours; verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, sabotage or exploitation of a known vulnerability.

It is a pattern of behaviour that occurs frequently over a period of time.  It causes emotional, psychological, or physical harm that is real and not imagined.

Bullies select targets with a CLEAR INTENTION to cause harm.  They choose their targets not because of what they do or fail to do; they choose them because of who they are.   Unlike the schoolyard variety, workplace bullies often prey on those they perceive as a threat but the more vulnerable have no immunity.

Trying to understand bullies is a waste of time and can lead to making excuses and allowances that only extend silent suffering.  Bullying behaviour can be chronic, opportunistic, linked to substance abuse or have its origins in character disorders  (antisocial or narcissistic).

Workplace bullies are extremely cunning, highly skilled and present a false external facade that is powerful and charismatic.  Workplace bullies are extremely cunning, highly skilled and present a false external facade that is powerful and charismatic.  Workplace bullies are extremely cunning, highly skilled and present a false external facade that is powerful and charismatic.  They invest tremendous energy in cultivating support networks and are known amongst the ranks as very good butt kissers.  A survey conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute found their unknowing co-conspirators include Senior Executives, Peers, Peers of Targets and most surprising the Human Resources Department.  Their broad support network creates a defensive shield that protects them if targets find the courage to blow the whistle.  By the time the whistle is blown it’s generally too late because the bully has been poisoning the well for months and those in the best position to help the target have become addicted to the bully’s Kool-Aid.

During this week we will be sharing additional information on how to spot a workplace bully and what you can do to protect yourself should you find yourself having to work for the beast – like I have on several occasions.  I admit I was unaware and caught off guard and hope that sharing some of my own experience will help fortify others.  I’m limited in what I can share because like many targets I was required to sign a very lengthy and comprehensive release.  Organizations and bullies rely on this common organizational practice in order to suppress the truth and protect their reputations.

You don’t need to suffer alone; knowledge and preparation can help you play a strong offensive game!  Feel free to ask questions, share your own stories and reach out to others you suspect might be suffering in silence.