Bullies In The Workplace

Saturday, 12th January, 2013 

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                                              BULLIES IN THE WORKPLACE


According to an Associated Press alert, 29 percent of all U.S. managers and employees deal with workplace bullies.
A Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) white paper reports that “one out of six individuals report being bullied at some time at work during their careers.” According to SHRM’s latest survey, bullying in the workplace is three times as prevalent as illegal discrimination and occurs at least 1,600 times as often as workplace violence.

Many initially try to ignore workplace bullies, hoping if they act professionally the bully will leave them alone or act nicely in return. Often, those targeted view the initial bully onslaught as a one-time event. Nothing could be further from the truth. Bullies perceive niceness and avoidance as weakness and an invitation to take advantage. Those who don’t stand up to the bully’s initial attack inadvertently encourage continued bullying.

Most individuals confronting a workplace bully expect to receive support from co-workers or another senior manager. Unfortunately, because many bullies show their true selves only to their target while maintaining a charming front toward others, and because most individuals give the benefit of the doubt to the bully unless they personally experience the attack, bystanders rarely help those slammed by bullies. When those on the sidelines finally realize what’s going on, they may consider the fight not theirs or even run for cover.

What does it take to stop a bully? You – because bullies lack internal brakes, those who want to stop a bully from steamrolling or trampling over them have to out-maneuver the bully. When under attack you can’t afford ordinary reactions such as letting the bully push your emotional hot buttons; becoming angry or arguing; pleading, giving in; taking the bully’s words at face value; trying to appease the bully or agreeing under pressure or stooping to the bully’s level. When you react to a bully’s provocative attack, you give the bully the upper hand.

The good news -- bullying is a two way interaction. You can’t be bullied if you refuse to play the bully’s game by his rules. If you don’t play along, you merely witness a failed attempt to bully you.
We’d love to hear your stories!

© Lynne Curry, 2013, www.thegrowthcompany.com

P.S. Because bullying challenges so many, we’re providing a session “Outbursts: handling verbal confrontation & the workplace bully” on February 20th. If you’re interested, just click here.

You can follow Lynne on Twitter! @lynnecurry10


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Friday, 11th January, 2013 6:51 PM

good topic

Bullies in the Workplace

Saturday, 12th January, 2013 7:30 AM

We need to remember that bullies are just cowards! They're like sharks--if they smell weakness, they'll attack.

I used to work with someone whom the entire office was afraid of. I'd hear terrible things coming out of his office and everyone dreaded doing into his office. Yet, I always got along well with him and people often asked me how. I'd respond: "Even if my knees are shaking I'd never let on. I always gave an air of confidence and never let him smell any weaknesss.

Once I even made a joke. He tried to threaten me and I reponded--'yeah, that's exactly what I need, you on my back' You know what? He backed down immediately!!"

Irene Ross

Saturday, 12th January, 2013 9:31 PM

Irene, good points, and great shark analogy, Lynne

Bruno the Bully!

Thursday, 17th January, 2013 12:09 PM

When he wants your opinion, he will give it to you. He is out of control, pushy, intimidating, loud and angry. He is turned on by emotionally devouring you and spitting you out. His type are the people that give other people ulcers. He is a verbal terrorist.

Antidote: Use the mirror technique: quickly mimic the tone and comments back to him
Never cower or flee
Unplug and leave the scene
Use the humor technique: “Do you ever get tired of having yourself around?” or any quick comeback

For more info on this topic, feel free to contact Coach JJ at Human Resources Simplified

Friday, 18th January, 2013 2:37 PM

thanks, Jean -- & we have another bully article posted as well, Lynne

Silly Bullies

Tuesday, 29th January, 2013 9:08 PM

I went through the same situation at my workplace when I joined an year back. I was the youngest teacher in the team and also passed my PHD entrance tests when seniors didn't. There was a lot of jealousy in the air. People having 10 years of experience were out of control and trying to push me, intimidate me and emotionally devour me. It was not just a single person but a whole group, including my childhood school mate.

There were times when I didnt want to go to work, then I realized I shouldn't get upset or intimidated every time they try to do that to me. Its my weakness they are trying to bring out and the worst in me because I was being appreciated by the management and getting opportunities others weren't.

Action Plan: I avoided being with them and made new friends. They don't try to bully me anymore because I don't go to speak with them and if they try I just turn a blind eye on them.

What I have learnt from this is that, the more you get emotionally upset when people try to bully you, the more they will trouble you. Better is to concentrate on making your job a success and finding ways to excel in it.

Sunday, 3rd February, 2013 6:00 PM

Nice job, when you won't be bullied, you simply see a failed attempt to bully you -- and a what a feeling of freedom, Lynne


Thursday, 14th February, 2013 3:18 PM

Excellent comments on this topic. Sounds like there should be more discussion.

Very impressed and interested to see what follows.

One way to handle a bully

Tuesday, 19th February, 2013 11:04 AM

We had one that intimidated everyone. She ruined meetings, had staff crying, the whole gamut. Her boss was afraid of her. I was asked for a suggestion, so I had the bully's boss assign her to give an afternoon's training on how to deal with bullies at work. She's improved her demeanor a lot since then.

Sunday, 24th February, 2013 3:57 PM

Awesome strategy! Lynne

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