I Feel Bullied at Work
The Workplace Bullying Institute issued the following definition - “Workplace Bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators. It is abusive conduct that is: threatening, humiliating, or intimidating, or it is work-interference, i.e. sabotage, which prevents work from getting done.
According to a Forbes website, 75% of workers are affected by bullying, whether they were the target or simply a witness to a colleague being bullied.
Bullying can be characterised by; repetition, duration, escalation which can manifest as increasing aggression, power disparity and attributed intent which could be an act of sabotage which is detrimental to the initial target /victim’s assigned task.
Generally, workplace bullying involves less physical violence than school-yard bullying. The workplace bully is usually skilled at manipulating and controlling other work colleagues and the normal strategy of the bully is to work hard to create the perception that they are strong and they do this by putting down, belittling and/or blaming others.
They usually feel threatened by other staff, viewing their intended victim as a threat to be conquered or controlled. It often happens that the boss of the bully knows that the bully is disliked, but thinks that the organisation cannot do without them and so will make “allowances” for their bullying behaviour. These “allowances” are often seen or framed as a “personality conflict,” which has the effect of blaming the victim for being bullied.
According to Dr. Gary Namie, there are four types of bullies in the workplace;
The Screaming Mimi - these people thrive in a public setting. They are outwardly rude and like to yell. They are out to control the emotional climate of the workplace.
The Constant Critic - These bullies are hard to identify in the work place. They pull you aside in the guise of feedback and appraisal, but instead of promoting constructive appraisals and feedback, taunt you by pulling apart everything you do, looking for flaws in a highly critical interrogation, which in turn is detrimental to your confidence. These meetings are usually done off the record, meaning there is no official recording of what is said to you. This then means that there is total deniability if this is reported by you at a later stage.
The Two-Headed Snake - Their strategy is to act like your friend but they are secretly are trying to destroy your reputation. They take credit for your work. They are back stabbers, rumour-mongers, and use passive aggressive means to get what they want from you.
The Gate Keeper- These people are usually powerful and narcissistic. They can be malicious and strike during times of great vulnerability. They can withhold information, be dismissive, create unrealistic deadlines and exclude you and others from social interactions, all while wielding power over others.
There are other types of bullies as well, but one element that is common to all: they want control over their environment and over you.
If this article is ringing the alarm bells for you, then maybe it is time to take an introspective journey to decide a course of action.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself as you reflect on your workplace environment:
1.) On a scale from 0-10, with 10 being the highest, how badly are you being affected by workplace bullying right now?
2.) What is the current strategy for dealing with your work place bully?
3.) Is it effective or is it burning you out, making you feel frustrated and angry?
4.) Are you ready to get proactive and take action now?
If so, contact me here…
Contact: David Gillman - The Mindset Mechanic