Work Place Bullies
I've been in the workforce since the 1970s and have noticed an significant change in the relationships of superiors (managers, directors) with subordinate staff. The 70s were a time when we were still using typewriters to type labels and letters. You buzzed your supervisor and he'd pick up his handset to answer you. We were working with carbons and colored white out. Sounds like work and work it was.
The lines of management and staff were clearly defined but management knew that it took respect of it's staff to produce a great final product. Those were the days that if you worked hard, you excelled and were rewarded for your efforts.
This was a time that if you didn't produce a good product, your firm would not survive against a better run organization. We went to work dressed and addressed our counterparts as Sir or Miss.
Clearly, in this day and age most of that has been abandoned for office cliques, office politics, and in-house networking. This, I believe, has produced the perfect environment for "Office Bullies" to thrive.
My First Experience With Bullies
I've often told the following story when speaking. It was my first experience with bullies. I was always not as tall as the children I went to school with. My mom is 5'5" on a good day and my dad is 5'7." Although I wasn't very tall, I was blessed to be pretty. Pretty, caused me to become the target of not one bully but two. They were friends almost twice my height and 50 pounds heavier than me.
One day they just started walking behind me on my way home and began to ridicule me, mercilessly. It was the most intimidating experience I've ever had. I was too embarassed to tell my mom but back in those days you had "mothers" and mine was one of those.
On this particular day, I proceeded on my usual dreaded walk home accompanied by my usual bullies. I would always walk with my head down as not to give them any reason to become violent but this day there was a sudden silence. When I looked up, there stood my mom. It looked as though she had become seven feet tall. I could not have been anymore pleased to see Jesus! She verbally lit into them like nobody's business. Then, I never asked her how she knew until I got almost grown.
I was the eldest, and she said that she would watch me from afar -- down the street -- to make sure I got to school safely. She said she was waiting for me to say something but on the third day she had had enough and took things into her own hands. From that day on I never had a problem with those bullies!
Work Place Bully
Believe it or not, they are not much different than the school yard bullies that we've grown up with. They have the inate ability to be able to choose persons who will easily sucuumb to their intimidation. However, what makes "Office Bullies" more threatening is that, you don't expect to meet one in a suit and tie or a suit without the tie!
Listen here, bullies are not gender selective. You may even find that a woman can be a formidable "Office Bully" and can have you clutching your files and hiding in your cubicle.
Whichever the gender, it is a humiliating and stressful work environment. We spend most of our lives at our individual places of work and to be the target of an office bully will make it an intolerable existence.
Our Agency, has for the third time this year, issued guidelines admonishing staff to restrain from practices of harassment. Each employee had to signed that they received the material and would make themselves aware of what constituted violation of another employee's right to a safe, working environment.
Work Place Environment Where Bullies Thrive
How To Recognize An Office Bully
- They will use their authority as an excuse to scream at you, in private or in front of other people or staff.
- They will require that you maintain eye contact with them but when you try to explain or give your point of view, the office bully will divert from eye contact.
- The Office Bully lives to intimidate. Therefore, any requests to be out of the office causes them to not want to respond to your request to be absent from work.
- Have you ever notice that other co-workers avoid you like the plague? They do not want to be associated with the target of a bully, less they become their next victim.
- You begin to manifest poor health issues.
- Complaints against the office bully is usually dismissed by higher level management.
- Getting up leaves you exhausted, even when your not going to the work environment.
- Your no longer as productive in your work due to the repetitive antics of the office bully.
- No matter what mistake the office bully makes, they will artfully make it someone elses fault.
Signs of an Office Bully
Work Place Bullies Modus Operandus (M.O.)
Studies have found that most bullies thrive by charming their management and by manipulating staff to help them to excel in the workplace. Make no mistake about it, an office bully will terrorize, abuse their coworkers to accomplish their goal of climbing the golden, corporate ladder.
Since the office bully possess accomplish levels of social and networking skills, they then are able to strategically harass and abuse their coworks while maintaining the image, persona of a hardworking and dedicated employee.
This makes it difficult for the victims of the bullying because the bully is held in such high regard while deeming rather dimly in light of comparison to the bully.
Victims of Office Bullies Suffer Greatly
There are evident signs of a person who is being bullied. They will exhibit one or several of the following symptoms: Chronic fatigue and thoughts of suicide, depression, and depression.
Corporations have been forced to take a look at violence or bullying in the workplace due to prolonged absenteeism, lost revenue, cost of healthcare costs, but most of all a lack of productivity amongst its staff.
How to Deal With an Office Bully
When dealing with office bullies I've found the following successful:
- Document EVERYTHING! Every encounter, session, talk, or occurrence. Recently, I had an Administrator who would go in to our payroll system and undo changes I had made and then would send me an e-mail saying that the change needed to be made. I notified Payroll and Payroll Programming notifying them of the consistent issue of changes not being saved after I made them. I then printed every edit and every request the Administrator made for changes/edits until I closed Payroll. The missing edits occurrences stopped. I later found out that the lady before me had been having the same issues with this Administrator.
- Go through the Chain of Command. Put a face and name to your bully. Documentation will be key in getting the bully's superior to listen to you. If you do not get good results, go up to the next level with your documentation and results of your previous action to resolve the issue. Remember to submit your issue in writing, this will create a paper trail if you need to go outside of the office to pursue resolution.
- Do not write when you are angry or upset. After having to document an encounter in writing, wait until you've calm down, write the incident, and have SOMEONE else read it for content and accuracy. The key in writing is to simply STATE the facts clearly and concisely. You don't want to come across as a whiner or emotional-needy person.
- It may be time to look for another job. Don't get caught up in proving a point! A dead man doesn't live to fight again! Discreetly look for another job. If you need a reference, see if you can use someone else in the Division that will give you a favorable recommendation. This will take artful measures, office bullies will assume that you will try to escape. Sometimes you will have to appease them by getting them to believe it would be best for all concerned if you transfer out. If all else fail, run for your LIFE! (just a bit of humor people) I personally had a friend who lost her job of 18 years because of an office bully. She rose to every challenge, trying to prove them wrong and one day became so overwhelmed that she said something that caused her termination.
Bullying Creates Stress
Have You Encountered an Office Bully?
- Ten Signs You\'re Being Bullied At Work - Forbes.com
Bullying isn't reserved for the playground. The practice is hurting workplaces more than you'd think.
Safety in a Multitude of Counselors!
Remember, my friend, to talk to a few people to make sure that your assessment of the situation is correct. This is important because sometimes you have financial obligations or you like to have a roof over your head, you like to eat, and have electricity, you might have to bite the bullet for a while until something else happens for you! But cheer up, it will get better.
In a couple of my own personal experiences that I was able to endure and the office bully was either found out by someone else or had picked on the wrong somebody! Hello! Viola! Problem solved!
Send me some of your experiences, or let me know how you've dealt with it, or maybe we can help someone else!
Until next time...Let's Talk!