Bullying isn’t confined to the playground although some people still adopt playground behaviour and attitudes in the workplace.
This is an extract from Kickbully.com (I have edited it slightly there are also female bullies so I’ve added female pronouns but kept American spelling)
Are you being bullied at work?
Would you like to fight back?
Bullies, backstabbers and manipulators
Is there someone at your workplace who makes you feel anxious, frustrated or angry? Does that person seem intent on controlling your behavior against your will? Does he belittle, embarrass or even humiliate you?
With most people, if you make the effort, you can usually get along. Problems arise and are solved. But what if your boss, or one of your co-workers, resists any attempt to have a normal, mutually respectful working relationship?
Maybe s/he is overly critical or micromanaging. S/He seems intent on intimidating or controlling you. Or s/he appears to support you one day, then undermines you the next. You find yourself on an emotional roller-coaster. You feel confused and manipulated. You feel like you are alone in an increasingly painful struggle against her/his clever, self-serving, destructive behaviors. Your job has become an ordeal and there seems to be no way out.
If this is your situation, then you are probably dealing with a workplace bully.
Over 30 million bullied
You’re not the only one. Roughlya quarter of employed Americans have reported bullying at work. That’s over 30 million people.
Unfortunately, most targets of bullying lack the knowledge and skills to effectively respond. Either they don’t understand the cause of their problems, or they don’t realise that it’s possible to fight back. That’s over 30 million easy targets. No wonder that bullies act with such smug confidence in their ability to dominate others.
In reading this website, you can separate yourself from the crowd. You can learn the skills and techniques to neutralize or even overcome the bully in your life.
Or at the least you can become a less rewarding target, and maybe s/he’ll go ruin someone else’s day.
kickbully.com is dedicated to advancing the understanding of workplace bullies, backstabbers and manipulators, and to providing the tools to effectively deal with their aggressive behaviors. (Alternatively you can book counselling sessions with GTC Counselling – face to fcew or online).
What is a workplace bully?
On its surface, bullying is a simple concept. A strong person acts harshly towards someone weaker, and the bullying is blatant and habitual. It includes browbeating and threatening, verbal abuse and yelling. everyone recognizes that person as a bully.
Obvious bullies ultimately fail
An obvious bully is noisy, overly aggressive and blatent in her/his attempts to force others to comply with her/his will. Resist her/him and s/he attacks like an ill-bred pitbull. In some toxic workplaces, s/he may survive for years, or even become a high-level executive.
But usually s/he will get her/himself fired. His nasty over-the-top bullying is just too obvious. This simple, stupid version of bullying is rarely a path to sustained success in the American workplace.
Beware the clever bully
Because of this, a successful workplace bully is usually much cleverer in her/his tactics. S/He rarely resembles the stereotype. Her/His methods are very subtle, disguised with all the right behaviors.
In that lies her/his treachery. People respect and trust ner/him, and he quietly betrays their trust whenever necessary to fulfill her/his ambitions. For her/him, the ends always justifies the means.
And if the bully is particularly good at this, no one except her/his victims sees the betrayals. In some cases, not even the victims realize what has happened.
It gets worse and worse…
To make matters worse, a highly skilled bully usually has the dedication, focus and business acumen to create success, or at least the appearance of success. Then s/he is honored and promoted, held up as an example of a company-centric leader. S/He is rewarded while the frustration builds among the targets of her/his bullying and intimidating, backstabbing and manipulating. For them, life has become an upside-down hell..
Beyond the traditional definition of “bully”
A skilled, clever bully displays an elaborate, complex set of behaviors to exploit people around her/him. Those who only consider bullying to be blatantly aggressive behavior are missing the point. Any habitual pattern of intentional, socially cruel behavior is bullying, including the subtle tactics of deceit, distortion, misreprentation and misdirection. When the penalty for resisting someone is destruction of your position and reputation, it’s fair to describe that person as a bully.
Using this broad definition, bullying has reached epidemic proportions in the American workplace.
Accidental vs. intentional bullying
Not everyone who displays bullying behaviors can truly be described as a workplace bully. If someone has genuine concern for your well-being, s/he may be attempting to influence your behavior for your own good. Just because you don’t like her/his approach doesn’t make him a bully.
Or someone may yell at you in frustration. But perhaps s/he lacks emotional maturity and is overreacting to a stressful situation. An isolated incident doesn’t prove bullying. Good-hearted people often make mistakes.
In contrast, a workplace bully has self-serving goals with a complete lack of respect or caring for others, who s/he never considers as equals. And among these moral and intellectual inferiors, s/he feels free to use any means necessary to gain compliance. It is her/his perpetual intention to dominate those s/he considers to be weak, naive, unaware or otherwise susceptible to his guile.