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Author Topic:   Workplace Bullies
Alma Sun

Posts: 2233
From: The East Coast
Registered: Mar 2011

posted February 17, 2013 10:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Alma Sun     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Sometimes, the workplace can feel a lot like high school: Full of cliques, gossip, and passive-aggressive behavior. Bullying has been a hot topic as of late and sadly, adults are not immune to it. Bullies certainly exist in the workplace, though they aren't quite as obvious as they were in grade school. They don't go around throwing people into trash cans and stealing lunch money. But their torment can be just as destructive.

Whether the bully is criticizing you, conveniently "forgetting" to include you in important conversations, stealing credit for your work, or talking badly about you to others, his goal is always the same: To tear you down (typically in an effort to build himself up).

(Please note: The male pronoun is used here for ease of reading. Bullies can, indeed, be female too.)

Anyone here dealt/dealing with bullies at work? How do you handle it?

"When I get sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead." Barney Stinson

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From: CA
Registered: Oct 2010

posted February 17, 2013 06:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for PixieJane     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's not bullying. Not unless the dictionary definition has changed yet again so that "apples" and "pears" now mean "orange." Those examples are considered shunning, annoying, selfish, and stealing credit, but they're not bullying.

That said, I looked at this article, and this IS bullying:

Bullies, on the other hand, engage in persistently aggressive and/or unreasonable behavior against a person. That means you're singled out and the person is being more than just annoying or rude. Various definitions of workplace bullying use the words systematic, hostile, threatening, abusive, humiliating, intimidating, and sabotage. In short, bullies are intentionally trying to harm you and your ability to do your work.

And now I'm going to add this comment/criticism of the article for the win:

I'm sorry Chrissy, but I fear you don't understand the magnitude and depth of real workplace bullying. For sure there are lots of misunderstandings and ways we may misinterpret behavior but what I call classic bullying (intentional attacks on one person) is alive and well in the workplace and your suggestions aren't the most helpful. In particular encouraging people to stand up to a classic bully is sketchy advice, at best. Classic bullies are not reasonable nor do they have a lot of empathy. Stand up and they will crush you more. Same with HR and superiors. Many times a classic bully is well liked by superiors because he/she delivers on the bottom line. So, your complaint will go unheeded. Again, going to HR, if you are seen as a whiner, they won't want to help you. If you don't have a lot of power, they will side with the bully. If the bully is notorious, they will avoid the problem because they can't do anything about it. I work with targets and victims in my coaching practice and I am a research sociologist. I know the facts are complicated and advice needs to be sophisticated.

Sounds about right to me, and many bullies know how to get in good with the superiors before they bully (heck, knowing they're favored and wanting to keep it that way may inspire them to become bullies), otherwise their behavior would be stomped on instantly (like in most schools where the jocks could get away with about anything, even felony violence at times, but that's usually their exclusive privilege). Another study showed that bullies were generally popular as well (though interesting enough those at the very top generally were not bullies, but those between them and the "masses" were likely to be). So telling the boss could be counterproductive and even play right into the bully's hands. Heck, because bullies tend to be successful or at least popular with superiors they're more likely to be promoted so a boss is more likely to see things from a bully's perspective anyway while hating the "snitch." And a lot of typical management strikes me as somewhat bullying, like demanding bodily fluids on demand and declaring essential office bonding so they can work together as "goof off time" and taking it out of their pay, and after kicking employees around complain that they're spineless when in truth anyone who wasn't spineless wouldn't be tolerated there.

I personally don't expose myself to office politics, but if I did I suppose I'd learn verbal aikido and get hold of books like this.

My best friend has worked in an office for years. Having grown very clever but bullied in South Central (Los Angeles) she's learned all kinds of dirty tricks to use against bullies (and realizes she's no match for bullies by debating before the boss and the like) and she adapted them to the office. I admire her cunning.

And one possibly bullying thing her management did was impose a Halloween celebration in which EVERYONE was REQUIRED to contribute to the office party, whether or not they attended (and they were strongly encouraged, even intimidated, to do so, but as it would interfere with taking kids trick or treating they didn't dare make attendance mandatory as well), presumably to restore morale when in fact it damaged it even further (not sure if this was power trip bullying by management or well meaning stupidity). Part of my friend's "contribution" (I put the word in quotes as I don't think it's a contribution when it's taken by threats) was to talk me into volunteering in helping set up the office. That was surreal (like we couldn't use stepladders because their insurance wouldn't cover us, but we WERE allowed to stand on chairs, even those with wheels), and another volunteer sexually harassed me for about 45 minutes (though I got away from him at times catching a few short breaks) until I nicely told him to stop. He stormed out and like 5 minutes later an office worker (who turned out to be his sister) threw me out of the office though she had no authority to do so. She's also very competitive and after her brother left then she wanted to get rid of me so that my friend's contribution wasn't greater than her own, and she also had a history of blaming others, and she did get away with it, and perhaps the only reason my friend didn't get in trouble is because their boss had met me before and liked me (and perhaps he feared a lawsuit, though it's unclear to me on what legal obligations a company has to stop sexual harassment on the workplace between volunteers who aren't employees). As for me I just won't volunteer again, at least not if there's any chance of anyone like him showing up again.

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posted February 18, 2013 09:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for hippichick     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I, once as a new nurse, got continually harassed by one nurse (because mine are real and in order for her to fully home wreck a doctor's life and get him to marry her, he required her to have fake boobs first....)

She would start rumors about me, so I beat her at her own game and made her come out looking like an arse...I would casually place myself in her presence and be talking to a coworker and start a rumor abour myself, like:

"wow, I have missed my period for two months have his baby would be nice, but I would not want him to cause problems with his wife...."

This evil woman even accused me of being a stripper once! A few of the male nurses, discretely had a dancer come to work, slipped into an unused office and had a little show for a male nurse's bday.

The cool folks worked one weekend and us another and somehow it got back to the others that this had happened and The Stepford Wives as we called them, were all over spreading rumors that I was the stripper!

REALLY! I would have loved to have her body.

Finally I went to the director, didnt mention any names cause she knew who I was talking about, told her to quiet the birds orelse I would with a suit of defamation of character and slander...

Stupid women!

But the evil one finally got hers as the doc she homewrecked on did it to her, and was caught with a much younger version of her fake, Barbie self...

Love Karma!

Good topic!

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From: Saturn next to Charmaine
Registered: Apr 2009

posted March 26, 2013 12:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

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From: Welcome to Mercury
Registered: Jul 2015

posted September 12, 2016 03:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for StubbornVirgo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Harassment, bullying and lateral violence happens all the time in nursing. Once upon a time, when I was a wide eyed new grad who trusted what every seasoned nurse on my floor told me, I allowed myself to be set up for failure. It was a hard lesson to learn, and it did cost me my job.

I don't see criticism as bullying, though. I've learned to take criticism constructively, since it's part of being a new nurse. Actual bullying will stress you out to the point of not eating, sleeping, and constantly feeling on edge because you're genuinely afraid of what the bully will do next. It'll make you call in sick because you dread seeing that person. It'll make you cry uncontrollably and question your self worth.

Thankfully, I've gotten better at spotting the would-be problem coworkers and limiting my exposure to them and/or being more assertive when I have no other choice but to work with them.

No quoting, please.

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Posts: 69617
From: Saturn next to Charmaine
Registered: Apr 2009

posted September 13, 2016 01:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bullies should not be tolerated in any work environment.

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