Ready to stop workplace bullies?
Oct 25, 2012 / 5:00 am
Have you been bullied at work? I’ve just read some estimates that as many as 35% of people have experienced this at work. You can include me in that statistic.
I decided to write about this because yet another teenager nearby has taken her life because of a variety of different bullying methods. I can’t even imagine what cyber-bullying is like for a teen these days. Again, you can count me in as one of the statistics as being bullied as a kid – lucky for me, I guess, there was no cyber in the bully at that time.
There are a ton of experts out there that deal specifically with this topic so I’m going to write specifically from my experience and what I’ve seen work for myself.
From an attraction perspective you’ll notice that I was bullied both when I was younger and as an adult – I’ll come back to that in a moment.
My first experience was my first days in Grade 1 - I was pushed by a kid on the playground, I pushed back and yelled and then ran to the teacher on duty at recess. I fell and skidded to a full stop in front of her – she was unsympathetic despite my pleas to be saved from the bully. I still have the scars on my knuckles from skidding on the pavement.
My second experience was in Grade 6 when a big boy named Brad pushed me, I jumped up and used the ‘F*@%’ word at the top of my lungs – who knows where that came from – lol. Well, the teacher on duty at lunch heard me and I got detention despite my pleas that I had been pushed by the big boy, who, by the way, didn’t get in trouble. Same as the first time.
Hmm, there’s a pattern here.
It happened again in high school with more potential for dire consequences – as it turned out – all of these were not that devastating but quietly they worked in the background with me and my self-worth for a very long time.
You see, I was a nice girl. That was a very conscious decision that I made when I was very young to be a nice girl….a people pleaser. With people I knew, whether I liked them or not, my thought was that if I was nice enough, they would figure it out and leave me alone. I wasn’t willing to be like them or to use that ‘mean and nasty’ energy that they displayed.
There’s consequences for that. If we’re not willing to be the energy of ‘bitch of supreme magnitude’ – guess who will be? Someone else. And, that someone else will instinctively pick up on your resistance to that energy and pick on you – just because they can.
Later on, I started to develop my own voice and with that, boundaries, probably for the first time in my life. That helped a lot. But I still wouldn’t take on the ‘bitch’ energy – I still believed in the ‘nice person’ persona. That’s why the last event happened when I was in the workplace.
I’ve since seen bullies in a lot of workplaces - you see, the bully is often a big producer. Whether it’s in sales or some other dollar-driven metric, these people make money for their employer and like the playground – they know how to not get caught. Or, many employers often refuse to let go of the bully or change the circumstances for fear of losing money.
What these employers don’t understand is that often the bully on the team is impeding the productivity of the rest of the team…period. Unfortunately, what happens is in an attempt to ‘correct’ the problem – a lot of employers promote the bully or put them into circumstances that can be seen to be a reward by removing them from the team and into more accommodating circumstances – like working from home.
I saw that happen in my circumstance. Most everyone hates conflict and will avoid it at all costs. This is heaven to a bully because they can pick up on that ‘nice person’ energy and exploit it with their aggressive or passive-aggressive behaviours. There was a sense of entitlement energy that ‘I am all that and you are here for me, so serve me – NOW’.
I’m going to share a shocking statistic for the bullied person – in most cases, it appears that 60% of bullied persons will lose their job for one reason or another. This could be due to leaving the job for health reasons, quitting or being let go for not being a producer or a good match for the team.
Blech to that.
So, what do we do?
- Create a plan – don’t over react and quit your job only to leave yourself in peril financially. Remember, where ever you go – there you are. Which means, if you don’t change – you’re likely to attract similar (or worse) circumstances down the road.
- First thing to do in your plan is learn about creating boundaries. You are worthy of being treated well and you need to start demanding that…which leads us to the next step….
- Start learning to speak up for yourself and how to communicate well. Sometimes it just starts with speaking up for something you would like (if you’ve never done that before) with someone you trust.
- Decide that you can take on the energy of ‘supreme bitch of magnitude’. It doesn’t mean you have to use it – it’s just that you have the willingness to use it if you have to. When you do this – everything changes. People energetically know that if they push – you’ll push back – and mostly they will not even try. Be ready though, some people will push – be prepared to step up and push back. What will likely happen is that the ‘fight’ will be over more quickly than the hell you endure now.
- Document everything.
- Imagine the best outcome you’d like to see. Not what you think is probable but what is the real outcome you’d like to have happen. Feel that feeling.
- Tell your boss or an HR person in the most factual way you can about what’s going on for you with the bully. I know you might think this should be the first thing but remember 60% of bullied people end up leaving their job. Unfortunately, (and sorry in advance to all my HR friends!!) like the recess teacher, the resolve you’re looking for may not happen in the way you’d like.
- If it happens that your company doesn’t take action with the bully – start looking for another job.
- If you see someone else getting bullied - speak up.
While I gave a ton of information here - this is really the framework to start with and if you would like more help with this – consider my Project 90: Round Four coaching intensive program. I have worked with A LOT of individuals from front line workers to top level managers to set boundaries, gain confidence and create new communication skills that changes EVERYTHING in their life.
If you would like to increase your confidence in your workplace or if your team needs this information – connect anytime. You see, you’re far more powerful than you know – let’s reveal that in a smarter, faster way! Woohoooo!!!
In the Essentials program – as a member, you can send in an anonymous question to the Q&A that I can answer during our next Business/Work call.
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