Donna Wood en Butterfly Phoenix, Strong and Worthy Empowered Entrepreneurial Women, Lifestyle Owner @ Butterfly Phoenix: Emerge Into Your Best Self! • Butterfly Phoenix 10/3/2018 · 2 min de lectura · 1,4K

Leave No Room for Adults Who Bully

Leave No Room for Adults Who Bully

Incivility in the workplace is as common as bread and butter throughout the world. However, incivility itself is not bullying. Incivility is people being rude, discourteous, and having a general disregard for others. An adult who bullies has a sustained behavior pattern that crosses into every aspect of their lives: home, social circles, and even in the workplace.

Their bullying goes beyond the occasional curt remark or lack of acknowledgment. It seeks to gain internal power by the continuous hacking away at another person's self-esteem, self-confidence, and well-being. Their behavior toward the person creates a tension in the air that is felt by everyone else, but it's never confronted.

Everywhere we look today, we see stories of people who have suffered from toxic stress over a long period of time, acting out in either self-harming or violent ways. It's a psychosis brought on by toxic stress, where the person can no longer see any other options - a sort of tunnel vision. Those who commit self-harm are the ones who are more sensitive and internalize the abuse, whereas those who commit acts of violence tend to act on an anger that has grown into rage.

Adults who bully have:

  • Low Emotional Intelligence
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Low Social Skills

We know all of this. We read it. We go to seminars. We attend "best practices" workshops, and yet it never changes.

Human Resources can't, and most won't, help a person who has been attacked by a bully. Why? Because their job is to protect the interests of the company, ie. the bottom-line.

Co-workers won't help a person who has been attacked by a bully. Why? They don't want to be the next in line to be attacked.

Managers/Supervisors won't help a person who has been attacked by a bully. Why? Fear of conflict, or they lack the skill set for conflict resolution.

Sociopaths:

According to the American Psychiatric Association, 4% of the (American) population are sociopaths at one degree or another. Anti-Social Personality Disorders  in American youth doubled between 1976 and 1991, says the Epidemiologic Catchment Area study report sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health; and that number is growing. Our "Me-Centric" society is creating sociopaths.

Psychopaths:

According to Dr. Robert Hare, 1% of the general population are Psychopaths, which are whole different "breed" of people. Not all Psychopaths are criminals and not all criminals are psychopaths, but most psychopaths bully other people, and they are the most dangerous when cornered. In the workplace, people fear them the most, because they generally hold high level positions of power and authority.

Average Adult Bully:

The average adult bully is neither a sociopath or a psychopath. You can put your checklist of what to look for away. The average adult bully is a person who is insecure, incompetent, or has been promoted beyond their skill set. They lack the social skills to create relationships with co-workers or subordinates.

Organizational Culture:

Bullies in the workplace effect the organizational well-being. They wreak havoc on an organization until everyone is suffering a form of collective toxic stress. Morale has tanked to its lowest level ever. Top performers get sick and tired of the unprofessionalism and seek greener pastures. More people are taking random PTO days just for a reprieve from the stress at work - it's not just the person being attacked. Employees are physically ill more often than ever before, because their immune system has been compromised by the stress. Plum customers and clients begin to question the stability of the business, due to the high turnover rate. Sometimes, not often, but 5% of people targeted by a bully choose to end their own life just to make it stop. The business gains a reputation in the community of a toxic employer, and has difficulty finding employees to replace those who leave.

Policy goes a long way in preventing all of this from happening. Zero tolerance for bullying is a nice accolade, but does little for the employees or the employer when it's not enforced. 

Lawsuits:

Up until the last few years, employers didn't necessarily fear lawsuits brought by people who became debilitated by relentless hostile work environments. Today, attorneys are finding ways to use existing laws to bring suits that support their clients. Conspiracy laws - especially when someone has ended their own life. Conspiracy to commit manslaughter. Accessory to a conspiracy, the company was fully aware of the hostile environment and did nothing to stop it. The company has a policy, but chose not to enforce it. Wrongful termination. Mental Abuse, and the list goes on and on. There's money to be made in this arena, and law firms will notoriously go after the deepest pockets - the employer's.

With all this said, it would behoove an employer to ensure that policy is being followed all day, every day; to stop bullying at the stage of incivility; and to create healthy organizational cultures that leave no room for bullies.

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Donna R. Wood is an Author, Motivational Speaker, and Social Theorist, specializing in well-being.

Currently, Butterfly Phoenix is hosting a live 2-hour Webinar that includes 1/2 hour of Q&A.

Incivility: The New Workplace Normal

March 15, 2018

11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Central Time

$20 (USD)


I have never been a victim of bullying in the workplace but I have seen others endure it. At my last place of employment, we reported bullies to HR. It must have worked because the bullying either stopped or the bully was terminated.

I found that bullying in the workplace is not just limited to the non-titled employees. I have seen managers bully managers in order to promote themselves.

Unfortunately, some adults refuse to grow up and accept responsibility for their actions.

+1 +1
Harvey Lloyd 12/3/2018 · #13

#11 I read a book a long time ago about "Mavericks", those people in the office that drive things forward. In today's lingo i believe this character type would be known as a bully. The book went on to discuss how a maverick could influence change and success within an organization but at great cost to culture.

Now this was back in the day when the business cycle was considered to be in seven years. I haven't seen the latest cycle analyses but would ass-ume that it is much shorter. From a leadership perspective...Economics, markets and regulation drive change very fast these days and getting existing staff too change is difficult at best and very time consuming. Worth the effort though.

Once a leader discovers change is necessary then an internal clock gets started. This also happens in our personal life. This clock always seems to indicate you are behind.

I don't offer this as an excuse for poor corporate culture management. To win the change war and loose that which made you successful is really quite stupid when we stand outside the issues. I have watched companies ditch humanity in survival mode to experience a quick fix only to fail in the end.

Leaders today need too keep in mind the "why" and the "how" matter in execution of change.

+1 +1
Harvey Lloyd 12/3/2018 · #12

I agree with an outside view of "Bulling". Most of us experience bulling through someone else. We see the emotional results. We all should have a litmus test for what is bulling and what is passion. Certainly we have the extremes whereby we need no litmus test as the individual took something professional and made it personal and directed character references towards someone.

My bully test is pretty short and sweet. Is the passion focused on the goal or the team/team member. This sounds obvious but once passion gets dumped into the environment our own emotions kick in and sometimes clarity is not available. When i hear words, tones and the impending silence i stop and analyse whether we are now talking about the goal or are we dealing with someones self expressed fears. This tells me where to lead the discussion.

If in anyway a personality issue between two member then the course of action is different. With me it usually involves, taking away the audience where this got plaid out.

I would exercise caution in the crutch syndrome that ensues with those who are bullied. Bully's or folks who enjoy tapping our personal buttons exist between you and your goal. Certainly bullies need attending but the person experiencing it needs to be encouraged. Help them find their mojo and realize that their personal goals are more important than the bullies.

+2 +2
Lisa Vanderburg 11/3/2018 · #11

#8 There'll be an algorithm for that I expect. I say this because my niece's hubby is an astrophysics statistician and he can figure any behavioral (corporate) methodology to math. So if recording were made, why are 'corporate' not looking? Do they need more bullies for their own math? i.e. they drive the sheep? Hellacious thought!!

+2 +2
Lada 🏡 Prkic 11/3/2018 · #10

As you said, incivility itself is not bullying. I was never faced with bullying, but I worked with some colleagues and met some managers who were rude and disrespectful but never crossed the line towards bullying. When being treated the same way, their behaviour completely changed. Although it's not my way of dealing with people, sometimes to handle rudeness requires being rude. It works.

+4 +4
Donna Wood 11/3/2018 · #9

#5 I agree, @Kevin Baker. When employers allow the bullying to continue it begins to deteriorate the entire business from the inside out.

+1 +1
Donna Wood 11/3/2018 · #8

#4 I've worked in several corporate settings and all of them had video surveillance, except in places where confidentiality and data security were an issue. The surveillance included audio. I always wondered why it seemed that no one noticed or watched the videos. ???

+1 +1
Donna Wood 11/3/2018 · #7

#3 That's the number of true psycho and sociopaths in the workplace.

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