Below is an article I published about a year ago. Once again, I want to bring to the forefront that workplace bullying isn’t just a case of an over-sensitive worker being honked off by a stern, but fair, manager. I have been witness to several forums lately where comments have been made about targets being “cry-babies” or “whiners” and that the solution to the problem is for the target to “grow a set.” The people making these comments fail to see the difference between working for a tough boss and working with a bully that may be a psychopath.
Anyway – that ends my soapbox speech – read on, loyal readers. The article is continued at the website of the original publisher.
Bullying affects workers that are usually at the “work unit” level. It occurs mostly when organizations support and reinforce its existence.
Bullying in the workplace has a variety of labels, such as psychological harassment, emotional abuse and mobbing. Workplace bullying is characterized by:
- intentional, repeated and enduring aggressive behaviors most frequently verbal;
- intended to be hostile and/or perceived as hostile by the recipient;
- usually unpredictable, irrational, and unfair.
Workplace bullying makes work an anxiety-ridden experience. No one wants to go where they’ve been chosen for target practice. A workplace prone to bullying is one where people do not respect or value the benefits of difference. There is usually an air of fear. Supervisors are typically without adequate training in managing people. Accountability structures are not properly defined. There is usually too much work and/or overly intense supervision. Performance appraisals are either too subjective or have little objectivity in criteria. Communication channels are unclear.
The typical pattern of workplace bullying is when someone is genuinely going after a coworker. The bully singles out the coworker for abuse. Targets are usually good at their work, non-confrontational and/or unassertive. They may be friendly yet mind their own business and often are not members of cliques. One key is the non-assertiveness; to the bully, unassertive behavior is like raw meat to a shark. The other key is the targets competence. Often bullies feel intimidated by the targets abilities, so they discredit the target to improve the bully’s worth to the company.