This infographic on workplace bullying was created by International Business Degree Guide to convey the message that workplace bullies not only hurt people, they can also hurt business–driving away good employees in their quest for control.
Adept at dissimulation, those in authority often see what the bully expressly feigns and pretends to be. Under observation by authority the bully hides his true self and often cultivates an image designed to please and impress.
Veiling truth to those in power protects the bully. Reports of abuse are disbelieved or ignored; dismissed or minimized as exaggeration; deemed a product of bellyachers and whiners. In addition to hiding his true self the bully will often tell superiors what they want to hear. The workplace bully promotes an image of loyalty, dedication and hard work to superiors and may even feign common ideals and goals. This impression management often works.
When bullying ends in tragedy it is often revealed that those who could and should have done something about it knew about it and did nothing. This failure to act may be the result of blinkered apathy, willful ignorance and even malicious complicity. This is especially true when the political and ideological views of the bully align closely with those in charge and the victim of bullying is remotely aligned. Moral superiority, bigotry, racism, and other biases all too often factor into the equation.
Perhaps those without sufficient empathy of others to take action when reports of abuse and harassment are reported to them will do their jobs if they realize workplace bullying might harm them personally or what they value most.
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Beyond the Schoolyard: Workplace Bullying
Not only do workplace bullies hurt people, they can also hurt business – driving away good employees in their quest for control. What can you do if you find yourself having to face a bully every day?
Not All That Different …
Schoolyard bullies vs. workplace bullies
Both share a need for control – exercising power through humiliation of a target. If reinforced by cheering kids, fearful teachers or ignoring administrators, there is no reason to change and it often continues into adulthood. (1)
What Is a Workplace Bully?
Characteristics of a workplace bully: (2)
- Finger pointers
- Publicly pick on people
- CC the whole world in emails
- Point out your mistakes and tell everyone
Narcissism and self-orientation
What workplace bullies usually score high on in personality tests (3)
How many workers are dealing with bullies?
Workers who say they’re treated rudely at least once a week (in 2011); up from 25% in 1998 (4)
Bullying victims who had to lose or give up their jobs to make the bullying stop (1)
40% of workplace bullies are women, picking on other women more than 70% of the time. (5)
How Bullying Can Hurt Your Business
Work is stressful enough on its own, but adding a bully to the mix can make it unbearable.
9% of people say they’re happy at the office. (3)
Less than 1/3
Employees who say they’re engaged at work (3)
Workplace bullying can have serious negative effects on employees, such as: (6)
- Absenteeism and low productivity
- Lowered self-esteem and depression
- Digestive upset
- High blood pressure
- Trouble with relationships due to stress over work
All of this can hit the company’s bottom line, causing: (6)
- High turnover
- Low productivity
- Lost innovations
- Difficulty hiring quality employees due a “hostile work environment” reputation
Got a Bully? Here’s How to Deal
Avoid the workplace in the first place (1)
- Ask why the job is open and how long the predecessor was there (turnover is a bullying sign)
- Ask about the attitude toward “workaholics.” If it’s expected, then you can know what you’re getting into
- Ask about policies and codes that help ensure a respectful workplace
Once you encounter a bully (5)
- Don’t get emotional (bullies like that)
- Don’t blame yourself (the problem is the bully, not you)
- Do your best work
- Build a support network
- Document everything
- Seek help
- Get counseling
- Stay healthy
- Educate yourself about policies
- Don’t expect to change the bully
- Start a new job search
25% of workplace bullying deals with discrimination. If that’s the case, you can talk to an attorney. (7)
Don’t hire a bully
Recognize certain traits in an interview process: They usually interview well due to a desire to control the situation. Invite them to an informal lunch and see if they’re empathetic (good) or brag about “cracking the whip” (bad). (8)