workplace bullying

No matter what organisation you walk into, chances are you will come across the office bully. Some of these people openly display bullying tendencies and use their position of power to intimidate, belittle and squash their victim. Others however are subtle and have learnt how to fly under the radar. This second group does more damage and often get away with their actions.   Why… because they don’t do anything that could be construed by observers as inappropriate. Some of the ways include comments thinly veiled with sarcasm, constantly highlighting mistakes when others are present, snarky statements followed with laughter and “I’m only joking”.

But when you are on the receiving end, what do you do? Telling the manager does not solve the problem because individually the comments are innocent and harmless. Reporting them to a manager results in the victim looking weak and pathetic, which incidentally is the exact effect the bully was hoping for. Leaving the organisation or moving to another department is a possibility but as mentioned earlier, bullies can be found everywhere. Tackle them head on? This would be ideal but bullies do not target strong-willed people. Systematically wearing down someone’s self-esteem and self-confidence is a deliberate process undertaken by a few toxic, nasty individuals.

I would be interested in hearing how people on the receiving end of bullying and intimidation cope. Any hints you would be willing to share?


2 Responses to workplace bullying

  1. Megan Eliza says:

    You are right that this exists everywhere! As a union steward in the workplace – I see a lot of this and generally counsel people to minimize interactions and ignore it as much as possible. Sometimes I recommend looking for other employment if that’s realistic for the person – it doesn’t seem fair that the person who is being bullied or harassed should feel forced to go elsewhere, but mostly what people want out of the situation is some peace – and that isn’t achieved by fighting those under the radar harassers who will just step up their whisper campaigns. At the moment I am on the receiving end of bullying in the form of shunning by a co-worker who sits near me. It’s been going on for about six months and I am following my own advice and simply ignoring it as much as possible – but it *is* hard, and really painful to go through at times. Fortunately, I get on with my other co-workers and generally enjoy my work environment. If that wasn’t the case, I would certainly be looking for other work in my field (and before I went off, would let my boss know what had been going on).

  2. kiwiflossnz says:

    Thanks Megan. Minimizing interactions is a good idea. Stay strong with your situation as well then you can hold your head high and be the bigger person 🙂

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