Bullying at work, recognising it & its impact on innovation

Bullying at work on the increase

Bullying at workOr so the reports and surveys tell us. What we do know is that where bullying exists, trust does not. We also know that innovation requires openness and trust. So what do we really have in our organisations – innovation OR bullying?

Are you being bullied at work – or are you a work place bully?

As employers we have a responsibility to our employees, customers and suppliers for them to be respected and not bullied in any way. To deliver on that responsibility we need to first recognise when bullying is taking place.

It is said that half the population are bullied (not all at work)… most only realise it when they read articles like this.

How to spot a workplace bully:

Bad (ineffective) Manager/ Team Leader Good(effective) Manager/ Team Leader
Bully / Coward Leader
Random/ impulsive Decisive
Rigid/ short term Identifies short & long term goals
Abdicates responsibility Accepts responsibility
Takes all the credit Shares credit
Denies failings Acknowledges failings
Inability to learn or change ways Learns from experience
Inconsistent Consistent
Critical, singles people out Fair, treats people equally
Disrespectful and inconsiderate Respectful & considerate

Bullying is often characterised as offencive, intimidating or insulting behaviour, an abuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate or denigrate the recipient.

Harassment is unwanted behaviour affecting the dignity of an individual in the workplace. It may be related to sex, age, religion, race, disability or personal preferences of the individual. It may be persistent or a one off incident.

What is bullying?

What is bullying? 

  • Constant nit-picking, fault-finding or criticism of a trivial nature – the triviality, regularity and frequency betray bullying; often there is a grain of truth in the criticism to fool you into believing the criticism has validity, which it does not; often, the criticism is based on distortion, misrepresentation or fabrication
  • Simultaneous with the criticism, a constant refusal to acknowledge you and your contributions and achievements or to recognise your existence and value
  • Constant attempts to undermine you and your position, status, worth, value and potential
  • Where you are in a group (eg at work), being singled out and treated differently; for instance, everyone else can get away with murder but the moment you put a foot wrong – however trivial – action is taken against you
  • Being isolated and separated from colleagues, excluded from what’s going on, marginalised, overruled, ignored, sidelined, frozen out, sent to “Coventry”
  • Being belittled, demeaned and patronised, especially in front of others
  • Being humiliated, shouted at and threatened, often in front of others
  • Being overloaded with work, or having all your work taken away and replaced with either menial tasks (filing, photocopying, minute taking) or with no work at all
  • Finding that your work – and the credit for it – is stolen and plagiarised
  • Having your responsibility increased but your authority taken away
  • Having annual leave, sickness leave, and – especially – compassionate leave refused
  • Being denied training necessary for you to fulfil your duties
  • Having unrealistic goals set, which change as you approach them
  • Ditto deadlines which are changed at short notice – or no notice – and without you being informed until it’s too late
  • Finding that everything you say and do is twisted, distorted and misrepresented
  • Being subjected to disciplinary procedures with verbal or written warnings imposed for trivial or fabricated reasons and without proper investigation
  • Being coerced into leaving through no fault of your own, constructive dismissal, early or ill-health retirement, etc

 

 

How to recognise a bully:

How do I recognise a bully?Most bullying is traceable to one person, male or female – bullying is not a gender issue. Bullies are often clever people (especially female bullies) but you can be clever too. Who does this describe in your life? 

  • Jekyll & Hyde nature – vicious and vindictive in private, but innocent and charming in front of witnesses; no-one can (or wants to) believe this individual has a vindictive nature – only the current target sees both sides
  • Is a convincing, compulsive liar and when called to account, will make up anything spontaneously to fit their needs at that moment
  • Uses lots of charm and is always plausible and convincing when peers, superiors or others are present; the motive of the charm is deception and its purpose is to compensate for lack of empathy
  • Relies on mimicry to convince others that they are a “normal” human being but their words, writing and deeds are hollow, superficial and glib
  • Displays a great deal of certitude and self-assuredness to mask their insecurity
  • Excels at deception
  • Exhibits unusual inappropriate attitudes to sexual matters or sexual behaviour; underneath the charming exterior there are often suspicions or intimations of sexual harassment, sex discrimination or sexual abuse (sometimes racial prejudice as well)
  • Exhibits much controlling behaviour and is a control freak
  • displays a compulsive need to criticise whilst simultaneously refusing to acknowledge, value and praise others
  • When called upon to share or address the needs and concerns of others, responds with impatience, irritability and aggression
  • Often has an overwhelming, unhealthy and narcissistic need to portray themselves as a wonderful, kind, caring and compassionate person, in contrast to their behaviour and treatment of others; the bully is oblivious to the discrepancy between how they like to be seen (and believe they are seen), and how they are actually seen
  • Has an overbearing belief in their qualities of leadership but cannot distinguish between leadership (maturity, decisiveness, assertiveness, trust and integrity) and bullying (immaturity, impulsiveness, aggression, distrust and deceitfulness)
  • When called to account, immediately and aggressively denies everything, then counter-attacks with distorted or fabricated criticisms and allegations; if this is insufficient, quickly feigns victim-hood, often by bursting into tears (the purpose is to avoid answering the question and thus evade accountability by manipulating others through the use of guilt)
  • Is also … aggressive, devious, manipulative, spiteful, vengeful, doesn’t listen, can’t sustain mature adult conversation, lacks a conscience, shows no remorse, is drawn to power, emotionally cold and flat, humourless, joyless, ungrateful, dysfunctional, disruptive, divisive, rigid and inflexible, selfish, insincere, insecure, immature and deeply inadequate, especially in interpersonal skills

 

Taking action at work to stop bullying:

Creating an anti-bullying ethos

Developing an anti-bullying policy is part of a wider commitment to ensuring a safe and productive work environment and a healthy workplace. Creating an anti-bullying ethos is a comprehensive and challenging objective which needs to be carefully thought through and understood before you start. This like any other organisational development strategy will require stakeholder buy-in and time to develop and implement. Like all change their will be some that welcome it and others that will not (use some of the tools in our change management sections). Often it will be the perpetrators that create the biggest resistance to this change. Be consistent, and seek help from professionals that are experienced in this area.

Bottom Line

All staff will perform better and more effectively in an environment in which trust exists. If we want innovation, we cannot have any form of bullying or harassment – as an organisation we have a choice – innovate and survive or don’t and die eventually – we cannot have widespread innovation where bullying exists.

Many of our organisations are striving to develop the innovative capacity of our people, however to have a culture of innovation requires openness and trust – bullying is symptom of a culture which cannot sustain openness and trust.

 

For more information please visit http://www.bullyonline.org/workbully/index.htm and support the organisation by purchasing their resources


Management and Leadership development are importent to you and of course to the team here at RapidBI. We hope you find this information valuable, if you do please tweet or facebook like this page. Thanks

Read more management articles from the team


 

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About Mike Morrison

Mike Morrison is a consultant and change agent specialising in developing skills in senior people to increase organizational performance.
Mike is also founder & director of RapidBI, an organizational effectiveness consultancy.

Comments

  1. Neil Ryder says:

    New blog from friend Bullying at work, recognising it & its impact on innovation I hope it is useful

  2. Paula Jones MCT says:

    RT @Rapidbi Bullying at work, recognising it & its impact on innovation: Bullying at work on the inc..

  3. RT @rapidbi: New Blog post – bullying at work, & what can be done

  4. Leah MacVie says:

    RT @rapidbi: New Blog post – bullying at work, & what can be done

  5. #workplace bullying – good summary on what bullying is and how to recognize it

  6. Another good summary on what bullying is and how to recognize it bullying

  7. RT @ericapinskyinc Another good summary on what bullying is and how to recognize it #workplacebullying

  8. RT @RspectfulWkplce: Another good summary on what bullying is and how to recognize it #workplacebullying

  9. The McClain GroupLLC says:

    RT @RspectfulWkplce: RT @ericapinskyinc Another good summary on what bullying is and how to recognize it #workplace …

  10. RT @RapidBI Bullying at work, recognising it & its impact on innovation and then some?

  11. While it’s commendable that the writer has addressed an area that is all too common in the workplace, he has further confused the issue. To comment on every instance would require a separate article. (I wrote 4500 words over three newsletters on this subject.) However, I think that it’s important to comment on the most glaring problems. Here are just a few:

    1. Not all bullies are impulsive. Decisive behavior can be just as impulsive.
    2. Bullies are not the only ones who don’t take responsibility for what they do. There are plenty of milque-toast managers in the workplace today who do exactly the same thing.
    3. Bullies are seldom guilty of lacking the will or the ability to change their ways. In fact, the opposite is true. They are particularly able to adapt themselves to a given situation to get what they want. It’s the died-in-the-wool managers who do things the way they’ve always done it.
    4. Constant nit-picking is not limited to bullies. There are plenty of people in the workplace today who micro-manage others; but that does not make them bullies.
    5. Not all “control-freaks” are bullies. It has more to do with the way you’re wired. Those who have a propensity towards linear (i.e. step-by-step thinking) are more likely to strive for absolute control over their surroundings than those who think in a global, big-picture kind of way. Both ways of thinking are legitimate; but one does not make someone a bully.

    I want to encourage all of you to become critical thinkers. No matter how comprehensive an opinion seems to be, you must ask yourself if it makes sense. Play the Devil’s advocate. Ask yourself what circumstances would lead you to the opposite conclusions from what you’ve just read.

    Dr Bruce Hoag, CPsychol
    Work Psychologist
    http://www.p-advantage.com/Newsletter.php

  12. Useful Blog post: http://t.co/kjG0rT86 #rapidbi

  13. Useful Blog post: http://t.co/kjG0rT86 #rapidbi

  14. Interesting article: http://t.co/WdRKjQnl

  15. kills it RT @RapidBI RT @247tweet Bullying at work, recognising it & its impact on innovation. #article http://t.co/Dhw3HcVF

  16. @Chris_Rinaldi thought this article might amuse you: http://t.co/o13YqkU2 note the breakdown chart

  17. Bullying at work, recognising it & its impact on innovation. #article http://t.co/Lky60BMR

  18. RT @247tweet: Bullying at work, recognising it & its impact on innovation. #article http://t.co/xAEyy3eA

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    New blog from friend Bullying at work, recognising it & its impact on innovation [link to post] I hope it is useful

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    #workplace bullying – good summary on what bullying is and how to recognize it [link to post]

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    Another good summary on what bullying is and how to recognize it [link to post] bullying

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    RT @ericapinskyinc Another good summary on what bullying is and how to recognize it [link to post] #workplacebullying

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    Interesting blog post: [link to post]

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  10. ajayblake says:

    This is great, I will use it in my #assertiveness courses, thanks! RT @RapidBI Random entry from my site

  11. Andy Blake says:

    This is great, I will use it in my #assertiveness courses, thanks! RT @RapidBI Random entry from my site

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