28th June 2016 (Disclaimer: This is a sad one) This Blog is about ‘What you do for a living’ and as that is the case, the horrid subject of Work Place Bullying has to be addressed. Think back at all your working experiences…..All good?....Really?.....Think back. What about that manager, who people would say……”Is that what she said? Oh, It’s just how she is….”
What about that colleague who for whatever reason, managed to get under your skin, every-time they spoke to you, or the colleague who makes “jokes” that are really digs at you. Think back at the feelings you had, when you had to go back to work, after a few days off. Not your, after the weekend feelings, but the feelings of...... that person is going to be there today. Any of the above seem familiar? Chances are, your workplace has a Bully. (If it’s not the manager, s/he knows about it)
I have a question for workplace bullies. What makes you feel, that it’s okay to upset others, and to carry on as if you are work Gods when you get to the workplace? I know that you are human, I know that you have families and maybe some type of life outside work. But you don’t act like it, you act as if your whole world start and finish at work. More information about correcting your behaviour will follow later. Going to work and checking the rota, to see who you’re working with that day or night, in order to give you an indication of what the shift is going to be like. Is a sign that someone working there is an irritant. I have been told by work colleagues that on arriving at work and seeing my car parked outside, made them smile. I am sure there has been other work colleagues that felt ‘oh no’ on seeing my car parked outside. I care for people I interact with, holistically. I care that when you arrive at work you may need a few minutes break, i.e you may have traveled for two hours to get there. I understand that people may need to call someone to say ‘ I‘ve got to work safely’ especially if they work at night. I understand that people need breaks. No I am not saying that I am the model manager, work mate or friend. I have my faults. I do, however, I claim to have a conscious.
Consider this, If you work full time, you are at work more than you are at home. Consider working from 9 – 5 most jobs are more than the original eight hours per-day. Lets look at your day. You wake at 7am, you leave at 7.45am and get to work at 8.50am. You work until 5pm and get home at 6pm, from 6pm – 11pm you are awake, and some-what alert, with the ability to interact with your family for 5 hours. Then you go to bed and wake up at 7am to do it all over again. That makes you at work for more hours than you’re at home on a work week.
Now imagine this, you have family issues, financial and/or health concerns to contend with, you don’t wake at 7am but at 5am, you leave home at 6am to get to work for 9am, you enter a stressed work environment, i.e the work itself. Then you have a work colleague or manager who for whatever reason, seems to be watching your every move, almost waiting for you to put a foot wrong. You work under these conditions for eight hours, then take your long ride home to face whatever issues you have there – you go to sleep and wake to do it all over again. Pretty stressful – your work colleagues or manager would not know about your private issues, and you don’t feel they would care. If you had the opportunity to tell them, you would be sure that you would hear your issues, paraded around the office floor, (as this is how you get to hear, all the news about the other ‘unpopular’ people in the office). Very stressful, the stressful work environment, the uncaring work colleagues and manager. The stress at home, the travel – All leads to a mini breakdown if you’re not careful. But who cares? Or understands? firstname.lastname@example.org
Workplace bullying or harassing behaviour – Include, according to the Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service)
- Spreading malicious rumours
- Unfair treatment
- Picking on someone
- Physically or verbally abuse
- Regularly undermining a competent worker
- Denying someone’s training or promotion opportunities
- Discrimination on the grounds of race or sexual orientation
Bullying and/or harassment can happen:
Are you being bullied at work? In 2012 I started a business to help people being bullied at work, most of the time people would call, just to talk about what was happening to them at work, as they felt used, undermined and disrespected. When asked if they wanted me to take the next step in the process of making the company aware of what was going on, they often said no, as they were afraid of getting sacked. Of course if someone was sacked after complaining, it would be called unlawful retaliation or unfair dismissal. But a lot of work places, begin to look for any reason to sack a person after a complaint has been made over their heads. People have reported, that after making a complaint, life at work became even more stressful, there are reports of feelings of being watched in order to report back to (the powers that be). Sad. I worked for a company that had a supervisor or Shift Leader that just didn’t speak to me. It was her job to let me know what duties I’d have to carry out on that shift – She managed to convey her instructions via other people – She’d tell me what needed to be done by saying it to somebody else in my earshot, as I would rather get on with my work. I’d just go and get the job done. – This person seemed to have this attitude with most new comers, there was another criteria, but I shall get into that later. Can you imagine working with someone who is supposed to be there to ensure you feel comfortable or managed at work, who just didn’t say one word to you, throughout the 8 or 12 hours you are working together– when I spoke to other staff members, who had been there longer than I had, I was told – “Oh that’s just how she is” - Unacceptable.
How dare she make someone feel uncomfortable. That company had a bullying book – A book where staff could write in their concerns. The book was always empty – while this person, very close to the manager walked around alienating staff members. There are many instances that I could go into – But it wouldn’t be conducive to this blog. You know what, I may post my CV here, then you can see if you recognize the companies I’m talking about.......Some of these people still work there!!!!!!!!
Another instance, mentioned earlier. I went to work and was treated like a five year old. The manager would ask me to do something, then hover to ensure it was done his way. When speaking to customers he’d interrupted, as if I couldn’t speak for myself. Really strange, as I was studying for my first Degree in Psychology at the time.- Surely I could articulate.
Having worked at a Care home for three years, I left with stress related issues, I am now able to drive pass the home without feeling total dread. I remember leaving with no job to go to, or any inclination to ever work in care again. There were people there that made me feel physically ill, with their behaviour, again going into detail would not be conducive to this blog.....So I’ll leave it there.
******Remember , The Bully can be your Staff, as well as your Managers******
What I will show you, are same instances of extreme cases. You’ll read what being bullied has ‘done’ to some people. You’ve all heard of children being bullied at school, some found it so difficult that they have committed suicide.
Until you walk in someone’s shoe, don’t judge.
Sheila Freeman Consulting shares with you, Workplace Bullying Case Studies.
"When I started there, I was told that someone had been acting in the position and had expected to get the job. This person continually undermined me and turned other staff against me. I endured twelve months of hell, and felt as if I was sinking in quicksand." (Mavis)
"I went on stress leave but the thought of returning filled me with such dread that I never went back." (Ian)
"You always find reasons, excuses for it. It’s the old clichéd question of why anyone puts up with violence: you always think you can change him, you always feel it’s your fault, if you don’t provoke him, everything’s fine…" (Sandra)
"The misery took over my whole life. I turned nasty and bitter, and treated my wife and kids like whipping posts. After many visits to a psychologist, I was able to think of all the positive things in my life, you know, the family, my age and experience in relation to future job prospects … lots of things that put the situation into perspective. Now I look back and think, well, I wouldn’t want to go through that experience again, but in the end it was just a job I lost." (Michael)
"I had lost my identity and self-esteem, and there was a lot of unresolved anger that I had to let go of before I could channel my energies into the future." (John)
"I practically turned myself inside out to gain his approval but went nowhere in the company. He ignored my input at meetings, sneered and talked through my presentations. Friends in the business passed on quite vicious rumours about me. I know he started them, but have no proof. At my annual appraisal, all he said was, ‘I suggest that you look for another job.’" (Simone)
"He was out to get her. He started a campaign of whispers and innuendo. At meetings he always made her seem inefficient or unreasonable, hinted that hormones made her behave irrationally, that she was hysterical, menopausal. Little things, all done so carefully that it wasn’t easy to say he was behind it. But he was." (Robyn)
"I felt as if I was in a long, dark tunnel." (Sue)
"I wanted to go to sleep and not wake up." (Marita)
"I had a physical and mental breakdown – a persistent skin rash, absolutely no energy. Everything was grey. There was no colour or joy in my life. I could barely raise a smile. I lost hope for the future. My wife left me." (Henry)
"I was most hurt by the malice and vindictiveness shown by my colleagues." (Margaret)
"I am experiencing emotional abuse from my male manager. He is a control freak, must have everything his way and he is a very domineering personality. He likes to be in control of everything and I am nervous around him." (Paula)
"When I reported her behaviour to our supervisor, I was told I was being over-sensitive. He also suggested I should just "stay in my office". I began to believe it was my fault. I started having panic attacks and thought I was going crazy. Eventually I had to leave, and haven’t worked since. I will never be the same happy, confident person I was before she bullied me." (Carla)
Any of the above ring a email@example.com
Here’s Tracy's Story
"I am a 43-year-old primary school teacher in Australia and my life was turned upside down when I transferred to a remote country school some seven years ago. I have been teaching for over twelve years, worked for many private companies, and have always received glowing references. While at University, I received many letters from the Dean congratulating me on my performance and eventually topped my final year. I had never been bullied in the workplace so I had no idea what was going on until I became so ill that I could no longer face going to work.
Some of my experiences were:
- Told by a colleague/superior that it wouldn't matter if I was dead (done in private, of course)
- Physically pushed three times (the pusher apologised, but can three times in ten minutes be an accident?)
- Isolated – staff involved would never sit with me during morning tea, lunches, meetings, courses, etc. My name was omitted from birthday acknowledgements. All other staff names on whiteboard in staff room and on work trays were in black, only mine was in red. When we were asked to bring a plate for morning teas or special lunches, no one ate any of mine. I volunteered to help on many projects only to find later that the projects had been completed without my help.
- Humiliated often: dunce hat put on my head during school performance; coerced to skip in front of whole school; yelled at during meetings; singled out for arriving late to a meeting (others arrived late but no comment made); at a staff night out and after dinner we went to a bar and the Principal said, ‘Come on, Trace, let's find you a man.’ (Needless to say I am single); ridiculed or ignored about complaints/concerns about students; at school performances or meet-the-parent nights, one member of staff introduces staff with a bright, bubbly tone but the tone always changed significantly when I was introduced; office staff sending children with offensive messages; lunch thrown in the bin.
- Psychological games to make me feel as though something was wrong with me: told by Principal, ‘We're going to toughen you up, Trace - now we're going to up the anti’ (things heated up for me after this); while I was questioned individually about child sex abuse, the remainder of staff were asked to do the same during a staff meeting; I was repeatedly talked over as though what I had to say was irrelevant; teachers constantly interrupted my dealing with playground matters and would take over the matters; told that nobody would want to work with me during a lunch time disco; jobs were taken from me without notification or justification.
- Denied appropriate resources to do my job effectively: told 30 pieces of art paper was my quota for the year; denied key to store personal belongings; automatic financial assistance for an emotionally disturbed boy in my class withheld, etc.
- I am a vegetarian and my love of animals was well known. During a lunch, twp bullies sat beside me (unusual, I thought, then I got it) and vividly described a frog dissection. During a dinner, one bully described the removal of a road-kill kangaroo's testicles. My bullies knew of my pet house rabbit, a much-loved little friend – in one day, one bully described vividly three times how she had cut her finger whilst chopping up a rabbit, while another bully laughed hysterically.
This is only a sample of the behaviour I had to put up with on a daily basis for six years. A few years ago, a doctor asked me if I was depressed. I dismissed this though, looking back, if I had addressed the problem then, perhaps my symptoms would not be so bad today.
I have major depressive illness now, with anxiety attacks so bad that I lay and groan on the floor or bed. I have night-time enuresis that worsens when highly stressed. I have tried to commit suicide, have become a recluse, and am a shadow of my former confident self. I am still fighting for worker's compensation – my confusion and bewilderment has now turned to fury and anger upon being enlightened about bullying."
To Bullies and Managers who allow their Staff to Bully others. I know you read my Blog. (I’ve been told!) – Think before you interact with another human being. You may feel you are the ‘bees knees’ at work, but there is another side to you. Most people go to work to earn a living, not to have to deal with being bullied, that behaviour is unacceptable.
Any manager, supervisor, team or shift leader reading this, you need to look at your behaviour and that of your staff towards other work colleagues.
You may feel that your actions or behavior doesn’t matter because it is towards ‘them at work’ and ‘they’ don’t matter.
Consider this: Is it possible that the care assistant that you was horrid to, one day becomes a Nurse or Doctor in your local area...you attend the hospital and she /he is assigned to care for you or a member of your family? - Sure you can ask to be seen by someone else, what if there is no other health professional available? (Thank God not every-one is as nasty as you)
Consider this – you see that person you use to bully, she/he is now a carer,working at the elderly residential home, where you have placed your relative? (Thank God most people are professional)
Although you act as if you don’t care, most people over the age of 20 have families, their wage is used to care for them. One tenth of all monies I earn go to Charities, maybe a charity used by you or your family members.
Don’t be so silly to think that you may never meet this person again....This is a small world. You may meet them again, but in a situation where you need help from them.
Here’s another tip, what you do to others, someone will do to you (and you can bet your last penny, that it is the one person you care for deeply).
Tell me, what part of your life is not happy? Do you go home to a demarding spouse?
Does your children treat you with respect? Did you have an over powering Mother/Father? firstname.lastname@example.org Contact me and we can chat about what’s really going on.
Most people are caring. People do not generally set out to hurt others. A Bully has issues, issues that need to be talked though. Because in the world outside work, they behave very differently. This does not justify their behaviour, but gives us all an insight into the problems they may have faced.
Let’s put a face to these people. I say that the manager is aware, Here is how you can tell. There is the one or two people who ‘run’ the place with the blessing of the manager, this person would smell of shit if they went any further up the managers’ arse (know who i’m talking about?) mmmmmm yeah that one. This person has many complaints made against them, that seem to miraculously go away. When you ask about the progress of the complaint, you are told that ‘It is being dealt with’ or ‘I can’t talk about it, because Head Office is looking into it’ When you and I know, that we will never hear anything else about it. This person would have been working there for more than five years, they were there before the current manager took over, or the current manager dug them up from wherever they came from, and invited them to work (with/for) them. They will never make manager status, as their qualifications is not up to par and will never be. Why? 1) Because their manager/friend knows where their strengths lay, and that is right where they are.....Spying on staff, setting the rules and making sure people follow them....by any mains possible. 2) Their self-esteem/ confidence outside that workplace (the real world) is not high enough to cope in ‘real work situations’ . Go on Face book and you will see them partying with your manager. If I’m wrong email me email@example.com
What to do if you are being firstname.lastname@example.org
It is advisable to talk it over with someone, because what seems like bullying might not be. Employers have a 'duty of care' to their employees and this includes dealing with bullying at work. Talk to the bully, (make sure you have a witness) The bullying may not be deliberate, as the person concerned may not realise how their behaviour has been affecting you. If you can, talk to the them directly. Describe what's been happening and why you object to it. Stay calm and be polite. If you don't want to talk to them yourself, ask someone else to do so for you. email@example.com
My advice is to begin making notes of every incident – Remember, Date, Time. That is :- Monday, Date 12th June 2016 time 13:45 – Mary stated or Mary asked me to.... Keep a record. Not a good environment to work under, but has to be done, in- order to start the process of putting in a complaint to the right Department. It is at this point that most people start to look for another job – Sad.
Work colleagues seeing bullying, need to speak to their immediate manager, If the bully is your immediate manager, speak to someone higher up the hierarchical ladder. There is also HR, If no joy you may have a union. Remember you can always contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
For England you could also call the Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) helpline for advice:
Telephone: 0300 123 1100
Textphone: 18001 0300 123 1100
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 9am to 1pm
Bullying UK are there to support you and your family during this difficult time on the Family Lives Helpline on 0808 800 2222 and can also refer you to organisations that specialise in resolving workplace bullying.
Email me at email@example.com for a FREE Copy of my ebook Spot and Stop the resident Bully
What not to do if you are being bullied
Suffer in silent.
Believe that its your fault.
Believe you have to put up with it because you need the job.
Put up with it.
Allow the bully to get away with it.
Work place bullying is a huge issue and as mentioned it can be as subtle as ‘jokes’ that are really put downs - Don’t stand for it. You deserve to be there, you have been interviewed and passed the criteria for the job, they wouldn’t have taken you on, if you was unable to do the job. So you are entitled to be there, be grateful for the position but do not allow gratefulness to cloud your judgment on how you are being treated.
Reasons for bullying.
I have found that some bullies tend to feel threatened. (poor thing) They feel you may show their weaknesses.
They feel you may ‘take’ their job. Half the time you don’t want their position anyway, you are working there, as a means to an end. But for the bully....The Work place is their lives.... and will defend their position to the death, if they feel it is threatened....It causes them great anxiety.
Psychologically speaking, there is a feeling of inadequacy in their life.(Dr. A.Scott)
‘The insecurity of workplace bullies is far reaching. They feel socially inadequate, behaviorally and morally. While they present a public image of superiority, supremacy and bravado, underneath it all they feel profoundly inadequate. Workplace bullies, rather than facing their inferiorities, choose instead to lash out at people who threaten their superiority.’ (Valerie Cade, CSP is a Workplace Bullying Expert)
In 2012 I wrote a book called how to Spot and Stop the resident Bully. In chapter Two I show how to recognize a bully....This is something you ‘managers’ who allow your staff to bully others may want to have a look at too. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a FREE Copy.
Who is a bully? What does he/she look like?
Email me at email@example.com for a FREE Copy of my e-book Spot and Stop the resident Bully
Bullyonline.org asks - How do I recognize a bully?
Most bullying is traceable to one person, male or female - bullying is not a gender issue. The bully has a:
• 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.
• Exhibits much controlling behavior and is a control freak displays a compulsive need to criticize whilst simultaneously refusing to acknowledge, value and praise others .
• Often has an overwhelming, unhealthy and narcissistic need to portray themselves as a wonderful, kind, caring and compassionate person, in contrast to their behavior 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).
Please be aware that the above is not exhausted and bullies come in all shapes and sizes, from all cultures and can be from any position on the work hierarchy.
Questions for you. Think back at your working experiences…..All good?....Really?
Do you check the Rota on starting your shift?
What did you score on my stress test?
Are you being bullied at work? What are you going to do about firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you being bullied at work? What are you going to do about it? email@example.com
Is it really worth it, to stay there? You wasn’t put on the earth to endure bad treatment. You know what I tell my children....In ANY situation, ‘If you feel uncomfortable....leave’. Your health is worth more than they are paying you. I hope that you don’t encounter any of the situations mentioned above, but if you are experiencing bullying, you have the ability to change your situation.
Living your passion feels very different, from restriction, put downs and un-appreciation. My take on workplaces in general, If you need to be there, stay there but ensure you do not allow anyone to cause you more stress than you have already. Do something about firstname.lastname@example.org
If it’s your passion to be there, stay there long enough to learn what you need to, and then move on. Remember to get your FREE Spot and Stop the resident Bully e-book, email email@example.com
Check out my e-Book on Kindle
A look at what you do for a living, using examples from my life, that is, being a single mother at 17, being evicted from homes, enduring domestic violence to gaining an Honours degree in Psychology. I went on to study a Masters in Counselling psychology and PhD, to helping others find and follow their passion regardless of what life has thrown at them.