How To Handle Bullies
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Flashbacks From the Schoolyard: How to Handle Bullies at Work
For every harassment complaint I've helped resolve, I've dealt with ten incidences involving the equal opportunity jerk. The boss who constantly criticizes, demeans, and undermines his employees. The supervisor who takes delight overworking and exploiting subordinates. The employee who taunts and intimidates his coworkers. In short, the workplace bully.
Unfortunately, you can't send your workplace bully to the headmaster or make him stay in for recess. The good news is that, as a human resource professional, you have the power to implement the necessary strategies to prevent and/or alleviate bullying in your workplace. In this article, we'll look at how you can use policies, hiring, and top management support to create a bully-free workplace.
Beating Up the Bottom Line
It's easy to think that rudeness or incivility is an inevitable part of people working together; after all, who hasn't been snapped at by a stressed-out boss or coworker?
But bullying is not occasional rudeness or incivility, nor is it a misguided attempt to get things done through tough management. Bullying is an ongoing and systematic campaign of interpersonal destruction. It tends to be an accumulation of many incidences over a long period of time which, taken together, these instances add up to persistent, abusive behavior designed to make the target feel upset, humiliated and threatened.
According to the U.S. Hostile Workforce Survey 2000, the most popular bullying tactics include:
blaming others for errors
raising false concerns about or criticizing the work of others
making unreasonable demands
yelling and screaming
threats of job loss, insult, or put-downs
inconsistent enforcement of arbitrary rules
stealing credit for another's work
Bullying/general hostility is 4 times more prevalent than illegal discrimination and harassment. In fact, a February 2000 study funded by the British Occupational Health Research Foundation revealed that out of 5300 employees in 70 organizations, 47% reported witnessing bullying in the past five years, 1 in 10 said they'd been bullied in the last six months, and 1 in 4 said they'd been bullied in the past five years.
Bullying Versus Harassment
Unlike illegal forms of harassment and discrimination, bullying isn't directed at a person because of his or her religion, gender, age, race or other demographic variable. S/he isn't interested in obtaining sexual favors or dominating a vulnerable group. In fact, the target of bullying is most likely to be selected because of her popularity and competence, which is perceived as a direct threat to the bully.
Unlike a sexual harasser's need to take advantage of someone in a vulnerable position, bullying is an effort to control a threat (and prevent exposure of inadequacy). Unlike the power motive behind harassment and discrimination, envy and jealousy are the primary drivers of bullying behavior. And, unlike the racial slurs or sexual comments found in illegal forms of harassment, workplace bullying tends to appear as petty criticism, the withholding of critical information, and/or false allegations of underperformance.
Another difference between generic bullying versus hostility directed at a protected class are the available legal remedies. Discrimination law does not cover bullying. If the behavior does not have a sexual, racial or physical component, U.S. laws aren't set up to deal with an incompetent or cruel supervisor bullying a subordinate.
However, bullies may not completely escape the long arm of the law. More and more stress-related workman's comp claims and intentional infliction of emotional distress lawsuits because of workplace bullying. A few years ago, two employees in Texas were awarded $250, 000 in damages after a supervisor continually yelled at them, put his head down and "charged at them like a bull, " and made at least one employee wear a sign that said "I quit."
Spotting The Bully at Work
Given the statistics of workplace bullying, chances are that there is at least one bully poisoning your organization. Here are three ways you can begin to assess how bully-tolerant your work environment currently is:
1. Conduct an anonymous employee satisfaction survey, asking questions specifically about employee experiences of common bullying tactics.
2. Conduct regular exit interviews and ask specifically about interpersonal problems that might have led to their resignation.
3. Keep track of turnover statistics by department, by manager, and by unit. As the old saying goes, numbers don't lie. In this situation, they might be telling the truth about a bully in your midst.
Is the Finger Pointing Back at You?
"You've got to sit on people to get the job done." "If you don't boss people around, they don't respect you." "We run a tough ship around here." How many times have these kinds of arguments been used to justify inappropriate management conduct? Worse yet, how many times has it been rewarded?
A study that looked at predictors of job satisfaction across cultures found that the quality of the employee/supervisor relationship was one of two consistent factors across twenty countries. Employees who feel supported, encouraged, and treated fairly by their direct supervisors develop a sense of organizational commitment. Yet, while at least fifty percent of all turnovers are due to poor management practices, the mythical link between inappropriate behavior and productivity still lingers. If your corporate environment seems to be stuck in survival-of-the-fittest mode, it may be time to work with senior management on assessing your corporate values and realigning them with the realities of today's workplace.
There's another way your corporate environment can unintentionally foster bullying - through job strain. One of the most common problems I encounter is the situational bully, i.e., the valuable manner who, because of an excessive workload or unrealistic deadline, becomes a domineering tyrant. If you observe an increase in inappropriate workplace behavior, do a little investigating to see what's underneath and what you can do about it.
If your business is cyclical for example, consider partnering with an EAP program before your busy season and offer self-development seminars on coping with stress, time management, and other helpful topics. If the behavior seems to occur primarily in new managers, reevaluate your management development program to see where communication skills are lacking. Supervisors are often promoted because of their technical expertise and, if they lack the management skills to be effective leaders, can resort to bullying in an attempt to establish authority. And, while there are likely to be a few bad apples in every bunch, some inappropriate workplace behavior is a symptom of a deeper corporate problem - one worth finding and fixing.
Don't Forget to Put It in Writing
Workplace policies rarely work unless the behaviors they request are supported and modeled by senior management. When they are, they become a powerful communicator of your company's values and priorities. Not only do they set clear expectations of what behavior is expected, they communicate a certain tone that tells employees how senior management views them.
A workplace conduct policy, when consistently enforced, can communicate the message that employees are as valuable as customers - and should be treated with the same respect. Given that there is a direct link between customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction, perhaps this message is consistent with reality. While an extensive discussion on policy development is beyond the scope of this article, here are six guidelines to help you get started crafting your workplace conduct policy:
Outlines clear examples of what workplace conduct violates the policy
Details the disciplinary procedures for policy violation.
Provide a procedure for reporting and investigating concerns about workplace behavior.
Outlines guidelines for multiple channels of reporting to individuals who feel the policy has been violated.
Assures complainants that the matters will be treated as confidentially as possible and that no one will be punished for reporting a workplace conduct violation.
Begins with a message from your CEO, who expresses employees' rights to be treated with dignity and respect, and who links the policy to the bottom line and to company values.
Taking a Stand
Like it or not, it's impossible for corporations to take a neutral position regarding workplace bullying. To your employees, ignoring it is condoning it. And a policy is no substitute for people; the best antibullying policy will be viewed with skepticism if your corporate culture rewards bullying managers.
The good news is that you're in a valuable position to beef up the company's bottom line. Eliminating inappropriate workplace behavior will reduce turnover, increase job satisfaction, and help your organization get back some of the 18 million work days lost each year because of it. At a time when human resources are increasingly being asked to justify their existence, the opportunity to show the bottom line impact of your efforts is something worth shouting about. Just don't do it at work.
Joni E. Johnston, Psy.D. is President and CEO of WorkRelationships (http://www.workrelationships.com
), a cutting edge employee relations/compliance training and consulting firm.
Article Source: ArticlesBase.com
My best friend is being bullied ?
Ok I need advice on how to handle bullies I'm 14 and my friend is12 we both go to the same school and are always together iv witnessed her getting spit on pushed in to her locker jabbed with pencils and she gets cyber bullied I've told a girl to leave her alone but she pushed me and told me to shut the Fu**k up b*t** what do I do I told the principle she didn't do anything I told my parents and they told athouritys but they didn't give a crap
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how do I handle my kids bullying?
How to handle bullying ?
We have 4 kids in our blended family. The oldest is a boy and he picks on my two kids girls. My oldest 10 year old bullies him back and the other two young girls, how do you handle bullying on all ends, my daughter seems controlling and I am so tired of hearing my fiance tell me she is the only problem...so how do I stop the problem?
Bullying sometimes it is that she is telling the kids what to do, sometimes there is name calling, sometimes they are taking toys out of each others hands, and then they come cry and my fiance says they need to be punished for taking something out of someones hands. Very rarely is there any fighting it is just telling them what to do or taking a toy away...
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What are some arguments in favor of bullying?
I have to write a research paper, and, while my side is against it, I need to argue against specific cases of opposition. Anything would be great! Thank you!
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IM 12, A GIRL AND GETTING BULLIED :''''''(?
Ok so my "best friend" is emotionally blackmailing me about the dead but thats not whats upsetting me. its other people talking bad stuff about me. ok so let me describe myself before i tell u the story: i have brown hair blue eyes and i dont look as common as most other year 7s in my year. Im very shy but would never dream of hurting anyone and if the boys say bad stuff to my face i insult them back but not as harsh. k so theres this one guy ( I KN0W, GUYS SHOULDNT BE BULLYING A GIRL) but he is and he says stuff like ur moms a prostitute! and i have to go to student support and miss a lesson each week for it its confidence boost and when an SSC teacher gave me a letter he kept saying i go to SPACCA SUPPORT CENTER! and he kept saying it all lesson to me! kk so then this other guy calls me alien sometimes to my face but mostly behind my back because my forhead is quite big! and this girl she put on private chat to me on facebook, ur reali pretty, then she put JOKES! and i burst into tears u know. being a girl and being misunderstood and called ugly is the most hurtful thing when u know deep down inside ur beautiful in every single way and nothing is wrong with u it makes u want to scream the truth, but ur voice is left unheard. people just keep saying stuff to me like reTARD and they spread rumours and its killing me. id raver be physically bullied because i know how to fight and i would fight back but i cant speak back. i do have a group of friends but its no use when other people keep knocking ur confidence when u even take a class to build it. when im at home im happy and in my own little world with just me an my family and not many cares but now they are even wrecking that for me! how do i overcome this i told my tutor and he said he would have a word with their tutors but he hasnt now! and i cried to the student support an he told me to tell my tutor which i did but no change! Secondary school has dashed my hopes and dreams before they even begun.
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Is this normal or just weird to be protective over a 6 yr old? (plz read)?
Awhile back when Casey was riding the bus & I was in school I would be protective of her. I wouldn't let anybody mess with her & I always by her side, but her Mother (Ashley) had some issues with her (not because of me) & I decided to help her out, but when I was on that bus I was protective. (If any other kids tried taking her off the bus I became mad/jealous over it. They're we're other kids too, but I didn't feel as protective to them as I did to her! Sometimes now I go & help Ashley out just to see Casey. I know I'm NOT Casey's Mother, but just a feeling I got! Why though? Why her?
(I'M NOT A PEDO OR CREEP IT'S JUST SOMETHING NATUAL I GUESS) BUT WHY ME? I'm 20 now just turned it & I am Female! Is it because I don't have kids?
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What are some good videos on bullying that I can show to my 7 year old son?
My 7 year old son is being bullied in school but also is starting to fire back at them making things worse for himself. He curses at them and ends up getting into trouble himself. I need a video on how to handle bullies respectfully or something. Thanks in advance.
I've tried talking to his teacher. He is also not behaving in class because of his anger. He thinks that fighting back is okay .. it's not. I want him to stand up to his bullies but not get physical unless really necessary.
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How do you deal with a vindictive petty boss. Talking reasonably doesnt help, shouting doesn't help, crying d?
I cant afford to lose my job - I do my best, take on others work etc and try to shut up when I'm being shouted at for stupid shit (like another person not doing their job - not me!) Unfortunately murder is not an option and finding another job in this market is not that easy...
There is only an "outsourced" HR Consultant. When I spoke about my issues (this had to be done with this B*& present!) she was all sugar and smiles. Afterwards I was mercilessly verbally abused for over 5 months to the stage I have to be on antidepressants to "cope" without crying all the time. This person says she is a Christian and "brags" about it all the time, but is very "Un Christian" with swearing and shouting at me constantly in front of other staff. Still looking for another job, but lets just say I don't trust myself to make her a cup of coffee...
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my 'friend' has autism, and she wants to come to my house. Should i let her?
my 'friend' has serious autism and wants to come to my house, right now you will be thinking 'well obviously let her' but you really don't know what she is like! I'm not going to post much on here because its really far too upsetting, and harmful for herself. She tried to do something REALLY bad to someone last year, someone who was in her tutor and bullied her. So she moved tutor into mine, and she has basically joined my friend group since. She doesn't talk to me in person because she has selective mutism which means she can talk but chooses not to to certain people because she is so shy. But we talk everynight on facebook, and she is trying to teach me how to learn sign language so I can talk to her in person. She even baked me a cake and gave me it today! I know she can harm, but i know she wouldn't harm me or my friends. She said to me tonight 'Can i come to your house and meet your doggy' I said 'yes, one day' but she always gets so excited and keeps reminding me so I can't break my promise! Do you think this is a bad idea?
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"Ignore bullies, and they'll go away"...?
This is the most stereotypical piece of advice you hear in society regarding how to handle bullies. "Ignore them" because it will make them leave you alone and because "violence isn't the answer".
This piece of advice and thought pattern is total crap on so many levels. Do you think bullies WANT you to fight back? hell no, they want you to take their sh!t everyday and do nothing about it. They WANT an easy target who won't put up a fight and by "ignoring them" you're doing just that. If the bully knew you were going to fight back everyday, he/she wouldn't want to go through the trouble of combating you every day. They want some weak passive coward who will just take it and do nothing.
So by all means get angry and use violence. Do you agree?
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