It depends how assertive you feel you can be OP - a lot of people find it hard to stand up to bullies. Bullies love being able to belittle someone without being challenged.
I think sometimes, if you can stand up for yourself and call someone out on their poor behaviour, it can often nip it in the bud.
Think of it this way, if you can find a way to confront them head on, then that's a super important skill you will take with you anytime you need to be your own advocate.
It also makes for a great answer in your next job interview when you get asked how you cope with interpersonal conflict.
I worked with a lady who truly believed she was being bullied and pushed out. I was in the same meetings and privy to the same emails as her and couldn't see where she was coming from. She had a very 'glass is half empty' attitude and always looked for the worst in people / situations. I think she was also suffering from depression. I really did feel for her as the whole thing really upset her. But I honestly don't think she was being bullied and felt for the person she was accusing of bullying her. The whole situation was a mess.
Another time I was accused of bullying. I was astonished! I was managing a team of 100 people and rarely had any interaction with her? She said my emails and conversations were blunt. I'm blunt because I'm extremely busy and don't have time for small talk and fluffy emails. If she had of said I was rude I could kind of understand but bullying is systematic picking on an individual and that I was definitely not doing, I actually thought she was great at her job.
To be fair to the OP she has discussed this with her manager who acknowledged there is a problem.
So I don't think this is being imagined by the OP. I understand people are speaking in the abstract but it pays to remember she may be feeling pretty vulnerable at the moment.
I like to think I'm mindful of what's going on with other people and the fact they may be struggling but I have to say there is no excuse to bully someone or if you can't accept its bullying being mean.
I work with a lady who treats me like crap, the only one in a large work environment and to be honest I don't give a toss why she does it, there is no excuse.
We all have stuff going on, plenty of people have mental health issues and it should absolutely not give them a free ride to behave however they want.
I would consider myself an insightful with fairly good emotional intelligence and I can't for the life of me work out what this persons problem.
What you are saying is it's the victims ( not sure what else to call them) fault for not fixing it. Well that's just victim blaming. I can assure you it isn't my fault that my colleague chooses to target and belittle me and I can guarantee the OP is the same.
Vicpark I have to disagree with you. There are just assholes out there, I know because I've met enough of them! I also don't give a **** why someone treats people the way they do, there is no excuse for any sort of crappy behaviour, no matter what the circumstances are at home or mental health issues etc. It's just not on.
OP if you feel like this issue can't or won't be resolved then move on. There are nice places to work. I had a bullying problem that I tried to get resolved but it just wasn't resolved all that well. Unfortunately this person did it to everyone that was under him, so I wasn't alone, but no one else stepped up to the plate to get it sorted out. A large number of people were affected by his behaviour but as someone who is high up and pulling in the money nothing was really done about it, no surprises there. Things are often awkward and difficult after complaints have been made and attempted to be rectified too, which can make the workplace difficult in other ways.
Don't work somewhere that makes you miserable. Try and sort it out if you feel that way inclined, but if it's all too hard then find somewhere else. Life is too short.
I think there is a myth that bullies are of low intellect with a chip on their shoulder, thus why they do it. But apparently that is not true, most are intellectually and emotionally intelligent and quite crafty about how they go about the bullying in order to cover their tracks and gas light their victims. So while I agree that sometimes it may be over sensitivity or misunderstandings, often it's the bully carefully laying the ground work for their defence.
When I was young I worked in an office with a much older male boss. Not long after starting the boss was making comments to myself and other staff about the performance and work practice of the 2IC. Over the course of about 6 months the boss caught the 2IC out on things to the point he asked for his resignation or he'd be sacked. I personally agreed he needed to go. But then as time when on, there became a long line of staff he would develop a dislike of. By now I was 2IC and privy to much more info and he would essentially set up these staff until he got dirt of them, then like the first IC would force them into resignation. He then started to make staff, including myself, implicit in 'gathering evidence' against the staff. Some of this evidence was muddy at best.
Finally I got pg and literally overnight the boss's behaviour towards me did a complete 180. he went from singing my praises and telling me I was his best worker, to introducing me as 'the pregnant one'. He would jump on me over things all the other staff did and he didn't blink an eye over. Then right before mat leave he tried his trap setting on me. Unfortunately for him I not only come out of it squeaky clean but with him looking stupid and petty in front of other managers. He was a bully. Period. If he decided he didn't like you, he'd plot to get rid of you until he did. He was highly intelligent, well educated and well respected in the field.
Not trying to excuse bullying. Just shed another light on how we can all possibly have a happy, healthier workplace.
As a manager I am hoping my staff wouldn't have the opportunity to raise any bullying complaints ... I would like to think I notice any unacceptable behavior and address it before it becomes an issue/before a person has a chance to raise a complaint. If I received a complaint I would:
- treat it with confidentiality
- get both sides (there are always 2 sides)
- if I determine there has been unacceptable behavior I would provide the staff member with a crystal clear guide about what specifically constitutes unacceptable behavior and what the consequence would be if the behavior was repeated
- if either side gossiped about the complaint outside the management chain I would give them a warning
- if there was a trend in the workplace I would organise group training in unacceptable behavior
- depending on the offence the person may receive a warning or be dismissed
- both sides would be offered counsellIng
- I would try and determine if there was an external root cause of conflict and address that (stress - take some leave get counsellIng etc).
If someone is thinking of applying for a management role then then need to demonstrate an ability to de-escalate conflict, tackle difficult situations and nip differences in the bud before they have a chance to evolve into unacceptable behavior complaints. If they can do it without requiring management support then that is a good indicator they may be suited to a management role.
Last edited by VicPark; 19-11-2015 at 20:48.
It's the same as bullying in schools - all bullying is unacceptable however at the same time it's a good idea to arm victims with tools and techniques to de-escalate a situation.
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