Friday, April 3, 2009
Workplace Bullies Are Acting up During the Recession
Dr. Bertice Berry, sociologist and author calls them “internal terrorists." Workplace bullies, Berry says, "are people who don't understand their own purpose or potential, and because they don't, they try to destroy the purpose and potential of someone else. They would make things wrong to prove that they are right.”
Have you seen workplace bullies in action recently? Seems some people have.
If you have to deal with workplace bullies at the office, you mostly chalk it up to one of the annoyances of the job and not let it affect your work. In some cases when it turns into a you-go-or-I-go situation, some people do walk away from the office, the department or the company. You know the old cliché – people don’t leave jobs they leave managers and the people they work with. Well that is easier said than done when there are more people than available jobs.
It is becoming the you-go-before-I-go .
That was the essence of the conversation by the couple in the check-out line behind me at Trader Joe’s yesterday! One shopper was telling the other about the undue pressure she was feeling from an office bully who was intimidating newer staff to push them out. She stated that this bully was telling junior staff about positions in other departments for which they should apply. The bully had apparently gone so far as to tell two newer employees, that she had not been in agreement with them being hired since she knew that they would unnecessarily stress the company financially.
I guess I have been so focused on encouraging folks to stay positive and pay kindness forward, that I wasn’t thinking about workplace bullies who try to intimidate others out of a job in an effort to keep their own.
One of the newer employees was afraid to take the issue to management, for fear it put a spotlight on him as a troublemaker.
It crossed my mind that the person telling the story may have been misreading the situation. Is it really bullying or is someone just strategically trying to manage their own career? Is it an unsophisticated attempt to try the if-you-go-then-maybe-I-don't-have-to-go strategy?
It sounds like the real possibility does exist that in a tight job market, the workplace bully in some people might be rearing it's ugly head.