Wednesday, April 27, 2011

W. Why me? Personal and professional qualities. Workplace bullying

This is the post for W in the A-Z blogging challenge 2011

Why me?
Because you have professional and personal qualities the bully is envious or afraid of. You may also be able to see through the bullies manipulative tactics. The bully fears exposure of his/her inadequacy and incompetence; your presence may feed that fear.

Professionally, you may be:
  • very good at your job- successful, respected, trusted, enthusiastic, creative, conscientious
  • popular with people (colleagues, customers, clients, pupils, parents, patients, etc)
  • an expert, the person to whom others come for advice, either personal or professional (ie you get more attention than the bully) 
  • your work may be published in respected journals
  • having a well-defined set of values which you work not to compromise
  • having a strong sense of integrity
  • you may be vulnerable (see V. Vulnerable in the previous post) in some way (tough home life, a minority group, different sexual orientation, sole breadwinner etc)
  • refusing to join an established clique
  • showing independent thinking, questioning decisions may be seen as challenging 
  • refusing to become a corporate 'yes' person 
  • quick learner
The normal boss is happy to have you on board! Not so the bully.
    The following edited list is from bullyonline and pinpoints the personal qualities of many targets of bullying. Follow the link for a comprehensive look at the target's qualities.
    • slow to anger, tends to internalise anger rather than express it
    • quick to apologise, even if not guilty, seeks approval
    • low assertiveness
    • high coping skills under stress
    • may defer to those with authority
    • diligent, industrious
    • a strong sense of fair play 
    • a strong forgiving streak (which the bully exploits and manipulates to dissuade you from taking grievance and legal action)
    • giving and selfless
    • helpful,  enjoys share knowledge and experience
    • strong sense of honour
    • high expectations of those in authority and a dislike of incompetent people who abuse power
    • indecisive
    • desire to tackle and correct injustice wherever you see it
    • high moral standards which you are unwilling to compromise
    • perfectionism
    • difficulty saying no
    • desire to be reasonable
    • a tendency to self-deprecation
    • sensitivity - including empathy, concern and respect for others
    • thinks well of others
    • tolerant
    • undervalues oneself
    • a strong well-defined set of values which you are unwilling to compromise or abandon
    •  a need to feel valued
    • avoids violence (prefers to resolve conflict through dialogue rather than through violence or legal action)
    The target is often a high performing employee who is used to negotiating maturely through any difficulties or conflict in the workplace. They want to go to work to do the job, not to experience constant harrassment, this is not weakness, but a choice to act in a mature and responsible manner.

    Here tomorrow: X - The 'X' factor

    There are many outstanding resources on line. A couple I find useful are Bullying. No way! an Australian resource for teachers and students, and a UK site Bully On Line. The Facebook group eBosswatch provides links to articles and discussion about bullying. This is in no way an exhaustive list, and each country will no doubt have equally good or more relevant websites. If you're being bullied please seek advice from a professional health care practitioner experienced in this area.

    Over at jumpingaground I'm spending the month Drabbling using alliteration.


    Poddys said...

    I noticed that in the USA many companies, in particular public ones, are clamping down heavily on what can and can't be done in the workplace.

    HR is "all powerful" and and racial remark, even meant as a joke that you know would be taken well, or anything that could be seen as sexual harrassment, or a joke sent via email etc, could be grounds for instant dismissal.

    I know that the atmosphere in offices where I worked was really depressing at times as a result of fear of dismissal over something trivial.

    In my current job in the UK it's a lot more relaxed, and people feel at ease making jokes etc in the office.

    Having to do everything politically correct is ruining what fun there is these days don't you think?

    Having said that, bullying is a big no no still!

    sue said...

    Poddys, Point taken. I think the big difference is the serial nature of malicious bullying. What you have described sounds more like a climate of fear for being human rather than tackling serious issues of underlying abuse. Could it be they are paying lip service of a superficial nature rather than providing education, mentoring and wisdom?

    It's great to hear where you are in the UK seems to have got the balance right.

    Anonymous said...

    I like Slow To Anger. Its when I'm angry that I say the stupidest things. I take a deep breath and often turn away, then return when I have a clamer more clear head.

    sue said...

    Stephen, it's the old advice to count to 10 before retaliating isn't it. But gosh it's hard sometimes when you've been needled persistently and maliciously.