Workplace bullies are NOT the only people who must change, decent people must change too!
Bullying behavior is intense. It’s emotionally immature. It’s totally unacceptable. It must be stopped.
I have seen decent people compassionately do their part to successfully transform the bully into a collaborative teammate.
In this article, you will find a list of the most common bully behaviors plus you will learn two interventions.
If you are dealing with a bully at work or in your life, don’t avoid your responsibility. Take a stand for eliminating all forms of bully behavior in your team.
Remember, if we permit it, we promote it!
Common workplace bully behaviors are:
- Verbal abuse
- Malicious gossip, rumors, and lies
- Threats and intimidation
- Cruel comments and/or teasing
- Ignoring or excluding individuals
- Unduly harsh and/or constant criticism
- Abuse of authority
- Interference with work performance
- Bullying through social networking
- Physical assaults
Are any of these happening in your team? If yes, read on.
Who’s responsible for bully teammate behavior? Every teammate!
There are three types of teammates in this situation. All have equal responsibility.
- The Victim – the bully’s target. [See WBI’s terrific work on bully targets]
- The Bystander – teammates who see the abusive behavior and choose to either do nothing, or intervene
- The Perpetrator – the bully
- Their responsibility is to change their misguided perceptions and abusive behavior. However, you must remember, they are not yet strong or mature enough to know how. That’s where the victim and bystander come in.
The Victim & Bystander
- Their responsibility is to change their avoidance attitude and behavior by assertively communicating to the bully that their behavior is no longer acceptable and going forward they must change into a collaborative teammate.
- It’s important to remember that bullies are simply scared little children. As the victim or bystander, you must gently, but firmly, teach them how to properly behave. This intervention is no different as how you would lovingly correct your own child’s behavior.
Why must you take a stand? It’s simple.
If you deny the severity of the behavior and avoid speaking up, you are equally as accountable for the damage the bully is causing in your team.
Two Options – Group Intervention or Individual Intervention.
The first and most powerful option is a Group Intervention. This is where all teammates gather to openly voice their ideas and emotions directly to the bully.
These interventions are usually intense. They must be properly planned and facilitated by a Certified Master Facilitator or licensed counselor.
It’s critical you create a clear set of unambiguous behavioral descriptions that are written down and given to the bully. Those start-stop-continue behaviors will spell out what is and is not acceptable behavior. The bully’s supervisor will first give the list to the bully in private and then immediately take the bully into a room where the remaining teammates will validate the necessity for behavioral change.
If a group intervention is not an option, follow these three steps for an Individual Intervention.
Do No Harm
If you are currently a bully’s victim or a bystander, ask yourself these questions…
What will it take for me to take a stand against the harm I see or feel?
How much more pain should I take or observe before I say, “Enough already!?”
How will I take a stand, now?”
The answers to these questions will be revealed to you ONLY when you get sick and tired of being sick and tired of the bully’s behavior.
Martin Luther King Jr. – A Wonderful Role Model
Martin Luther King’s courage in taking a stand for African Americans is a role model for us all.
The silent majority, the ones who knew segregation [a severe form of institutional bullying] was wrong and harmful, were encouraged by his words and his steadfast conviction. Only after years of firm civil rights interventions, did decent people stand up to that harmful bully behavior.
Be like Martin Luther King Jr. because there’s plenty more work to do to achieve the ‘dream’ of basic human rights for all.
One very specific way you can demonstrate your resolve to do no harm, is to do your part—today. Transform the workplace bully that is in your team.
Will you join the majority of decent people by taking a stand?
To close, think of the bully as a scared little child who wants to shut you out. But, you and your teammates want to bring them into your circle of collaborative teammates.
Here’s a wonderful poem by Edwin Markham – “Outwitted” – that is a powerfully simple mandate on how you can do just that.
He drew a circle that shut me out –
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!
To Your Success,